The Jets very nearly had their third win of the season on Monday night. Instead, they did what bad teams often do by self-destructing as they fell, 16-13, to the Dolphins.
After building a 10-0 lead midway through the second quarter behind a Greg Salas 20-yard end-around run in the first quarter and a Nick Folk 40-yard field goal in the second quarter, it seemed like the Jets were poised for a big victory. Three weeks ago they shocked many with a victory over a Steelers team with playoff ambitions. That wouldn’t happen on Monday night.
Instead of putting their foot on their opponent’s necks, the Jets relented as the Dolphins would score 16 of the next 19 points for an emphatic second half. The win carried Miami to a 7-5 record as the Jets fell to 2-10.
It was the first start for quarterback Geno Smith since he was benched in Week 8 and he looked far from settled. He was rattled in the pocket and the Jets clearly lack confidence in him as they ran the ball for 277 of their 326 yards of total offense.
Only two Jets players, running back Bilal Powell and wide receiver Eric Decker, registered multiple catches. Both players had just two catches and neither player had their second reception until the final drive of the fourth quarter.
Nothing special: After a holding call gave the Dolphins the ball at the Jets 39-yard line in the fourth quarter, Ryan Tannehill connected with Jarvis Landry for 25 yards down into the red zone. Five plays later, Lamar Miller dove into the end zone to level the game at 13-13. Special teams penalties killed the Jets as they had four of them as a unit on the night. In a game where the offense struggled for chunks of the game to move the ball, they didn’t need to be hurt by dumb penalties. Then there was inadequacies in the punting game, where the Dolphins deflected a punt. Factor that in with two missed field goals and it is easy to see why the Jets lost.
Wasted opportunity: With 4:22 left in the third quarter, the Jets had their chance to take control of the game. Cornerback Darrin Walls intercepted a Ryan Tannehill pass and returned it to the Dolphins’ 30-yard line. A field goal seemed like a given but the Jets lost eight yards on the drive and were forced to punt. It was another blown chance at points for one of the league’s worst scoring offenses.
Geno doesn’t win games: The Jets don’t trust their young quarterback, it is as simple as that. In a game where the Dolphins were missing two of their top three cornerbacks, Smith had just eight pass attempts in the first three quarters (he completed four passes for 42 yards on those passes). He completed just 7-of-13 passes for 65 yards along with an interception on the Jets final drive of the game. His ball placement was erratic and he took very few chances down the field. The Jets made the decision earlier this week to start Smith over Michael Vick, who had a rough outing last Monday night in a loss to the Bills. Now, the Jets passing offense looked inept without him. On that interception on the final drive, Smith threw into triple coverage. Not good.