Jets’ grades: More classroom work needed
OFFENSE — D
Ryan Fitzpatrick (17-for-28, 193 yards passing) is downright maddening. At times, he displays toughness and competitive fire (the 14-yard scramble and lateral pass to Bilal Powell for a 22-yard gain in the first quarter), as well as razor-sharp precision (his lone touchdown, an 18-yarder to rookie Jalin Marshall with 5:42 left). But far too often, Fitzpatrick’s throws are wild and his decision making is beyond poor. With his two picks Sunday, he leads the NFL with 13 interceptions. Asked about his first pick, which was thrown right at 6-6, 335-pound Jordan Phillips, Fitzpatrick said: “They dropped a defensive tackle I didn’t see.” His struggles continue to hamper the unit, which was 3-for-11 (27 percent) on third down and 1-for-5 in the red zone. Brandon Marshall led all receivers with six catches for 45 yards. Matt Forte’s 31-yard rushing TD gave them a 10-7 lead in the first quarter and he finished with 92 yards on 12 carries. Robby Anderson (four catches, 49 yards) impressed. Along with his first career TD, Jalin Marshall had a career-high 59 receiving yards on three catches. In his brief relief appearance, No. 2 quarterback Bryce Petty was 2-for-2 and connected with Powell on his first attempt, a 15-yarder.
DEFENSE — D
Penalties are a killer, and the Jets continually find new ways to sabotage their own success. Their No. 1-ranked run defense entered the game allowing just 74 rushing yards per contest. But Sunday they were gouged for 137 total yards — the second-most the Jets have allowed in a game this season. Emerging star Jay Ajayi rushed for 111 of them, marking his third consecutive game with 100-plus yards. The last Dolphins to do that? Reggie Bush in 2011. The last back to rush for 100 yards or more on Todd Bowles’ defense? Arizona’s David Johnson. The defense showed signs of life at times and made critical key stops. But too often the linebackers were exposed in coverage, the secondary acted like a sieve and players made costly mental errors. One positive: Linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin has two sacks, after splitting one with Josh Martin.
SPECIAL TEAMS — D
Jalin Marshall’s muffed punt (which he recovered). Antonio Allen’s offside penalty. And Kenyan Drake’s 96-yard kickoff. There were too many breakdowns for a unit considered a strength when the season began. The devastating blow was Allen’s offside penalty on Jakeem Grant’s kickoff return attempt, which resulted in the Dolphins optioning to re-kick. On the ensuing play, Nick Folk aimed the ball at Drake, not Grant, and Drake wasted no time taking it to the house. Folk’s three field goals (from 23, 21 and 28 yards) accounted for nine of the team’s points. Running back C.J. Spiller replaced Jalin Marshall on kickoff return duty in his Jets debut, averaging 18.5 yards on two attempts.
COACHING — C
Run the ball, Chan! It was smart to start the game attacking the Dolphins’ weak cornerbacks. But Chan Gailey’s aversion to the running the football near the goal line or on third-and-short continues to defy logic. Worse than that were the penalties: 10 for 77 yards, including four personal fouls in the first half (Julian Stanford’s roughing the passer penalty was offset). That level of discipline, or lack thereof, is on the coaching staff as much as the players.