EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It was the Dolphins easiest and most complete game of the season. Of course, it helped that they were playing the hapless Jets. But Miami's 23-3 win was exactly what the doctor ordered for this team. Not only was it a win, but it was a resounding victory that the Fins can build off of. Or, maybe the Jets really are that bad. Either way, the Dolphins are now 6-6 and smack in the middle of the race for the final playoff spot in the AFC. As for the grades:
The inability to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter again is troubling, and Ryan Tannehill had some easy misses that could have been big plays. But the Jets defense had been very good until today. Miami found a way to not only move to ball via the air (Tannehill threw for 331 yards and 2 touchdowns), but they also ran for 125 yards. That's the most impressive stat of the day for this offense. That's especially inspiring considering the struggles of the offensive line and the injury to Daniel Thomas. Still, Tannehill threw an ugly interception and was sacked three times. Plenty of work needs to be done for a tough Pittsburgh team next week.
Did I mention the Jets are awful? Okay, let's get that out of the way. New York's offense could very well be the worst in the NFL. Rookie Geno Smith got benched by an undrafted free agent and the offense actually improved. That's how bad this offense is right now.
But let's also give credit to the Dolphins. They were suffocating on defense, sacking Jets QB's four times. They held New York to 177 yards of total offense and just three points. Cornerback Brent Grimes continues to play at a pro bowl level, and Olivier Vernon has taken a huge step in his second season in the league. The former Cane had another two and a half sacks and now has 10 sacks on the season.
If the Dolphins truly have a chance at the playoffs, it's the defense that needs to keep playing at this level.
Special Teams- B-
Caleb Sturgis did miss a field goal, but he also made his other three kicks. It was a positive sign for a guy who has been very shaky of late. Brandon Fields didn't have to do much, but he was able to kick two punts inside the 20 yard line. A couple of holds on kick returns also hurt this team, but when it's the Jets, it really doesn't affect the game much.
Again, I'd love to give Philbin an A after an easy win like this, but the team's decision to go shot-gun on a fourth down from the one-yard line was dumbfounding. They continue to have problems finding the end zone in the fourth quarter, and Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman need to figure it out soon.
But Philbin clearly saw that the Jets would not be scoring many points on this day, and Miami had a good balance with the game plan. It's hard to knock coaches after a 23-3 win.
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