The New York Jets hosted the Miami Dolphins this week and fans hoped they could somehow pull another win out of their magic hat. What transpired was a three-hour long roller coaster of emotions, ranging from happiness, to pure joy, excitement, all the way to despair, disappointment, and rage. The Jets would fall to the Dolphins in a battle, but it was a competitive game for about two and a half quarters. Then, a 65-yard touchdown pass blew the game open.
The rookie class looks legit
While playoff hopes may be looking bleak, fans should have plenty to be thrilled about. This Jets rookie class looks to have three above average quality offensive starters in Michael Carter, Elijah Moore and Alijah Vera-Tucker. Carter may have gotten injured this week, but it doesn’t seem like it is going to be too serious. Before his injury, Carter was carrying the offense on his back. At one point, in the first quarter, he had 48 of the Jets 63 yards of offense.
Granted, most of this came on one run, a 39 yard gasher set up by a beautiful block by Vera-Tucker, who has come into his own as a really good run blocker. One thing that is somewhat concerning is his pass-blocking, but he shows enough flashes to keep those concerns down.
Elijah Moore had quite the game. Actually, he has had quite the few weeks. Since the week 8 win against the Cincinnati Bengals, Moore has 23 receptions, 336 yards, and four touchdowns. His best game was this past week, where he put up 141 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. Moore is finally starting to show that WR1 potential that people were so excited about in the preseason, and he should continue to get the looks when Wilson returns, hopefully this week.
The defense played… better
While it wasn’t exactly a dominant performance by any means, the defense played considerably better than it had been in recent weeks. After a historically bad four week stretch, the defense kept the Dolphins mostly in check. The Dolphins rushing attack was held to 3.5 yards per carry, and Tua Tagovailoa threw for 273 yards, 65 of which came on one play. In fact, that one play was probably the catalyst for the Dolphins to take over the game.
That play, specifically, was a 65-yard touchdown reception for Mack Hollins. Hollins was wide open down the sideline, and no one was able to catch him. After the game, Robert Saleh said that the play broke down due to “bad eye discipline,” though he declined to name a specific player. Who he was likely referring to was either Bryce Hall, who was matched up with him on the outside, or Ashtyn Davis, who was supposed to help over the top. Either way, a defensive breakdown like that can easily lose the game, and in this case, it did.
Another negative is that despite their ‘resurgence,’ they didn’t sack Tagovailoa once. A lot of this comes from the fact that the Dolphins threw it short a lot, which means the ball was coming out fast. There was one sack, but that got wiped out by a defensive holding penalty by rookie defensive back Jason Pinnock. This defense needs to rush the passer.
Lack of discipline
This team lacks discipline. Not only did they have a sack on 3rd down wiped off the board, but they had a huge 3rd down pass breakup later in the game taken away because of a silly roughing the passer penalty. Roughing the passer, for whatever reason, has been a theme for this team, and they seem to be addicted to doing it.
Some calls might be debatable, but when it happens so often, it may not be the official’s fault.
On offense, numerous illegal formation and false start penalties have plagued the Jets. They had a huge play taken away because of this, and it is defeating when the offense needs big plays. This entire team needs to be more disciplined, and that might just come with experience.
This team is still exactly what it looked like when the season started. It is a team with inexperience, a lack of talent, and a new coaching staff that runs a new scheme on offense and defense. The playoffs were unreasonable in terms of expectations, but there are a lot of things to be excited about.
Strong rookies, a rookie quarterback who (hopefully) returns this week, and a lot of money/draft picks still means a bright future. If things look similar the same time next year, then there should be some concern.
The Jets travel to Houston for their week 12 matchup with the Houston Texans, a battle of 2-8 teams battling for the number two pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.