By Brad Carroll
With a fourth-quarter meltdown on defense and one ill-advised, and downright incomprehensible, interception with 47 seconds to play, the New York Jets watched their season of surprise and hope fall right back into the the season of disappointment and apathy. The Jets’ 31-28 loss to the Miami Dolphins Sunday harkened back to the “Same Old Jets” tagline, and there is no way to think otherwise.
The Jets dominated the Dolphins for three quarters and held a 28-14 lead into the fourth quarter. The Jets haven’t blown a lead like that since 1995. But that date now changes to 2017. The Dolphins scored with 11:21 left to cut the lead to seven, then scored again with 6:19 to go to tie the game.
The Jets got the ball back with 47 seconds to play at their own 15 and decided to throw the ball instead of play for overtime. Fans love the decision, as it shows their team is actually trying to win the game, but given the Jets were deep in their own territory, they should have played for overtime and taken their chances there. Instead, quarterback Josh McCown threw a terrible pass on an out-pattern where it looked like the Dolphins defensive back was actually in the intended receiver. It was that bad.
The Dolphins had the ball at the Jets’ 27 and the game was all but over from there.
The Jets fell to 3-4 with the loss and a season that gave fans some thrills, plus got everyone fighting mad after last week’s screw job against the Patriots, has gone off the rails again. The Jets essentially eliminated themselves from the postseason conversation with the collapse and not even a tank job starting now will get them anywhere near the first or second overall pick in next year’s NFL draft.
This was as bad a loss as it gets, and the four-game dream ride by McCown came crashing to a complete stop, as the journeyman proved exactly what kind of quarterback he is.
The Jets play what has become a terrible Atlanta Falcons team next week, but after this loss to Miami, looking forward is going to be hard to do. Let’s take a look back at the Jets’ keys to victory against the Dolphins, which won’t fully explain a fourth-quarter collapse for the ages.
Did Jets Keep Jay Ajayi In Check?
For the second straight game, the Jets made Ajayi a non-factor. He gained 51 yards on 23 carries, with the Dolphins rushing for just 53 yards overall. Of course, with Miami losing big in the second half, and especially the fourth quarter, the passing game was the main source of offense. The Jets allowed backup quarterback Matt Moore, who came in for an injured Jay Cutler, to throw for 188 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The Dolphins threw for 304 yards overall with four touchdowns. The Jets stopped the run, but couldn’t get the stops when needed late.
Did Jets Get Pressure On Jay Cutler?
The Jets not only pressured Cutler early on, but they knocked him out of the game completely after a hit that reportedly broke his ribs. The Jets had three sacks and hit the quarterback 12 times, so those numbers are impressive. But we all know how the game ended. Jamal Adams, Demario Davis and Josh Martin had the sacks, while Leonard Williams had three quarterback hits. Mo Wilkerson even got involved when he intercepted a Cutler pass inside the five off a tipped ball. The Jets punched that in for a touchdown. The theme for the Jets continued here, however, as they did their job for three quarters but fell apart in the fourth, as a backup quarterback picked them apart.
Did Jets Follow Game Plan On Offense?
The Jets did follow the same game plan as they had in their previous win over the Dolphins this season in Week 3, as they came out throwing the ball. The results were great, as McCown hit Jermaine Kearse for a 23-yard touchdown pass on the first drive of the game and then scored again when Robby Anderson hauled in an 18-yard pass with 1:27 to go in the first quarter. The Jets scored two more touchdowns in the final two minutes of both the second and third quarters. The offense, however, wasn’t much of a factor after the opening quarter. McCown was 17-of-27 for 209 yards with three touchdown passes, one rushing, and a killer interception. The Jets defense couldn’t stop Miami in the fourth quarter, but it was also the offense that couldn’t keep the Dolphins off the field, and put up some points to put the game even farther out of reach than that of the two touchdown lead. For three quarters, the Jets owned the game. Then came the fourth and everything, from the game to the season, fell apart.