The Miami Dolphins used special teams to completely dominate the New York Jets on Sunday, to move their record to 4-3. The win made a statement to the rest of the AFC that the Miami Dolphins are a team that will be in contention in December for a playoff spot. If the playoffs started today, Miami would be one of the wild card teams, along with this Sunday’s opponent, the Indianapolis Colts. What seemed like a game that would match 2 rookie quarterbacks on two teams clearly rebuilding, has turned out to be a game that actually has some legs to it. The winner of this game will improve to 5-3, which is something to be proud of in a conference where only 7 teams currently have a record above .500.
The Dolphins came out of their bye week well prepared for the Jets. With all the talking coming from the Jets, motivation was easy for the Dolphins. The Dolphins shut the Jets up before the end of the first quarter, and just kept on rolling them throughout the entire game. Even losing starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill didn’t slow the Dolphins down, former starter and current back up Matt Moore moved right in and kept the offense moving. Moore finished the game 11/19 for 131 yards and a touchdown. He also had Jabar Gaffney wide open down the sideline for what would have been a long TD, but Gaffney was unable to make the grab.
The Dolphins used their defense and special teams to blow the Jets out. Olivier Vernon scooped up a blocked punt from Jimmie Wilson almost in the endzone for a touchdown. Vernon also added a blocked field goal to his special teams performance Sunday. The Dolphins were also able to recover an onsides kick after their opening possession field goal, all 3 of these happened in the first half! You could tell the Jets were awestruck by halftime of what happened to them in the first half.
The Dolphins defense came to play once again, continuing their great play on third downs, holding the Jets to 29% on third downs. This is a stat that is getting overlooked by many, but the fact that the Dolphin defense is getting off the field on third downs is huge. They also added 4 sacks and forced two turnovers, and completely frustrated the Jets coaching staff, which of course included former head coach now Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. The Jets just didn’t have an answer, at all, all game long.
The win put Miami just a half game behind New England for the lead in the AFC East. Those two will play eachother twice in December, which will likely decide the division. Looking ahead at New England’s schedule, they have a bye this week, then host Buffalo and Indianapolis. After that they travel to New York to face the Jets again before traveling to Miami for their first meeting. Both teams could have 3 loses by that game as Miami travels to Indy, then hosts Tennessee before going to Buffalo and hosting Seattle.