By Abe Gutierrez
With a chance to spoil the Miami Dolphins’ playoff hopes, the New York Jets saw their dream start turn into a nightmare. After an opening quarter that had the fans at MetLife Stadium buzzing, the Jets couldn’t get anything going from there on out. Thus, the Jets found themselves on the losing end of 34-13 thrashing, dropping Gang Green to 4-10 on the 2016 NFL season.
“When we’re not winning ballgames it starts with me,” said head coach Todd Bowles after the game. “I take full responsibility. I will be a better damn coach and we’ll be a better team.”
The Jets offense came out strong out of the gate, but failed to maintain it throughout 60 minutes. After getting off to a 7-0 lead on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Petty passed to Robby Anderson, Miami’s defense picked up its level of play and the Jets simply folded.
The biggest struggle for the Jets’ offensive unit was keeping turnovers down and avoiding unforced errors. Prior to exiting the game due to injury, Petty was picked off twice and sacked three times.
The Jets would finish the game by going 20-for-36 for 235 yards to earn a quarterback rating of 61.7. Ryan Fitzpatrick did little to help his NFL career going forward, completing half of his pass attempts by going 5-for-10 for 31 yards, no touchdowns and a pick for a 17.1 QBR.
Offensively, the Jets unit registered 19 first downs (10 on passing plays, 8 on rushing plays and one via penalty) and 361 yards of total offense (244 passing yards and 117 rushing yards), but most of it came during garbage time.
Offensive standouts for the Jets Saturday night include running backs Bilal Powell (16 rushes for 84 yards and 11 receptions for 78 yards) and Matt Forte (4 rushes for 21 yards), along with wide receivers Robby Anderson (4 receptions for 80 yards, 1 TD) and Quincy Enunwa (5 receptions for 64 yards).
Defensively, the Jets surrendered 12 first downs and 303 yards of total offense, which doesn’t seem like a whole lot compared to pro football standards these days. However, within the context of the game, they were outscored 21-3 in the second half, and that’s just not going to get the job done in the National Football League in December.
With Ryan Tannehill watching from the sidelines, New York’s resistance allowed backup Matt Moore to throw for 236 yards on 12-of-18 passing for a career-high, 4 touchdowns and a pick for a quarterback rating of 126.2.
And while the Jets did a good job of keeping running back Jay Ajayi (19 rushes for 51 yards) in check, wide receiver Jarvis Landry lit them up for 108 yards on three catches and a score, while no one paid attention to tight end Dion Sims (31 yards on 4 catches and a pair of touchdowns), who was Moore’s go-to guy in scoring opportunities.
Jets defensive standouts include cornerback Juston Burris (1 tackle, 1 INT), linebacker Jordan Jenkins (4 solo tackles and an INT) and safety Calvin Pryor (7 tackles: 3 solo, 4 assist).
Special Teams: D+
A special team’s nightmare is seeing a punt blocked deep in their territory and watch the opposing team return it for six points. That’s exactly what happened to Jets punter Lachlan Edwards, who finished the game with 3 boots for a respectable average of 46 yards and a long of 62 yards.
Even though Nick Folk was perfect tonight going 2-for-2 on field goals (including a 48-yarder) and 1-for-1 on PATs, it’s hard to give a passing grade to a unit that gave up a score in a critical situation in the game.
It’s clear that the Jets gameplan was to run the football on offense and force Matt Moore to beat them on the defensive side of the rock. However, after Miami made its adjustments, Bowles and his staff simply had nothing else to fall back on and the final score speaks for itself.
Bowles and his staff were outcoached, outplayed and outhustled by a Miami Dolphins team that refused to let their playoff hopes slip away. The fact that this team came out after halftime and only mustered a field goal for two quarters speaks to their preparation and state of mind.
Next up: Jets travel to Foxborough to take on Patriots on Christmas Eve
After a disappointing loss against Miami, Gang Green will have to regroup quickly. With two games remaining in the regular season, the Jets must travel to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts to take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on Christmas Eve. Opening kickoff is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. ET and it will be broadcast live on CBS.