Jets win, 31-23
With the win, the Jets improve to 2-1 and take first place in the AFC East. The defense struggled a bit in the second half (allowed 13 points and gave up some big pass plays), but Mark Sanchez put forth another strong performance. The quarterback went 15-for-28 with 256 yards and three touchdowns. Not a pretty completion percentage, but it's good enough for a 120.5 QB rating. He threw three touchdowns for the second straight week and had a 5-yard touchdown run called back on a holding. LaDainian Tomlinson, who got the start at running back, ran for 70 yards on 15 carries and scored his first touchdown as a Jet - a 1-yard plunge with two minutes left. Shonn Greene got just 10 carries and ran for 36 yards. Dustin Keller again starred alongside Sanchez. The tight end had six catches, 98 yards and two touchdowns. Braylon Edwards, who was benched for the first quarter and got in on the first play of the second, had two big receptions for 87 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown in the third quarter that gave the Jets a 21-17 lead. There was even a David Clowney sighting: he had one catch for 22 yards. Brad Smith provided a spark from the "Seminole" formation with three rushes for 41 yards.
The defense gave up 363 yards and two touchdowns to Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall had 10 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown. Drew Coleman made the big play at the end, though, intercepting Henne's pass in the end zone with 0:34 left to essentially end the game.
For the folks who play in fantasy leagues with IDP: David Harris had seven solo tackles.
The Jets scored on their opening drive, capping a methodical 74-yard march with Mark Sanchez's 24-yard touchdown to Dustin Keller on a fade-stop route along the right sideline at 9:25. Sanchez floated the ball up, giving Keller enough time to get under it, stop, turn, and make the catch with his back to the defender at the 1 and fall backward in the end zone. Sanchez was 4-for-5 with 58 yards on the drive. 7-0, Jets
- Ladainian Tomlinson got the start tonight. The Jets' first play from scrimmage saw the running back split wide to the right (the play resulted in a 7-yard completion to Jerricho Cotchery on a slant). Tomlinson took the carry on the next play for a loss of a yard.
- The Jets went with their version of the Wildcat on the seventh play. Brad Smith took the shotgun snap, faked a handoff to Tomlinson, then ran up the middle with LT serving as his lead blocker. The play went for nine yards to Miami's 30.
- Shonn Greene made his first appearance on the Jets' ninth play, running off right tackle for a gain of 1 to the Dolphins' 24.
The Jets forced a quick 3-and-out, highlighted by Shaun Ellis' second-and-10 sack of Chad Henne for a 3-yard loss.
After starting 0-for-3, Henne finally completed a pass, hitting Davone Bess on an out route for 12 yards on 3-and-8. Henne then connected with Anthony Fason for 11 yards to the Jets' 37... Jason Taylor got his second sack as a Jet and first against his old team, dropping Henne for a loss of 8 on a second-and-8. Taylor came off the edge from his right outside linebacker spot, beat the tackle and hit the quarterback from behind at the 43. This elicited a cacophony of boos mixed with cheers from the Dolphins fans. About what was expected... On third down, Jim Leonhard deflected a pass to force the punt on 3rd & 16.
* If you picked Dustin Keller in a fantasy draft (I did not), you're reaping the benefits. The tight end already has four catches for 79 yards and a touchdown, including 31 yards on his last reception. He's definitely developed a strong rapport with Sanchez, who looks for him in the seam and over the middle off play-action.
* Braylon Edwards makes his first appearance at the start of the second quarter on 2nd & 15 from the Dolphins' 44. The benching was for one quarter exactly. As the final seconds ticked down on the first-quarter clock, Edwards put his helmet on, slapped himself on the side of it, then began hopping in place like a fighter about to start shadow boxing.
Scroll up to what I wrote about Keller at the end of the first quarter and add to that. The Jets scored again, this time on a 12-yard touchdown by Keller. He got a step on the defenders with a post route, Sanchez delivered the ball in the perfect spot, and the tight end made the catch in the back of the end zone at 13:41. The touchdown capped an impressive 7-play, 90-yard drive. It's not far-fetched to assume that in at least a few New York bars, Super Bowl talk is being sparked up again. 14-0, Jets
The Dolphins got lucky on back-to-back plays. Bess was credited with a 17-yard catch along the left sideline to the Jets' 38. Bess ran a fade route, the ball was thrown to his inside shoulder and he leapt and spun clockwise to make the catch - excellent catch - and got one food inbounds. The refs called it a reception, though, and the Dolphins went quick-snap to prevent the Jets from challenging the call. Ricky Williams ran off right guard but fumbled at the 35. The Dolphins, however, were able to recover it. Henne went back to Bess on the fade route for another 17 yards (he got both feet in this time) and the Dolphins reached the Jets' 18.
