In a critical home game against a division opponent, the Jets played UGLY. In fact, the 30-9 loss to the Dolphins was the worst performance of the Jets' season. Even in the 34-0 loss to the 49ers, they were in the game well into the third quarter. On Sunday the Fish outplayed the Jets from the opening whistle. By halftime, Gang Green was down by 20 and it was clear they had very little chance of coming back.
Special Teams: Not Special
There's plenty of blame to go around but the Jets special teams came up particularly short, including allowing a blocked punt, a recovered onsides kick and a blocked field goal attempt.
The blocked punt was a huge momentum changer. The Jets were only down, 3-0, when Jimmy Wilson came blasting through untouched, cleanly blocking a Robert Malone punt. Olivier Vernon came up with the rebound and easily ran it in to make the score 10-0.
The onsides kick caught Josh Bush and Marcus Dowtin off-guard, allowing the Dolphins to come up with it. The missed field goal attempt in the second quarter broke Nick Folk's 11-for-11 streak this season. Vernon got the block after blowing by Jason Smith.
Even when ex-Dolphin Clyde Gates returned the second-half kickoff 47 yards, the play ended with him bumping into his own man, Demario Davis. In the third quarter, bad tackling allowed rookie Marcus Thigpen to take a kickoff 57 yards.
This is the second week in a row that the Jets special teams came up small (last week, Gang Green gave up a 104-yard kickoff-return touchdown against the Patriots). It's clear that the Jets Special Teams needs to do some serious work to improve. In his last year coaching, Mike Westhoff has to fix this over the bye.
Offense: Lots of Urgh!
Mark Sanchez (28-for-54, 1 TD, 1 INT) had 54 passing attempts. For a team that wants to "ground and pound," this stat speaks volumes. Sanchez was inaccurate at times and at other times his receivers made mistakes.
One of Mark's worst throws sailed over Dustin Keller and was picked off by Chris Clemons at the Miami 1-yard line. Urgh! For the second game in a row, Stephen Hill dropped a touchdown in the third quarter. Double Urgh!! The rookie receiver has shown flashes of brilliance but, for now, that talent is unevenly displayed. Hill also got away with one when a penalty wasn't called following his unnecessary spike of the football.
On the rushing side, Shonn Greene (15-for-77) had a 36-yard burst but on that play showed why he's, at best, an average running back — he lacks the speed to take a long run to the house. If you take away that run, Greene averaged less than 3 yards per carry. Triple Urgh! Joe McKnight left the game with an injury (or reinjury), making the Jets pretty thin at running back.
Tackle Austin Howard had a bad game. He was beaten badly twice. Tony McDaniel easily got past him and laid a huge shot on Sanchez. Then Cameron Wake blew past, getting a sack. The Jets gave up three other sacks, two of which were defensive backs whom no one picked up as they blitzed from outside.
Defense: Swiss Cheese
The Dolphins' first drive was aided by two Jets penalties. Muhammad Wilkerson gave the Fish a first down on a third-down offsides. Then Antonio Cromartie made a late hit on Reggie Bush, costing the Jets 15 more yards. You can't give away yards so easily, especially on the opposition's first drive of the game.
The Jets secondary got repeatedly burned, mostly by backup quarterback Matt Moore. Isaiah Trufant left Anthony Fasano unattended, which Fasano converted into a touchdown catch. Kyle Wilson was toasted by Marlon Moore for a 37-yard gain. And on third-and-long, Jabar Gaffney was allowed to get wide open and make a 30-yard catch for a first down.
Bye Week To-Do List
So what must the Jets do to get back on track? Foremost, they need to put to rest the "Tebow experiment." No NFL team has ever been successful shuttling in and out two quarterbacks. They need to stop disrupting Sanchez's rhythm and let him do his thing. If he's really leading our offense, then the Jets need to act that way.
Gang Green also needs to shore up their lineup. They are thin at running back and wide receiver, although they could get Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight back for Seattle. With the trading deadline on Tuesday, Mike Tannenbaum has to work the phones and see if we can get some depth. In particular, at RB we need a player who can catch the ball out of the backfield. We have no one to replace LaDainian Tomlinson in this role, especially on third down. On paper, the Jets' schedule from going forward is quite favorable. Of the eight remaining games on their schedule, only two opponents are over .500. If they can turn it around and play better, I still believe that Gang Green can make a run!