Week 7 vs. New York Jets – W 31-28
Next: @ Baltimore, Thursday night
The only thing uglier than the playing surface for Sunday’s Jets-Dolphins game, was the home team’s performance through three quarters.
Overcoming a large deficit for the second straight week, the Dolphins have now won three consecutive games. The win also marks 13 victories in the last 17 games, and brings Adam Gase’s career record to 14-8, despite starting three different quarterbacks.
Two of those three quarterbacks saw the field Sunday as Matt Moore took over for an injured Jay Cutler in the third quarter.
Cutler (expected to miss 2-3 weeks) was playing his best game of the year before suffering a cracked rib.
In Cutler’s absence, Matt Moore led the team to a 14-point comeback, and dished out five passes of 20+ yards (nearly usurping the Dolphins season total to that point.)
Moore helped ignite the seasons of Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills. Both players had their most productive games of the year from a yards-per-target standpoint. The passing game consistently attacked Buster Skrine in man coverage successfully.
Stills and Landry abused Skrine to the tune of two touchdowns, and more than 100 yards. Skrine eventually got grabby, surrendering three penalties for 39 yards – all on Stills.
It wasn’t just Landry and Stills – Anthony Fasano caught a touchdown on Skrine and Leonte Carroo caught his first pass of the year.
The Miami offensive line struggled yet again. There were rarely open running lanes for Jay Ajayi to get cranking, and the pass protection got its quarterback knocked out of the game. Ja’Wuan James had his worst game of the year, Anthony Steen and Jermon Bushrod are complete tire fires, Laremy Tunsil gave ground at the point of attack consistently, and Mike Pouncey had two bad penalties.
The defense was getting gashed through three quarters, but was impenetrable in the fourth quarter.
Led by Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh, the Miami defense post the following stats on the Jets final four possessions – all in the fourth period:
4 possessions (Excludes final possession)
10 plays, -10 yards
Run: 6 rushes, 17 yards
Pass: 1-2, -3 yards, INT
2 sacks, -18 yards
With 2.5 sacks on the day, Cam Wake brought his season sack total up to six (top 10 in the NFL), and his career total up to 87.5 The potential Hall of Fame defensive end is showing no signs of slowing down at age 35 with sacks in five consecutive games.
One of Wake’s sacks was the direct impact of Ndamukong Suh blowing his man off the ball so hard, that it knocked Josh McCown’s primary target out of the play. Suh might be the strongest man in football. On the play prior to McCown’s touchdown sneak, Suh pulled Bilal Powell back from a sure touchdown with one arm.
The Miami defense struggled with screen and draw plays throughout the game. The first play of the game was a fake screen to the left, throwback to the right, and it hit the Dolphins for 31 yards. The Jets came back to that play on the second touchdown drive, and it went for 26 yards.
New York executed the plan to mitigate the Dolphins aggressiveness, and turn it against them – until the end of the game.
Lawrence Timmons had another nice game, and Rey Maualuga continued his hot start with a quality performance.
Nate Allen continues to prove to be a total liability. Miami needs T.J. McDonald back in the worst way. Allen’s angles are senseless, he’s late to react, and he’s always vulnerable in coverage.
Reshad Jones missed a couple of tackles early. He could’ve been tagged for the Robbie Anderson’s touchdown, but he was flying around the line of scrimmage again.
Xavien Howard had a crucial pass break-up and held his man in check all game long. Cordrea Tankersley got beat by a perfect McCown pass for a touchdown, and Bobby McCain had the game winning interception.
At 4-2, the Dolphins are just one game behind the NFL-leading Philadelphia Eagles. Miami trails the Patriots by a half game in the AFC East, and would be the sixth seed if the playoffs started today.
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