After a disastrous trip to Pittsburgh evened their record at 1-1, the Jets hit the road again this Sunday, hoping for a better result in Miami.
The Dolphins are coming off a strong effort against the Raiders with a 35-13 win in a complete performance. Rookie Ryan Tannehill threw for an efficient 200 yards and Reggie Bush rushed for 172 yards.
Three thing to watch for
1. Containing Bush
Dolphins running back Reggie Bush showed a little bit of everything in the win over the Raiders. His first touchdown was pure force, making several would-be tacklers miss, while his second touchdown was a team effort as he ran 65 yards untouched into the end zone behind some great blocking.
The Jets need to trim Bush’s 172 yards last week. Making sure that Bush doesn’t see the light of day is the biggest X-factor in this game and if they can do that they take away the Dolphins balance on offense.
“Obviously, we have to do a great job of getting a lot of guys to him and getting him on the ground. Put some hot sauce on him, if you will,” head coach Rex Ryan said.
2. Make Mrs. Tannehill the talking point
After an NFL debut against the Texans where he threw three interceptions, Ryan Tannehill settled down last week for an effective game. It will be a much tougher task this week against the Jets, who boast a better offense than the Raiders and a much deeper secondary. If the Jets can generate a pass rush with their front three, they should be able to pressure the rookie quarterback into some mistakes.
“He’s a work in progress. He’s not a finished product, but I like the fact that he comes off to the sideline and can kind of tell you what happened,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. “That’s a good sign and that he’s fought through a couple tough spots in games and I’m sure there’s going to be more. Love to sit here and say, ‘We’re going to be an efficient machine all the time on offense.’ That doesn’t happen a lot.”
The more shots of the stunning Mrs. Tannehill in the stands instead of her husband celebrating touchdowns are a good thing for the Jets … and all of us.
3. A neutral crowd
The Jets faced one of the most hostile crowds in the NFL against the Steelers. But Miami and SunLife Stadium are a different experience entirely, with the team rarely selling out. Given the large number of former New Yorkers in the Miami area, it is far from an intense place to play. That can help the Jets’ offense communicate properly — something they didn’t do last Sunday.
“You know when you play the Jets in Miami, the stadium is going to be split 50-50. There was never a true home game,” former Dolphins and current Jets safety Yeremiah Bell said.
If the Jets can put up a quick score or two, they can send the Dolphins fans off to South Beach early. If the game stays close, then the Miami crowd will get behind their young team and have them believing they can win.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.