It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but it was effective as the Jets evened their record on Monday night with a 24-6 win over Miami. It wasn’t impressive, no part of the Jets really stood out, but after three straight losses they needed this win:
What went right ...
1. Revis Island
The Dolphins were ready to score, but on third and long, quarterback Matt Moore locked in on Brandon Marshall as the wide receiver was tussling with Darrelle Revis in the end zone. The Jets cornerback read the play perfectly, making a break on the pass for his second interception of the season. He cut back across the grain for a 100-yard touchdown return. It was a game-changing moment for the Jets after a first quarter where they managed just 10 yards of total offense. It turns out that the best offense, is a great defense. Revis had another interception in the fourth quarter to ice the game.
2. Running Like a Maniac
On the drive after Revis’s touchdown return, Moore caught Antonio Cromartie with his leverage going the wrong way and hit Marshall near the sideline. With nowhere to go but the end zone, and with Cromartie well behind, Marshall inexplicably stumbled out of bounds mid-stride. The Jets held the Dolphins to a field goal on the drive, minimizing the damage of what could have been a sure-fire seven points for the visitors.
3. Sanchez Grounds & Pounds
It was the only piece of good news from the Jets offense in the opening 30 minutes, but on their final drive of the first half, quarterback Mark Sanchez marched the Jets 81 yards on 11 plays. The final play was a five-yard touchdown run by Sanchez on a designed quarterback keeper. Sanchez is now tied for the team lead with running back Shonn Greene with two rushing touchdowns, but Sanchez has just three red-zone carries this year. Greene has four times as many. The success on that drive helped key the offense to a much more productive second half.
What went wrong ...
1. For Starters
Like they did last week, and the week before that, the Jets’ opening drive was a three-and-out. A poorly-timed pass play to running back Shonn Greene, who has just 28 receptions in his three year career, was followed with a short gain by Greene. On third and long, Sanchez stayed on his first read, underthrowing Santonio Holmes deep down field. It was not the strong start the Jets needed to establish the game’s momentum. Instead, they needed the defense to turn the tide in their direction.
2. Third Down Struggles
After emphasizing all week that they needed to improve on third downs, they were shockingly poor to start the game. The Jets started 0-for-4 on third downs and it wasn’t until their fifth possession that the Jets got a fresh set of downs. All told, the Jets were 6-for-15 on third down — an improvement, but nowhere near where they should be. The inability of the Jets to sustain drives was a key reason why Miami had 18:16 minutes time of possession in the first half.
3. The Running Game
In part, the Jets’ ground woes had everything to do with Miami stacking the box and forcing the passing game to beat them. But by anyone’s standards, Monday night was rough. In the first half, the Jets had just 28 yards rushing with Greene managing just 14 yards on seven carries. Things improved after halftime, but the Jets still finished with just 104 rushing yards and Greene led all rushers with 74 yards. If they are going to have success against teams with a winning record, the Jets are going to need to get the ground game going. They haven’t had a 100-yard rusher so far this season.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.