Instant Impact: New York Jets 23, Miami Dolphins 20 (OT)
Talk about mixed emotions!
On one hand, Jets fans have to be elated they won a game against their hated rivals that they had little business winning in the first place.
On the other hand, troubling trends like poor third-down defense, dropped passes and erratic quarterback play continued in full effect.
Throw in the fact that Darrelle Revis seems to have suffered a serious knee injury, and Jets fans don't know how to feel.
It was an ugly game, but you can't ever apologize for a win in the NFL, especially one against a divisional opponent on the road. The Jets are 2-0 in the AFC East and are where most reasonable fans would figure them to be after three weeks.
Throw in the Patriots loss to the Ravens tonight and the Jets find themselves in first place for whatever that's worth.
This week's Instant Impact is going to be done with a Bruce Springsteen twist in honor of the three historic concerts he played at MetLife Stadium while the Jets were away.
Champ of the Game: Santonio Holmes
In his return to the site of the "Miami Meltdown," Holmes was easily the Jets' top player. He put up big numbers overall with nine catches for 147 yards and made a number of plays in the clutch. His biggest catch was a 38-yard reception in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal.
Holmes has also shown an incredible knack for drawing pass-interference penalties. He might just be the one player who is loving these replacement referees.
Chump of the Game: Stephen Hill
Tough to pick on a rookie who is learning his way, but Hill has to do better than that. He dropped two passes, one of which would have converted an early third down and the other would have been a touchdown. He didn't turn up on the stat sheet besides those two drops. He also pulled up lame with a bum hamstring. Hill has a ton of talent and will have better games, but today was a stinker.
Defensive Star: LaRon Landry
In three games so far, Landry has had two great games and one brutal, undisciplined performance. While he wasn't as active in the secondary as he had been in the past, Landry's interception return for a touchdown at the start of the second half was a thing of beauty.
Landry baited Ryan Tannehill into thinking his receiver was open and then slyly stepped in front for the pick-six.
Offensive Star: Bilal Powell
Powell provided a great spark and the coaches recognized it pretty clearly. He ended the game with 10 rushes for 45 yards and also had a nice gainer on a screen pass called back on a Santonio Holmes holding call. Powell was the featured back when the game was on the line late and performed well.
As of right now, it seems the only thing Shonn Greene has over Powell is that he is more secure with the football, but even so, I am expecting a big shift in the Jets running game on the horizon.
Special Teams Star: Nick Folk
Mark Sanchez Instant Impact Approval Rating
Folk nailed three chip-shot field goals, including the overtime game-winner. Things were interesting, as his first attempt at the overtime field goal was blocked, but Dolphins coach Joe Philbin called a timeout, so the play was negated. Folk's kickoffs lacked the distance he had showed during the first two weeks, so that is something to keep an eye on.
Nothing is more key than the Darrelle Revis knee injury. Jets reporter Ian O'Connor tweeted that Revis walked to the team bus, wheeling his bag under his own power with a noticeable limp after the game. It might be reaching for even the slightest sign of hope, but it was at least a good sign he wasn't on crutches and wasn't wearing a knee brace.
Revis is schedule for an MRI Monday, and by all accounts, the Jets are very concerned right now.
Aaron Maybin left the game in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury.
Jets fans had to hold their breath twice, as Stephen Hill and LaRon Landry each spent time down after plays. Neither injury turned out to be serious. though, as both continued to play.
Turning Point of the Game
In a game that had so many twists and turns, we'll have to go with the plot twist that happened at the latest point in the game. When Joe Philbin put his hands together in the referee's face to form a "T" a split-second before Tanner Purdum snapped the ball for the game-winning field goal in overtime, it was the one final break the Jets needed.
The blocked kick would have been the final act in an ugly performance and could have sent the Jets into a downward spiral. Instead, Philbin's timeout allowed the Jets a second chance to win the game, which they did.
Landry's interception, Reggie Bush's injury or Dan Carpenter's missed field goal in overtime all were crucial turning points as well.
Born to Run
The Dolphins ran the ball 43 times for 185 yards on the day. The Jets are supposed to be a strong defensive team against the run, but struggled again today. The Dolphins ran for a 4.3 average despite playing a big chunk of the game without Reggie Bush.
While the win was crucial for the Jets' standing in the AFC East, it had a a greater meaning to Tony Sparano. The game marked Sparano's return to Miami after being fired with three games to go last season. Sparano had a strong performance calling plays, as he continued to take shots down the field and put most players in the best chance at succeeding.
