New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins: Live Game Grades and Player Analysis for Jets
So after three weeks the Jets sit in first place in the AFC East, so what is there to complain about?
Hopefully the sarcasm came through on that opening sentence because this is far from a perfect team.
In the NFL, you can't apologize for wins, but this game was ugly.
The Jets offense pulled this game out with a nice touchdown drive at the end of the fourth quarter and then won the game on a Nick Folk 32-yard field goal after his initial blocked attempted was negated by a Joe Philbin timeout.
That being said, the Jets had trouble with their chemistry between their wide receivers and cornerbacks, their defense failed miserably in the clutch and Darrelle Revis seems to have suffered a serious knee injury.
As was the theme around much of the NFL today, this was a wild game.
Here are the final unit grades after the 23-20 Jets win.
OVERALL GAME GRADE: B-
Mark Sanchez was inaccurate again most of the day, missing some wide open receivers on what could have been huge plays. He finished 21-for-45 for 306 yards and two interceptions, but played well when it mattered.
Sanchez led the Jets on a late touchdown drive to give the team a 20-17 lead and then played well in the overtime period, ultimately leading the team to the 23-20 win.
He did make a number of big throws despite his inaccuracy, most notably his 38-yard hookup with Santonio Holmes in overtime.
Fourth Quarter: B-
On plays immediately after a Dolphins missed field goal and a nice punt return by Jeremy Kerley, Mark Sanchez took deep shots down the field to open receivers. He overthrew Stephen Hill and underthrew Santonio Holmes on those plays.
Sanchez also missed a wide open Chaz Schilens on a potential touchdown with about four minutes left in the game.
Sanchez came through in the clutch though and gave the Jets a 20-17 lead on a touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley.
Third Quarter: C-
With the chance to demoralize the Dolphins with a 1st-and-goal on the three, Tim Tebow lost three yards on a sack and Mark Sanchez threw an interception to effectively take points off the board. CBS analyst Rich Gannon did a good job pointing out that tight end Jeff Cumberland appeared to run a poor route, allowing his coverage man to drift off of him to pick off the pass. If Cumberland's man wasn't there, Hill looked to have a chance at it.
Second Quarter: C
Even though he did lead the Jets on a scoring drive, the offense has no rhythm whatsoever and that has to fall on the shoulders of the quarterback. Sanchez's passes have been off the mark for the most part, but again he isn't receiving much help.
Sanchez did make a nice pass on the final offensive play of the first half that should have resulted in a touchdown. However, it ended up being the second drop of the day for Stephen Hill.
First Quarter: C-
Mark Sanchez's interception was a combination of a bad throw by Sanchez and a poor route by Clyde Gates. Before the pick, Sanchez didn't look comfortable either. He had a miscommunication with Stephen Hill on the game's first play and showed some "happy feet" before a three-yard completion to Shonn Greene.
Sanchez has made a couple of nice subtle plays to shuffle away from some Dolphins' pressure and seems to be settling down as the first quarter comes to a close.
Sanchez finished the first quarter just 4-for-9 for 25 yards and an interception.
OVERALL GAME GRADE: B+
In the end, it was the offense that won the game for the Jets. Despite poor chemistry for much of the game, the offense made some late clutch plays to pull off the win.
In his return to Miami after his 2011 meltdown, Santonio Holmes was outstanding, catching nine balls for 147 yards.
Bilal Powell provided a spark in the running game and figures to continue to see an increased role.
This unit will have its work cut out for them next week against what figures to be an angry 49ers team.
Fourth Quarter: B+
Again the Jets had trouble with timing and drops. Mark Sanchez missed Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes on deep throws and Hill, Holmes and Bilal Powell didn't help things with crucial drops.
Sanchez also failed to connect with Chaz Schilens who was wide open for a potential touchdown.
Holmes was then called for a crucial hold on what would have been a long screen play to Powell at the 5:00 minute mark.
For all their ugliness today, the Jets put the game in the defense's hands to win with three minutes left after a touchdown by Jeremy Kerley.
