It was a really rough day for the Miami Dolphins all around today at Sun Life Stadium, as the Dolphins finished the season 8-8 by falling to the New York Jets 20-7. With the exception of one drive today, the Miami offense struggled mightily on the day in several key facets of the game, and the Dolphins defense had trouble with Geno Smith and the New York Jets offense. When you score seven points, and give up 357 rushing yards in the last eight quarters of the season, you’re not going to win many games in the NFL. With the loss, the Dolphins missed an opportunity at making the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Here are my three observations from today’s 20-7 loss to the New York Jets:
1. No Knockout Punch: When the score was 7-0 early on in the football game, the Dolphins had a chance to really deliver a striking blow to the Jets.
The Jets got the ball on their own 29 yard line the next drive and that’s where Geno Smith turned the momentum of the football game, driving down the field with his arm and legs. The Jets took the ball from the Miami 29, and went 71 yards to pay dirt. New York converted key plays on that drive such as a 12 yard pass to receiver Jeremy Kerley, a 23 yard pass to Santonio Holmes and the backbreaking QB draw on 3rd and 2 near the goal line, which set up the Sheldon Richardson rushing touchdown.
2. Lacking Rhythm: It seems that on both sides of the ball today, the Miami Dolphins lacked fluidity and rhythm in their play. There were several surprising anomalies offensively today such as untimely drops by
Watching this game I never felt like the Dolphins were ever in control or could take control of the football game. The defense also seemed very out of the loop as well. They played out of sync, and seemed like they were a step behind on a lot of plays, allowing the Jets to make plays and extend plays that they didn’t in the first meeting between these teams.
3. Losing the Battle of the Bigs: The Miami Dolphins lost the battle at the line of scrimmage today against the Jets on both sides on the ball. New York was winning the game at the point of attack, similar to the way the Buffalo Bills did against the Dolphins a week ago. Last week, the defense gave up 203 rushing yards. This week, they gave up 157 yards rushing, got zero sacks on the quarterback and couldn’t get edge pressure, allowing Geno Smith to get out of the pocket and buy more time.
Meanwhile on the offensive side of the ball, the Jets defensive line was playing the backfield of the Miami Dolphins in short yardage situations, especially a critical 4th and one, where Charles Clay was stuffed and lost yardage. It felt like the Jets defensive line, continued to get penetration all game, while our defensive front had to go a great distance to affect Geno Smith. It felt like the Dolphins defense was working so much harder than the Jets D, to even get close to making plays. In football it all starts up front, and the Dolphins lost that war today.