An offensive explosion from the Jets pushed them right back into the AFC Wild Card picture with a 38-20 home win over the Dolphins, giving them some much needed relief after a month of struggles.
Four touchdown passes from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, including two to wide receiver Brandon Marshall and a second quarter link-up with rookie Devin Smith, propelled the offense to a huge day. The defense, to their credit, held firm for much of the game, doing their part as the offense rolled out to a 21-0 lead midway through the third quarter.
With the win, the Jets are now 6-5 and ended a skid where they lost three of their previous four games. The Dolphins are now 4-7 and for all intents and purposes are out of the playoff picture.
Marshall was the juggernaut on the day for the Jets as his 131 receiving yards totaled more than in his previous three games combined. Running back Chris Ivory also chipped in with 21 carries for 87 yards and a 31-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to seal the game. Here are three things we learned Sunday:
1. The Marshall Plan
Nine catches, a career high in Jets green and white, along with 131 receiving yards and two touchdowns added up to a huge day for Marshall. The touchdown catches, in the first and third quarters, were clutch plays as the Jets scored on all four of their drives in the red zone. Marshall now has a touchdown catch in four straight games. He was one of six Jets targets with multiple receptions on the day as his presence also opened up things down the field for his fellow wide receivers.
2. Trim the Fins
On Friday, Fitzpatrick made headlines for trimming his famous beard, going from the mountain man look to something slightly less burly. Unlike the Biblical Sampson, ‘Fitz’ does better with his hair shorn, as he went 22-for-37 for 277 yards with four touchdown passes and no interceptions. The passing yardage was the highest total from Fitzpatrick in a Jets win this season (his higher yardage totals this season came in losses to the Eagles and on the road at the Patriots). Jets fans are currently pooling their money together to get their quarterback to join the “Dollar Shave Club.”
3. Stop the run
The Dolphins had 12 rushing yards on nine carries, their lowest totals of the season. It was a group effort from the Jets front-seven and a terrible showing from a patchwork Dolphins offensive line. The New York defensive line also generated a good pass rush even if they only registered two sacks in the game. Credit to head coach Todd Bowles who made the visitors’ offense one-dimensional