Third Quarter: C-
Another Jets drive was short-circuited by a poor route by a receiver. This time, it was tight end Jeff Cumberland who wan too close to a lob pass thrown to Stephen Hill, allowing his man to intercept the underthrown ball. You can't make an excuse for every Sanchez interception, but it does appear that routes by the receivers have played a hand in both.
Sanchez finally attempted a pass in Tebow's direction, but it bounced off his helmet as Tebow failed to get his head around in time. All those plays with Tebow running routes as a decoy appeared to have gone for naught as the Dolphins had him covered.
The offense made up for things with a big catch-and-run by Jeremy Kerley. The pass covered 10 yards in the air and Kerley ran for 56 additional yards.
Second Quarter: C
Well, at least the Jets got on the board at the end of the quarter, capping a methodical 16-play drive with a field goal.
The big story of the offense thus far is the struggles of the offensive line. Sanchez has been under slight, but constant pressure and rarely has much time in the pocket.
The wide receivers again are having a difficult time getting open and aside from some quick bursts from Bilal Powell, the running game hasn't done that much.
Stephen Hill dropped a catchable ball on what should have been a touchdown on their final drive of the quarter.
First Quarter: C-
As expected, the Jets have had a tough time running the ball against a strong Dolphins' front. They tried to get creative with some exotic packages, but the Dolphins weren't fooled. Even when Shonn Greene has seen some holes open for him, they have closed quickly.
The timing between Mark Sanchez and his wide receivers isn't there yet. Stephen Hill returned from what looked to be a knee injury, but dropped a pass that would have converted a third-down. Sanchez hasn't had to run for his life just yet, but there have been times he has had to shuffle around due to broken-down protection.
I don't know what it is about Santonio Holmes, but these replacement referees seem to really like him. He has been a magnet for drawing illegal contact and pass interference penalties.
OVERALL GAME GRADE: D
The Jets defense better start pitching in to buy Dan Carpenter some early Christmas cards. If not for two missed field goals, one coming in overtime, this unit would have flat out blown the game for this team.
The defense had the chance to win the game by simply stopping a mediocre offense with three minutes left in regulation and failed. They then allowed the Dolphins to march to the game-winning field goal in overtime.
Antonio Cromartie was beat badly on a double-move by Brian Hartline for a key 41-yard reception to set up the winning field goal.
This unit was supposed to be a strength, but it has been awful.
Again, there was no pass rush.
This unit is so much different without Darrelle Revis.
Fourth Quarter: D-
The game was put in the defense's hands to win and they responded by letting a poor Dolphins' offense to march to the game-tying field goal. The Dolphins converted two third downs, including one on a pass interference call against Kyle Wilson.
The Jets defense did a good job to force a quick three-and-out with 7:15 left in the game deep in Dolphins territory. Antonio Cromartie did a nice job setting the tone with a big hit on the first play of the drive.
Third Quarter: B+
The Jets forced two turnovers on defense with the highlight being LaRon Landry's interception return for a touchdown. The Jets had showed better run defense at the start of the quarter, but then lightened up towards the end of the quarter.
The Jets defense allowed an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to the Dolphins after the Sanchez interception.
The Jets again are having trouble stopping third-down plays. The Dolphins have converted six of ten third downs so far.
The Darrelle Revis injury is scary. There hasn't been any preliminary word yet on what looks to be a knee injury.
Second Quarter: B
Again the Jets defense has had problems getting off the field on third down. The Dolphins' first drive was kept alive on an illegal contact penalty on Bart Scott, poor coverage by Antonio Cromartie and shoddy tackling on a Daniel Thomas run; all on third down.
First Quarter: C-
The Jets allowed the Dolphins to march right down the field for a touchdown after the Mark Sanchez interception. The Jets have to know the Dolphins are going to try to run the ball primarily, but still were unable to stop Reggie Bush. Bush ran four times for 31 yards on the opening drive.
The Jets have struggled with outside runs in the early part of the season and it looks like more of the same so far today.
