The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

JETS MAKE DOLPHINS LOOK GOOD

It seems that all it took to make the Miami Dolphins look good was a trip to the Meadowlands to play the hapless Jets.  The Fins won 23-3, scoring more points than they had since they scored 23 in a loss to the Ravens on October 6.  Never mind that the Jets’ 11 prior opponents averaged 26.1 points.  And although the defense stifled the Jets, don’t forget that they were also held to a single field goal last week.  Stopping Geno Smith does not exactly require a Herculean effort.  Coming into the game he had thrown 1 TD and 10 interceptions in his last 6 games.  After an abysmal first half, Smith was yanked to the cheers of the Jets’ fans, who would have little else to cheer about the entire afternoon.

The Fins’ defense held the Jets to 177 total net yards.  They got 5 sacks and had 3 turnovers.  They held the Jets’ QBs to a combined passer rating of 27.1, although one must recognize we are talking about Geno Smith and back-up Matt Simms, who no one will confuse with his famous father, Phil.  But this all came against the Jets; so don’t read too much into this game.  Next week in Pittsburgh will likely be a different story and the following week when the Patriots come into town will be even a bigger challenge.

The Jets also made Ryan Tannehill look like a world-beater.  He was 28 of 43 (65.1%) for a season-high 331 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT.  His passer rating was 94.2.  He distributed the ball well, connecting with Brian Hartline 9 times (127 yards), Mike Wallace 7 times (82 yards) and Charles Clay 7 times (80) yards.  His only interception came when his arm was hit while throwing.  On the other hand, Tannehill underthrew both Marlon Moore and Brian Hartline on deep balls when they were in the clear.  Even the Jets can’t cure Tannehill’s problems throwing the deep ball.

Meanwhile, as the Fins were exposing the Jets’ weaknesses, the Fins’ lack of a third-down back was once again exposed.  Twice in the first half the Fins turned the ball over on downs when they could not convert a third-and-one situation.  One of those occasions was at the Jets’ 1-yard line.  Both times they elected to pass on fourth down and both resulted in turnovers on downs when the passes fell incomplete.  The inability to make a third-and-one has hurt the Fins time and again this season.  It is a glaring weakness on the Fins’ offense for which the fault falls squarely upon the shoulders of (hopefully soon-to-be ex) GM Jeff Ireland.  The failure to convert these situations is why the Fins were lucky (thank you, Geno Smith) to take a 6-0 lead on 2 field goals in the last 44 seconds of the first half.  And the third-and-one problem surfaced again in the second half when the Fins also failed to convert a third-and-one.  For the game they were a pathetic 1 of 4 in third-and-one situations (thank you, Jeff Ireland).

The win keeps the 6-6 Dolphins’ slim playoff hopes alive.  Their playoff chances would look a lot brighter had they not lost at home to the Ravens in week 5.  For now they are tied with the Ravens for the final wild card slot, but that prior loss gives the Ravens the tie-breaking edge.  The Fins playoff hopes may not look very good right now, but the Jets certainly helped make the Fins look good on Sunday.

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