The Jets talked the talk but couldn’t walk the walk – at least not on Sunday anyway. Miami took care of business on the road, despite losing its starting quarterback early in the contest, topping the Jets 30-9 to go above .500 for the first time this season.
Backup quarterback Matt Moore, who was the starter last season, entered the game on Miami’s third possession after Calvin Pace sacked starter Ryan Tannehill who left the field limping after the play. He didn’t return, suffering knee and quadriceps injuries.
Moore did outstanding job, considering the circumstances, going 11 of 19 for 113 yards and a touchdown. He finished the game with a passer rating of 96.6, but it wasn’t all about Moore in this one. The Dolphins stepped up in every facet of the game. From a top-notch defensive performance to excellent special teams and a respectable offensive showing, the Dolphins didn’t miss a beat.
Miami started fast, coming out in attack mode, as they ran the no-huddle offense in the opening minutes. A 20-yard run by Reggie Bush followed by an unnecessary roughness penalty on Jets corner Antonio Cromartie after the play set up an early field goal to give Miami the first lead of the game.
Cromartie got the penalty for getting physical with Bush on the sidelines – a result of several negative comments regarding Bush heading into the contest. Prior to the game, Bush was the target of constant smack-talking by the Jets. He never apologized for comments made about Darrelle Revis suffering Karma with a season-ending injury due to Rex Ryan’s statement about putting hot sauce on Bush, which the Miami starter took to mean injuring him when the two teams faced each other earlier this year. Three Jets players including Cromartie, Aaron Maybin and LaRon Landry either criticized Bush for not apologizing or made statements relating to knocking the Dolphins star out of the game.
Unfortunately the Jets put a lot of their energy towards Bush instead of preparing for what the Dolphins had up their sleeves.
Following the field goal, the Dolphins surprised the Jets, going for an onside kick instead of kicking off and recovered the ball at the 39. Although the play didn’t result in a score on the drive, it certainly seemed to shake the nerves of the Jets who continued to make mental errors, which the Dolphins capitalized on.
Dolphins defensive back Jimmy Wilson deserves a lot of praise for what he was able to do. Wilson sacked Mark Sanchez on a safety blitz to force a kickoff. Then when the Jets went to kick the ball off, Wilson blocked the punt and reserve defensive end Olivier Vernon caught the ball in the end zone to give Miami its first touchdown of the contest. Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow missed the block on Wilson which would have prevented the play, but the mental flops wouldn’t end there for the Jets.
Early in the second quarter, Paul Soliai recovered a forced fumble on a corner blitz. The forced fumble was credited to Nolan Carroll who has filled in great for the injured Richard Marshall. The Dolphins ended up scoring on the possession, courtesy of a 3-yard plunge into the end zone by Daniel Thomas.
Several Dolphins receivers had big catches in the game including Jabar Gaffney who had a 30-yard reception on a post corner route. Marlon Moore caught a 37-yard pass and tight end Anthony Fasano caught one for a four-yard score in the third quarter.
Other big plays in the game for the Dolphins included Vernon’s blocked field goal, safety Chris Clemons’ 29-yard interception return and Marcus Thigpen’s 57-yard kickoff return which set up Fasano’s TD score.
The Jets’ only touchdown score was a 5-yard Sanchez pass to Chaz Schilens in the fourth quarter. Their final play was an incomplete pass to receiver Jeremy Kerley which was nearly caught, but at the last moment was stripped by Wilson. Wilson, Carroll, Kevin Burnett and Cameron Wake all finished the game with sacks. Wake brought his total sacks number to 7.5 on the season
A couple of former Dolphins who now play for the Jets made some big plays in the contest. Safety Yeremiah Bell recovered a fumble by Bush and wide receiver Clyde Gates returned a kickoff 47 yards.
With the win, the Dolphins move to 4-3 a half game behind the Patriots in the AFC East. The Jets have fallen to 3-5 and are now dead last in the division.
Miami returns to action next Sunday as they visit the Colts in a 1 p.m. matchup.