The Dolphins get on the board at 9:17. Henne hit Fasono on a quick curl in the front of the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown. Before that play, Kyle Wilson was flagged for a pass interference that got that the Dolphins to the 3. Henne threw toward the right sideline for Hartline and Wilson cut in front of the receiver and made contact as he went after the underthrown pass. It's unlikely that Hartline would've been able to make the catch inbounds, but Wilson was still flagged. The Dolphins' drive went 76 yards on nine plays. 14-7, Jets
The Dolphins chip away. Dan Carpenter hit a 44-yard field goal with 1:02 left in the half to pull the Dolphins within 4. The kick capped a 12-play, 59-yard drive... The Jets have no timeouts left, so a last-minute drive - should they chose to try it - will be difficult. 14-10, Jets
The Jets reached the Dolphins' 30 on David Clowney's 22-yard catch with 0:02 left. They went for the 56-yard field goal but got called for a false start, pushing Nick Folk back for a 61-yard attempt. The kick was tipped at the line and fell about 20 yards short of the uprights. Even with the deflection it looked like it was headed down the middle and might've had enough oomph to get through. Had it not been touched, of course. But ifs don't count, so the half ends with the Jets clinging to a four-point lead.
Halftime Notes (Jets lead, 14-10)
- Sanchez has been impressive against a tough defense. He's 10-for-16 with 143 yards and two touchdowns to Dustin Keller. It's looking as if the Ravens game was in fact the aberration. The bulk of his completions and yards have come from connections with the tight end. Keller has six catches and 98 yards. He's been able to beat the Dolphins secondary in the seams and on the outside.
- The Jets again haven't been able to get the running game going consistently. Tomlinson, who started, is the game's leading rusher with 37 yards on seven carries, but 21 of those yards came on one run. Greene has just 14 yards on five attempts.
- After a slow start, Henne has gotten it going against the Jets secondary, attacking the outside. He's now 11-for-16 with 111 yards and a touchdown to Fasano. Bess leads the Dolphins with four catches for 60 yards, including two leaping, spinning catches on fade routes along the left sideline. Cromartie has done fairly well on Marshall, who has four catches for 43 yards with a long of 13.
- Miami hasn't gone to the Wildcat much (+1 for conventional offense) and the Jets have been able ot bottle up the run. Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown have been held to 32 yards on nine rushes. Marshall got a handoff from Brown - direct snap - and was dropped for a loss of one, and he ran a reverse for four yards off the left end.
Miami takes the lead at 8:47 on Marshall's 11-yard touchdown. On 3rd & 1, the Dolphins came out with a run look (offset-I formation) and Henne froze the Jets linebackers with a play fake and threw to Marshall over the middle on a short dig route. The receiver then fought his way for a couple more yards into the end zone. The Dolphins' drive went 73 yards on 12 plays and bled 6:13 off the clock. 17-14, Dolphins
And Braylon Edwards makes quick amends with a 67-yard touchdown. On the Jets' first play from scrimmage since falling behind, Edwards got open on a hitch route, spun to break a tackle, and then outran the pursuit up the left sideline for the touchdwon at 8:41. It was Edwards' first reception, but that's the effect he can have on game. The front office and Rex Ryan knew it and I'd assume that not too many Jets fans right now are too concerned with castigation and rightful punishment. That was Sanchez's third touchdown of the night. 21-17, Jets
The Dolphins pull within a point on Carpenter's 20-yard field goal at 5:21. The drive went 73 yards on eight plays, the big one being a long pass to Marshall. On a 3rd & 10, Marshall made a spectacular leaping catch between Cromartie and Leonhard on Henne's 40-yard heave to get the Dolphins to the Jets' 7. He's now got seven catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. On third down from the 2, Cromartie was able to slap a pass away from Marshall to force the field goal. Both quarterbacks have had nice games thus far. Henne, though quietly, has 255 yards and two touchdowns. 21-20, Jets
* Special teams delivers with a blocked punt at the 17. Eric Smith came free off the left edge, dove, and got a hand on the ball just as Brandon Fields kicked it. The play set the Jets offense up in the red zone with 2:11 left in the quarter.