In a nice gesture, Rex Ryan rewarded Sparano with a game ball after the game.
Incident on 57th Street
After creating another media storm by popping off at a reporter in the Jets' locker room this week, Bart Scott had a decent game at linebacker. He had six total tackles, three of them coming at or behind the line of scrimmage.
For the second straight game, the Jets got little impact from their rookies. Quinton Coples, Demario Davis, Josh Bush and Stephen Hill were all practically invisible. One of them is going to have to catch on soon, as the Jets are relying on them for success this year.
One of the more underrated performances of the day has to go to Nick Mangold. Mangold was saddled with the responsibility of taking on Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Paul Soliai and turned in his usual stellar performance. Raise your hand if you even heard Soliai's name called once all game.
Soliai ended up with two solo tackles and was a non-factor all game.
Antonio Cromartie bit badly on a Brian Hartline double move in overtime, allowing the receiver to grab a 41-yard reception down to the Jets' 35-yard line. Cromartie was saved when Carpenter missed a field goal three plays later.
Admittedly, some luck did certainly come into play in this win. The biggest stroke of luck that went the Jets' way was Philbin's fateful timeout in overtime. Couple that with Carpenter's two missed field goals, and those were some big breaks for the Jets to get.
One Step Up
At the end of the day, the Jets will be one of just six AFC teams to have a 2-1 record. At the very worst, they will be tied with the Patriots atop the AFC East. If the Patriots fall to the Ravens, the Jets will be in first place alone after three weeks for whatever that is worth.
The Jets have a litany of problems they need to fix immediately, and they have to do it with an angry 49ers team coming to MetLife next Sunday. The team's 2-1 record is quite tenuous, as problems with Sanchez's chemistry with his wide receivers persist, as does an inability of the defense to get off the field on third downs.
This Hard Land
Who was the Jets' player of the game?
Austin Howard performed extremely well once again on a strong pass-rusher. So far, he has faced Mario Williams, Lamarr Woodley and Cameron Wake in his first three NFL starts at right tackle and allowed just one sack. Things don't get any easier, as he is slated to take on Ray McDonald of the 49ers and J.J. Watt of the Texans in the next two games.
Roll of the Dice
For the second week in a row, Rex Ryan challenged a play that the announcers figured would be overturned. This one seemed to be an easy call, as Ryan challenged the ruling of a reception by the Dolphins on a juggling sideline grab. The receiver clearly did not finish the catch through the ground, so it appeared the Jets had an easy overturn coming their way.
However, the referees ruled the call on the field was correct, and it cost the Jets a timeout. Even when a coach is obviously right, he must have no idea what these replacement officials will ultimately decided when looking at a review.
It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City
According to a CBS graphic during the game, the replacement referees have thrown 46 pass-interference flags over the first two weeks. During the same time period last season, the regular referees threw just 31.
Sanchez's pass to Holmes in overtime put the quarterback over the 300-yard mark on the game, the first time he has topped 300 yards against the Dolphins. After a rough first three quarters, Sanchez played better when the game was on the line, but still missed way too many wide-open receivers.
Mark Sanchez Instant Impact Approval Rating
Week 2: 72.4
Week 1: 98.9
What This Means Now
As most reasonable fans predicted, the Jets stand at 2-1 after three games and, in a league ripe with parity, are just one of six teams with two wins in the AFC. However, this season is greatly in question right now. Between the obvious flaws and the status of Revis, this season's fate is very much in question.
Every NFL team suffers injuries, so nobody will have sympathy if Revis is out, but his loss is sure to be devastating. While the Jets certainly do have a ton of questions, if you look around the league, so does just about everyone else.
Even without Revis, the Jets play enough mediocre teams this year that there is no reason to think they still can't compete.
The Jets take on one of the best teams in the NFL in the San Francisco 49ers, and they will most certainly be angry. The Niners dropped a 24-13 decision to the Vikings in Minnesota this week in which their vaunted defense couldn't generate a sack or interception against Christian Ponder.
The 49ers could possibly have the most fearsome defense since the Baltimore Ravens in their finest years and will not be a welcome sight for the offense.
Even coming off the loss, the Niners have opened as a 3.5-point favorite at MetLife Stadium next week.
The Niners defense isn't just stingy with points, it's downright punishing to anyone who touches the football. Even if the Jets don't win the game, if they come out without anymore significant injuries, the Jets should count themselves lucky.
Look for RC Cos' Instant Impact immediately following every Jets game this year. Follow RC Cos on Twitter @RcCos14.
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