The New York Jets thoroughly dominated the Miami Dolphins for three quarters today but for the second week in a row blew a 14 point lead. Despite being on their backup quarterback and without their starting left tackle, Miami charged back to beat the Jets 31-28 thanks to a field goal in the final seconds. The loss was a crippling reminder of this team’s limitations, particularly of the limitations of the veterans who continue to see major playing time. The Jets are now 1-3 in the AFC East and over a game behind all three other teams in their division.
When Josh McCown, Jermaine Kearse, Jeremy Kerley and Matt Forte are on script, particularly in the first half, they can be effective moving the football. McCown compiled 4 total touchdowns today and had 209 yards passing. Yet, when the game got tight in the fourth quarter, he could not move the ball and threw an absolutely awful interception that directly cost the team the game. There is a ceiling to what you can do on offense when your top targets at receiver are journeymen veterans and your quarterback is a 38 year old should be backup. It is important the Jets self scout and take a hard look at the reality of their situation. For all the praise they have received, Kearse and Kerley combined for 46 receiving yards today. It just isn’t good enough, now or long term.
Robby Anderson put a sour note on the end of this game by throwing his helmet on the final drive out of frustration because McCown did not see him open. Anderson has flashed at times, including on a first quarter touchdown but there is no excuse for that type of immaturity on the field, no matter how many times McCown misses him (it is understandably frustrating but not an excuse). The Jets only had 92 yards rushing, as they again struggled to find balance. No back received more than 9 carries.
Defensively, it was the Buster Skrine story. The Jets overpaid slot corner allowed a pair of second half touchdowns and was called for about 140 penalties as Miami relentlessly targeted him. There were encouraging things from the Jets on defense today, namely an interception by Marcus Maye, an interception by Muhammad Wilkerson (thanks to a tip by Jamal Adams) and an Adams sack but they ultimately could not make a big play late. This was the best game of the year for Leonard Williams and Wilkerson but where was the pass rush in the 4th quarter? You cannot call this defense anything but average when they relinquish a big lead against division opponents two weeks in a row.
There is no excuse to blow a 28-14 lead with 14 minutes left. The loss is on the Jets quarterback, their slot corner but also their coaching staff for not making the necessary adjustments to slow the Dolphins momentum. Similar to their loss in Miami last year, this has the potential to be a season pivoting loss that sends the team towards a record that many expected them to have before the season.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com