The Jets showed up for the season without a fearsome edge rusher to introduce and then reintroduce the quarterback to the turf. But there were times against the Dolphins at MetLife Stadium Sunday when that didn’t matter.
Safety Jamal Adams, end Henry Anderson and outside linebackers Jordan Jenkins and Brandon Copeland made it a four-sack day against Ryan Tannehill to go with three other hits on him. It could have been a six-pack of sacks, but two others were negated by Jets penalties.
Yet when the pass rush needed to get to Tannehill the most, it couldn’t. The Jets ended up falling, 20-12, in their home opener, dropping them to 1-1.
So Anderson summed it up in three words: “Not good enough.”
Tannehill had a very comfy pocket when he threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Derby late in the second quarter that gave Miami a 20-0 cushion. The Jets also couldn’t reach Tannehill on third-and-19 from the Jets’ 45 with 3:36 left. He dumped it off to an uncovered Frank Gore for 19 yards, and that was that.
“I thought we got good pressure in certain situations,” Anderson said. “We were pretty close there on that long third down. We’ve got to find a way to get him off the spot and affect the throw or get the sack there. … We’ve just got to keep working as unit, making sure we’re on the same page up front. I think we can be a hell of a team on third down.”
The Jets knew they had to get to the quarterback more after attacking for just 28 sacks and finishing 5-11 last season.
“All offseason and all during training camp, we wanted to work on closing to the quarterback,” said Jenkins, who stripped Tannehill of the ball and recovered it at the Miami 12 in the third quarter. “We saw a cut-up of last year of all the times we made quarterback hits; all the times we were close; all the times it was almost, almost, almost. This year, we didn’t want that. We want to make the play.
“We’ve got to try and keep coming more because there was some plays left out there.”
The pass rush was good enough two plays before Miami made it 20-0. It was third-and-6 from the Jets’ 33. End Leonard Williams and inside linebacker Avery Williamson double-teamed for a sack back at the 38. But cornerback Morris Claiborne got caught holding, giving the Dolphins a first down.
Then there was the third-and-3 play from the Miami 40 late in the third. Copeland sacked Tannehill for a 9-yard loss, but nickelback Buster Skrine got caught holding. That cost only field position because the Dolphins fumbled the ball away two plays later at the Jets’ 41, leading to a field goal.
“I thought we did good on the pass rush,” Williams said. “We definitely got to the quarterback a lot. … We got two sacks taken away on holding in clutch situations, and that’s what we’re going to have to fix.”