1. Weathering The Storm –
In the first half as the offense stalled or surrendered the ball faster than a homesick Frenchman along the Maginot Line, it was Steve Weatherford who thrice put the Miami deep in their own end to keep things a challenge for the Dolphins. Weatherford's first three punts of the game landed inside Miami's 10 yard line, including an effort inside one minute of halftime that the Jets downed within inches of the goal line. A fourth punt on the drive after halftime was just inches away from being downed by Dwight Lowery on the goal line and all told, Weatherford had six punts downed inside the 20 yard line in the game.
2. Fumbling and Bumbling Miami –
Any bit of bumbling the Jets did the Dolphins did better. Down 10-0 midway through the second quarter, the Jets offense desperately needed the defense to step up and give them a boost. With Miami at their own 42 yard line and second and 5, Calvin Pace sacked Chad Henne and created a fumble in the process that Sione Pouha fell on top of. Then inside the two-minute warning, Bart Scott and Brodney Pool combined to hit and strip Ronnie Brown as former Miami Dolphins linebacker Jason Taylor pounced on the bouncing ball. Once again in the third quarter with Miami driving deep into Jets territory, Henne botched a handoff to Brown that resulted in another fumble and a Pool recovery. "Our defense played well enough for us to win this game," said fullback Tony Richardson. As bad as the Jets were with the turnovers, Miami was equally as bad if not worse.
3. It's Over –
The Jets have lost two straight and are now 9-4 and there is a tough game ahead next Sunday at Pittsburgh. But all of a sudden, the game in Chicago is looking very winnable following the Bears humiliating home loss to New England and then after that, the Jets face a very winnable home game against Buffalo to close out the season. "We know these games are important. We know we're wasting our opportunities," quarterback Mark Sanchez said. "We know we could miss this thing." Ask Jets fans before the year if they'd take 11-5 and they would, even with this ugly hiccup in the middle of the season.
Three Things That Went Wrong In Sunday's 10-6 Loss Too Miami
1. Sanchez To The Wrong Man –
The Jets were facing third and 18 in the first quarter on their second drive of the game when Mark Sanchez threw one of many poor balls on the wet afternoon. Under pressure, Sanchez threw into tight coverage towards Santonio Holmes on an out pattern that was picked off by Nolan Carroll. The rookie out of Maryland got his first career interception and set up Dan Carpenter for a 47-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead early. Then on the drive following the interception, Miami once again forced the Jets into third and long – and once again forced a turnover. Dancing around in the pocket as the Dolphins brought some pressure, Sanchez was hit on his right side with the ball exposed. Making the play was Miami's Kendall Langford, whose pressure took him outside and around Wayne Hunter, who had come in for the injured Damien Woody. "The turnovers obviously hurt us early on," said head coach Rex Ryan. "We had poor execution on offense in particular." It was Sanchez's fifth turnover in the past two games, and this one led to a Brandon Marshall touchdown six plays later, the difference in the game.
2. The Mildcat –
After the Jets forced Miami into a three and out in the second quarter, the Jets put together a mini drive that stalled on Miami's 37 yard line. On fourth and 1, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer decided it was a good idea to go for it given the wet field and kicker Nick Folk's recent drop in form. Inexplicably, however, they went with their "Wildcat" formation with a direct snap past Brad Smith to Shonn Green. With no true blocker in front of him, Greene was swallowed up at the line by the Dolphins jailbreak. Turnover on downs for a pathetic offensive display in the first half.
3. Holmes, Not So Sweet Holmes – Following Pace's forced fumble on Henne and Pouha's recovery, the Jets seemed to be piecing together a decent drive. Following an incomplete pass to Shonn Greene, Sanchez sent a long pass to wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who had just completed a double move and was wide open in the end zone. The ball from Sanchez fell perfectly into Holmes' stride, but the receiver somehow missed the ball, which hit him squarely in the sternum. The Jets settled for a field goal to cut Miami's lead to 10-3. An absolutely embarrassing miss by Holmes, who has been mistake-free all season and did atone in the fourth quarter with a diving catch on a 42-yard pass and catch with Sanchez.