Things might be looking up for the New York Jets, but Week 2 served as a reminder that the franchise has a long way to go as Gang Green lost for the first time in 2018, a 20-12 decision to the Miami Dolphins.
Turnovers and mental mistakes plagued the Jets and rookie quarterback Sam Darnold all afternoon, the 21-year-old’s 334-yard and one-touchdown day spoiled by two interceptions. The Jets fumbled the ball four times on the afternoon as well, turning it over twice.
It spoiled a solid effort by New York’s defense, which recovered a pair of fumbles while sacking Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill four times.
Darnold’s second-career interception set up the opening score of the game as Kenyan Drake’s six-yard rush put the Dolphins in front late in the first quarter.
It was TJ McDonald who picked the rookie off after he faked Darnold out. Drifting to his left momentarily toward the middle of the field in zone coverage before heading to his right. Darnold never saw him and threw it right into the cornerback’s hands as he returned it to the Jets’ 15-yard line.
The score was Miami’s first first-quarter touchdown in their last eight games.
With under five minutes left in the second quarter, Robby Anderson had the ball jarred loose after being hit hard from behind by Kiko Alonso. The Dolphins recovered the fumble on the Jets’ 49-yard-line.
Two plays later, Miami was in the end zone after Tannehill hit Albert Wilson for a 29-yard score.
In the final minute of the half, a Morris Claiborne defensive holding penalty extended Miami’s drive after Tannehill was sacked on a 3rd-and-6.
The Dolphins didn’t wait long to make them pay once again as Tannehill connected with AJ Derby on a 19-yard touchdown pass to give Miami a 20-0 lead.
Darnold and the Jets were poised to get on the board as the half expired, a 44-yard completion to Terrelle Pryor getting them deep in Dolphins territory. But a 12-yard completion to Chris Herndon and an ensuing scramble saw him end up inches short as time ran out.
The Jets carried the momentum of that late first-half drive into the third quarter when Darnold directed a seven-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a 29-yard completion to Bilal Powell.
It looked like they were poised to throttle their way back into the game after Jordan Jenkins helped force a Ryan Tannehill fumble, awarding the Jets possession on the Miami 12-yard-line. However, Darnold was picked off for a second time on the following play in the back of the end zone by Xavien Howard.
New York would only be able to tack on a pair of field goals despite recovering another fumble near midfield on the subsequent drive following Darnold’s second pick, cutting the deficit to eight with six minutes remaining in the game.