Jets vs. Dolphins: Full Week 7 report card
By Justin Schmick
It was not one of the best days for the New York Jets. The Jets lost to the Miami Dolphins by the score of 31-28. Here’s a full report card on the offense, defense, special teams, and coaching of Gang Green.
It was not one of the best days for the New York Jets. The Jets lost to the Miami Dolphins by the score of 31-28, making this the second straight week they were unable to hold a14 point lead. The Dolphins, who rallied behind the strong play of back up quarterback Matt Moore, who replaced an injured Jay Cutler, outscored the Jets 17-0 in the fourth quarter.
Backed up on their own 15-yard line, Jets quarterback Josh McCown‘s pass to Jermaine Kearse was intercepted by Dolphins cornerback Bobby McCain. This was by far McCown’s worst decision of the season and ultimately set the Dolphins up for the game-winning field goal attempt. The loss drops the Jets record to 3-4.
Let’s get right to the report card.
Josh McCown completed 17/27 pass attempts for 209 yards, with three of those pass attempts going for touchdowns, and even rushing for another touchdown. Whether it’s fair or not fair, the interception McCown threw late in the fourth quarter is going to be the play that defines this game. This throw simply can’t be made, especially from a veteran quarterback.
The Jets wide receivers were all involved in the offense, but none of them stood out. Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, and Jeremy Kerley caught a total of six passes for 81 yards and two touchdown receptions. This is simply not enough production from the wide receiver position. Anderson’s late unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for throwing his helmet didn’t cost the Jets the game but did sum up a lackluster effort by Jets receivers.
One bright spot for the Jets was the play of running backs Bilal Powell and Matt Forte, who carried the ball a total of 16 times for 84 yards which averages out to 5.2 yards per carry. The two of them also caught seven passes resulting in 81 yards. Both running backs also did a great job blocking for McCown in the passing game.
Unfortunately for the Jets, the good numbers on offense put up by McCown, Forte, and Powell didn’t translate to a victory. Sometimes it’s not how you do something, but when you do it, and the Jets have done very little in the fourth quarter for two straight weeks now.
The Jets defense was supposed to be one of the stronger parts of the team going into 2017, but have fallen short of even being mediocre more often than not. Darron Lee, who was selected in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Jets, has yet to figure out how to harness his speed and athletic ability. He missed multiple tackles and was even flagged for a helmet to helmet blow to Cutler.
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Buster Skrine didn’t have one of his better games. Kenny Stills caught 85 yards on six catches, two of them being for touchdowns with Skrine matched up against. Stills beat Skrine multiple times, and when Stills didn’t make a catch, it was Skrine committing a penalty, that would give the Dolphins the 1st down anyway.
For the most part, Skrine has had a decent season but may be better suited as a nickel back. His size is always going to make it hard for him to cover the bigger and stronger players that are playing wide receiver.
The Jets were able to get to the quarterback twice, however, neither sack was by a member of the defensive line. Wilkerson did make a nice catch on a deflected pass that led to a McCown 1-yard touchdown run. Like Todd Bowles has said many times, the defensive line may not have recorded a sack, but was pestering Cutler all game long.
The bottom line is that a good defensive team shouldn’t be giving up 31 points to one of the worst offenses in the NFL. The Jets defense had an opportunity to bury the Dolphins when Moore replaced Cutler. Instead, the Jets defense let Moore look like Dolphins great Dan Marino, as he threw the ball all over the Jets defense. He threw the ball accurately and confidently en route to a Dolphins come from behind victory.
Next: Special Teams
Special Teams: B
The Jets special teams played a very average game. No field goals were attempted but kicker Chandler Catanzaro did not attempt one field goal but did make all four extra points that he attempted. Catanzaro was also effective on kickoffs, three of his five kickoffs by Catanzaro touchbacks.
Punter Lachlan Edwards was also effective. Edwards was asked to punt the ball a total of seven times average 45.9 yards per kick with two of those kicks being pinned inside the 20-yard line. It is never a good sign when a team’s punter is one of the more effective players, but this was the case today. It was a solid day of punting the ball for Edwards.
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Both Jeremy Kerley and ArDarius Stewart, both were ineffective in the return game. Kerley returned four punts for a total of 24 yards, Stewart only had returned two kickoffs for a meager 30 yards including the last kick he returned only getting to the 15-yard line. The positive is that neither return man turned the ball over, so they were effective in securing the possession, but didn’t do anything that really helped the Jets out.
Offensive coordinator John Morton’s play calling is now a weekly issue. In this modern era of fantasy statistics, winning seems to have taken a back seat, each play run has the potential of taking 40 seconds off the clock. On paper, the Jets offense has performed far better than expected, however, the situational side of things leaves little to be desired.
Just for example on Sunday, when the Dolphins scored in the 4th quarter to cut the Jets lead to 28-21, things weren’t looking so good. The Jets started their possession on the 25-yard line with 11:21 remaining in the forth quarter. Instead of trying to chew some of the clock, the first play was a passing play that was not complete to Anderson.
So a potential 40 seconds off the clock turns into 0 seconds of the clock. There is a balance between the idea of keeping the pedal down, and utilizing your lead to chew up the clock, that has yet to be discovered by Morton.
Bowles is in his third year as head football coach for the Jets. The growing pains should be over, however, the Jets seem to make the same mistakes. Two weeks in a row the Jets coughed up a 14 point lead. The Jets also committed 12 penalties resulting in 124 yards lost. Mental mistakes always fall back on the head coach.
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After a solid first season where then Jets finished 10-6, Bowles has often times either not had the team ready to play, or has sat there on the sidelines and allowed the team to cough up big leads. This season started out with some promise, but unfortunately, it’s starting to spiral in the wrong direction. Bowles needs to take control of this team and fast.