By Brad Carroll
Well, that was something. The New York Jets shocked everyone, including their own fans, Sunday afternoon with a thoroughly dominating victory over the Miami Dolphins in their home opener. The Jets did everything right in a 20-6 victory, one that could have easily ended in a shutout, save for a touchdown pass with no time left by Miami.
The Jets improved to 1-2 on the season, and with games coming up against the Jaguars and Browns, this left-for-dead team could be right in the hunt after those five weeks. That’s something nobody saw coming, and although everything could fall apart again next week, the fact the Jets have given their fans something to hold on to this season besides losing for a high draft pick is a shocking development.
Some will be happy, some won’t, but either way, a win is always welcome, especially against a hated division rival.
The dominating win does bring up the thought if the Jets could have beaten the Bills in Week 1, this season and this win would be looked at completely differently. But there’s no going back now, and instead, the schedule gets easier over the next two weeks, with a 3-2 record afterward completely realistic. But before we look ahead, let’s take a look back at our keys to a Jets victory and how they actually turned out on the field.
Did the Jets Contain Jay Ajayi?
The Dolphins running back had 16 yards on 11 carries, so this was as resounding yes. Ayaji rushed for 122 yards last week against the Chargers and had 111 yards and a touchdown the last time he played the Jets, but Sunday he was completely shut down. The Dolphins as a team ran for just 30 yards on 15 carries. The Jets defense came up big, for the first time this season, as they had been picked apart by LeSean McCoy and Marshawn Lynch, and they have their first victory to show for it.
Did The Jets Force Jay Cutler Into Bad Decisions?
Until the last, meaningless drive of the game, the Jets had the Dolphins quarterback running for his life, with him chucking up passes that had no chance of being completed. So, yes, the Jets defense did their job here as well. Cutler finished 26-of-44 for 220 yards with a touchdown and interception, but most of those completions and yards came on that final scoring drive when the game was already over. The Jets had three sacks, two interceptions, seven quarterback hits and eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage. They also knocked down seven passes. The Jets defense came up big Sunday, which is surprising considering how bad they were in the first two games.
Did The Jets Commit To Throwing The Ball?
Yes they did, and not surprisingly, the Jets won the game. Josh McCown looked great, completing 18-of-23 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown. The slant routes were there all day, and they also took shots downfield, completing the biggest pass of the year, a 69-yard touchdown to Robby Anderson that really put the game in the Jets’ hands. Anderson had three catches for 95 yards, Jermaine Kearse had three for 42, Jeremy Kerley had five for 42, a returning Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught five for 31 and ArDarius Stewart had a nice grab for 24 yards. Even defensive end Lawrence Thomas caught a 15-yard pass while playing offense. The Jets opened up the playbook and it paid big dividends. The Jets also rushed 34 times for 103 yards and a touchdown, as they pounded the ball in the second half when they had the game in hand.The Jets did everything right and it resulted in their first victory of the season.