The Jets add three points to the lead on Folk's 30-yard field goal at 12:55. Some disappointment there, though, as the Jets had Sanchez's 5-yard touchdown run called back because of a hold on Matt Slauson (it was fairly blatant). Sanchez dropped back, saw an opening as he rolled left (aided by Slauson's hold to seal the edge) and then dove into the end zone. But before he tossed the ball in the air in the celebration, the flags went flying. Folks' field goal capped an 8-play drive that went five yards. It was all se tup by Smith's blocked punt at the 17. 24-20, Jets
* The Jets dodged a bullet thanks to a replay review. Sanchez throws what would've been his first interception of the season. Pressured on a corner blitz by Vontae Davis from the right, the quarterback overthrew Cotchery toward the left sideline and Jason Allen made what first appeared to be a diving catch. Replays, however, showed the ball hit the ground. Rex Ryan challenged and the initial ruling was overturned. The result was an incompletion and a 4th & 8 at the Jets' 7. Weatherford's punt was fielded by Bess at the 32 and returned to midfield. The Dolphins will start there with 8:56 left, down by four.
It's a one-point game again. Carpenter drilled a 50-yard field goal with 6:49 left to pull the Dolphins closer. The preceding play was a 10-yard completion to Marshall on an in route to get into field goal range at the 32. The Jets were a bit fortunate. Had Marshall not stumbled while making the catch, allowing Cromartie to make the ankle tackle, he'd have had plenty of room to run to his left (almost certainly would've been a touchdown). Miami's drive went 18 yards on six plays and was set up by the Jets' bad field position on their last possession and Bess' 18-yard punt return to midfield. 24-23, Jets
* The Jets get tricky with it (get it, like "Jiggy With It" but football-related /lame Will Smith/Miami reference from '97), handing off to Brad Smith on end-around going around the left end for 16 yards to midfield with 5:21 left... They also got lucky as Sanchez attempted a middle screen to Tomlinson in heavy traffic and the ball wound up being soft-tossed right at Kendall Langford. Fortunately for Sanchez, the ball hit the leaping Langford in the face. Had the defensive end been blessed with better hands or quicker reaction time, that could've been a pick-6.
- Tomlinson broke a an 18-yard run off left tackle (good block by Keller to seal the edge and spring him) that got the Jets to Miami's 5 with 3:10 left... On 3rd & goal, a fade to Edwards went incomplete, but Allen was flagged for a pass interference, giving the Jets a first down at the 1. With two minutes left, New York has a great opportunity to ice the game. A touchdown + PAT would give them an 8-point lead, but they could be bold and opt to go for a two-point conversion and try to make it a two-possession lead. That, of course, would come at the risk of failing and giving the Dolphins the ball back with a chance to tie it on a touchdown alone.
The Jets get the 8-point lead on Tomlinson's 1-yard touchdown dive. On 2nd & goal, following the two-minute warning, Tomlinson took the handoff and launched himself over the offensive line and reached the ball into the end zone (the vintage LT goal line jump). The Jets' drive went 80 yards on 12 plays and took 4:47 off the clock. 31-23, Jets
* Henne got the Dolphins to the Jets' 11 with a 30-yard catch-n-run completion to Marshall along the left sideline with 1:04 left. That play followed a 16-yard pass to Bess. Some tension builds.
Drew Coleman ends the game for the Jets with an interception in the end zone. On a 4th & 4 (goal about 4 1/2 yards), Henne threw for Fasano in the end zone, but the Jets had three defenders around the tight end and Coleman snagged the ball off a deflection with 34 seconds left. With a kneel down, the Jets finish a game that was more of a nailbiter than it maybe should've been... Here's something new: Rex Ryan dumped the water bucket on Jason Taylor as the OLB/DE celebrates a win over his former team. (Taylor had a sack in the first quarter.)