The Jets were able to force a Miami punt on their second series, but that was helped in part to a questionable play call by by Dolphins' offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. With the Dolphins dominating on the ground, Sherman called for a pass on 3rd-and-1.
Special Teams: A-
OVERALL GAME GRADE: A-
Nick Folk continued to be perfect on this early season by nailing a 32-yard chip shot in overtime for the win. However, he did have help from Joe Philbin, whose timeout negated a block on Folk's first attempt.
Robert Malone continued to be excellent and Jeremy Kerley had a sold game returning punts. Joe McKnight had a rare unspectacluar game returning kicks though.
Fourth Quarter: B
After another failed 3rd-down conversion, Robert Malone pinned the Dolphins on their five-yard line with a beautiful punt. The Jets defense then forced a quick three-and-out.
After the Jets took their first lead, Nick Folk had a short kickoff that was returned to the 29-yard line. The team could have done better there.
Third Quarter: B
Not much to speak of for the special teams in the third quarter. Their kick coverage did fine on their only appearance and Nick Folk converted an extra point.
Second Quarter: A-
Tim Tebow paid his first big dividends on special teams when he converted a fake punt with a five-yard run on a direct snap. It was a gutsy call to say the least from their own 25-yard line. The play boosted the Jets to an eventual Nick Folk field goal for their first points of the day.
Joe McKnight continues to have no room to run on kickoffs, which is a rarity.
Eric Smith's roughing the punter penalty was the result of a nice acting job by Dolphins' punter Brandon Fields. It allowed the Dolphins to get the ball back, but on the first play back, Reggie Bush injured his knee.
First Quarter: C
Joe McKnight settled for a touchback on the opening kickoff and then only managed to take his next return to the 19-yard line.
Roger Malone continues to do well at punter, booming his only kick 53 yards down to the Dolphins' five-yard line.
A decent punt return by Jeremy Kerley was negated by an illegal block in the back.
OVERALL GAME GRADE: B
There aren't many complaints to throw out about the play calling, as the Jets tried to remain aggressive and creative. Mark Sanchez couldn't hook up with his receivers deep and Tim Tebow's presence in the running game hasn't amounted to anything yet, but I give the coaching staff credit for at least trying.
The play calling on their final three drives, the three most crucial ones in the game, was excellent.
The list of complaints has to start with Tebow's expanded role as a wide receiver this game. He was thrown at one time and wasn't ready for the ball and on the other plays, the offense essentially was playing with 10 players.
Fourth Quarter: A-
On a crucial 3rd-and-6 with 7:26 left, Tim Tebow was on the field as a receiver. Tebow's role on this play and all game at wide receiver is going to need explanation.
With 3:05 seconds left, Rex Ryan smartly used a time out to discuss a crucial 3rd-and-1 play at the Dolphins' seven-yard line. It resulted in a nicely designed play resulting in a simple touchdown toss to Jeremy Kerley.
Tony Sparano did a good job calling plays on the crucial late-game drive.
On first look, blame shouldn't be placed on the coaching for allowing the Dolphins' game-tying drive. This one falls on the players who need to execute.
Third Quarter: B+
For some time it looked like the coaches may have made some adjustments at halftime, as they came out on fire defensively.
For the second week in a row Rex Ryan challenged a call that should have been overturned, but wasn't. While the one against the Steelers was borderline, this one quite obviously should have been overturned.
Second Quarter: A-
This grade is bashed on the sheer gumption for calling a fake punt on their own 25-yard line down 10-0. If that play failed, there was a distinct possibility the game would have gotten away from the Jets quickly.
However, it was successful and gave a slight boost to the Jets' offense.
One question I do have is why Tebow is seeing so much time at wide receiver. Is he just a decoy or is something in the works there?
First Quarter: C
Whatever game plan the Jets defensive coaches had in place to stop Reggie Bush isn't' working. Either the coaches are going to have to get more speed on defense or figure out some other way to limit big-gainers around the end.
Although the offense hasn't done much, give Tony Sparano credit for trying to get creative. He has used packages we haven't seen before and is trying to mix things up.