1) Dominant Performance By Defense
The Miami Dolphins defense left zero doubt on Sunday, shutting out the New York Jets, 24-0. It was the first shutout since 2014, and it seemed everyone that played contributed in the win. The Dolphins limited Jets quarterback Joe Flacco to just 148 passing yards, sacking him three times and harassing the veteran all day long. The Miami defense held the Jets offense to just 93 total yards in the first half, forced six punts and allowed just five first downs in the first 30 minutes! Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah recorded two sacks and was flying around in the Jets backfield. Ogbah now has five sacks in just six games and one sack away from setting a career season high. Many other defenders contributed to this win by flashing with tackles for loss or making plays along the line of scrimmage. Eric Rowe, Nik Needham, Zach Sieler, Christian Wilkins, Elandon Roberts, and Brandon Jones all had their best days as a Dolphin. Veteran cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Byron Jones were also tested early and made plays to get the Jets offense off of the field. Jones used his recovery speed to chase Jets receiver Breshad Perriman on consecutive deep routes, getting breakups on each attempt. Howard's interception in the second quarter made it four games in a row with a pick, and set up the Dolphins offense with excellent field position, something they enjoyed the entire game.
2) Complementary Football
Once again this team started fast, jumping out to a 14-0 lead, and building it to 21-0 heading into halftime. In all three wins this season, the Dolphins have found ways to put drives together early in games and score points. Miami's offense holds a 45-17 score advantage in the first quarter of games this season. But it's not just the offense that's starting early in games. The defense and special teams are playing a huge role in setting up excellent field position for the offense. The average starting field position for the Dolphins offense was approximately 25 yards better that what the Jets enjoyed on Sunday. That's two and a half first downs before the ball is even snapped. There was one point in the second quarter where quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and company started three consecutive drives in Jets territory. The last of those three drives started on the Jets 48-yard line and three plays later, Fitzpatrick found tight end Durham Smythe for a four-yard touchdown pass. Special teams have been stellar all season long and they were again a big part of the win on Sunday. Placekicker Jason Sanders stayed perfect on the season, making his one field goal attempt from 24 yards out. He's been so good that when the Dolphins offense crosses midfield, they have a high percentage to come away with points. Punter Matt Haack did his part by keeping the Jets offense on a long field. Five of his seven punts landed inside the New York 20 yard line, making it difficult for the Jets offense to string positive plays together. Lastly, returner Jakeem Grant has a knack for making the first defender miss, averaging 13.8 yards on punt returns with a long of 30 yards.
3) Balanced Offensive Attack
It wasn't all flash and big plays that led the Dolphins to victory on Sunday. This win was earned along the line of scrimmage with a good mix of inside runs, play action passing and getting the most out of the tight end position. Creative offensive play calling kept the Jets defense guessing, especially in the red zone where motion and play action fakes helps the New York defensive lose their eye discipline. That allowed huge throwing lanes for Fitzpatrick to find tight end Adam Shaheen to open the scoring for the Dolphins. Later in the second quarter, it worked again when tight end Durham Smythe was all alone on his four yard touchdown reception. When the Jets secondary did a good job in pass coverage downfield, Fitzpatrick did a good job of checking the ball down to running back Myles Gaskin, who had his best day as a pro. Gaskin totaled 126 yards from scrimmage, with 91 rushing yards and 35 receiving yards. He averaged over five yards per carry, and his blend of short space quickness and vision allowed him to get the most out of each carry. A couple new wrinkles in the run game plan allowed Gaskin to identify the running lanes, and his speed got him to burst through the holes provided by the offensive line. There's no doubt in my mind that the offense left points out there against the Jets. They didn't take full advantage of the field position provided, but getting everyone involved will certainly make opposing teams aware that the Miami offense can beat you in a number of ways.