The Jets got to play spoiler yesterday, ending the Miami Dolphins’ playoff hopes with their 20-7 beating of the Fish from Sun Life stadium in Miami. The Jets really did play well in all phases of the game. There were a couple of factors that played very strongly into the result.
First of all, I have never seen a team go to war for their head coach the way this team did for Rex Ryan. They were not informed of the decision made by Woody Johnson and John Idzik until the game was over, so the players had a “win one for the Gipper” mentality going in. Ok, win one for the Ryan, but you get the idea.
Over the last two weeks, the Jets had nothing to play for as far as the post season was concerned. They had themselves, and their coach to play for. And play they did. Yesterday, they looked like the team that was fighting with a playoff spot on the line, not the Dolphins. The Jets had the edge, basically from the kickoff until the final gun.
Judging by the screaming and hugs of joy that were seen when the announcement was made, these players love playing for Rex Ryan. He cares about each and every person on the roster, and the players know that. It may be perceived as arrogant by those on the outside, but those on the inside love him. Sheldon Richardson put it best when he said that he would give Rex “…both of his arms” if Rex asked him to. They certainly played well enough to get their wish.
Then you have to look at the development of two of the major draft picks of this past year, Dee Milliner and Geno Smith. First on Milliner. He sure backed up his game against the Browns with his performance yesterday. How good was he? Other than the touchdown that Wallace scored, Milliner was just sensational. He recorded two of the team’s three interceptions, and was draped all over his opponent all afternoon, to the tune of five passes defended. Imagine how good he would have ended the season if he hadn’t missed time in the preseason, and again during the season.
By the way, the Jets only allowed 92 rushing yards, which didn’t hurt their cause by any stretch.
Geno Smith. What can we say about his last two performances? They have been as close to perfect as a rookie quarterback can have. No, he didn’t throw a touchdown pass yesterday, but he did not turn the ball over either. He made good decisions, save for one throw that me made into traffic. He was efficient, and made the throws that he had to make. He used his feet when he needed to, to the tune of 10 runs for 44 yards and one touchdown. He spread the ball around, involving seven different receivers.
This team is headed in the right direction, and we have a lot to look forward to in 2014.