It took nine minutes of overtime but the Jets were able to overcome careless turnovers, boneheaded penalties and constant injuries to defeat the Miami Dolphins 23-20 Sunday and improve to 2-0 against the AFC East.
Earlier this week star cornerback Darrelle Revis called this game a must win. Though his team was able to pull it out, the game was far from what he had planned.
Yes, there were a few bright spots.
The Jets defense forced two big turnovers to temporarily swing the momentum in their favor at the start of the second half and Jeremy Kerley continued to show off his ability to make game-changing plays. We also saw some of the best chemistry between Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes in recent memory as Holmes finished with nine catches for 147 yards, his first 100-yard game since 2010.
Nonetheless, other than the fact that the Jets won, the fun stopped here.
The aforementioned Revis, arguably the best and most important player on the field, went down early with a left knee injury and never returned.
Obviously, the impact that the loss of Revis would have on this team cannot be overstated.
After already seeing the miserable efforts of Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson trying to play the two cornerback positions for one-and-a-half games in Revis’ absence, the Jets simply can’t afford to lose their top defensive player.
For this one game, however, the Revis injury is no excuse as the Dolphins also saw their top playmaker depart early with a knee injury of his own. And any Jets fan that doesn't realize how fortunate this was wasn't watching the game.
The Jets were incapable of tackling Reggie Bush throughout his abbreviated time on the field. The emerging running back changed every facet of the Fins’ offense as he took pressure off of quarterback Ryan Tannehill and allowed him to make poised, accurate completions. The defense could only begin to make an occasional big play here and there once Bush was out of the game.
Though, the defense, as bad as it was, was not even close to all of the Jets' problems.
Other than his new-found connection with Holmes, Sanchez was all over the place. That is, except for the end zone.
Sanchez missed more passes than he completed, including two crucial throws over the heads of Stephen Hill and Chaz Schilens that probably would have resulted in touchdowns, and one to the wide open Jeff Cumberland that surely would have been a score.
Not to mention, as each week ends, the “ground and pound” approach begins to slowly disappear.
The run game was simply irrelevant in the Jets' debacle of an offensive game plan. Shonn Green averaged just 2.1 yards per carry and Bilal Powell wasn't much better.
Likewise, Tim Tebow was so ineffective that he made Sanchez look like the second coming of Joe Namath. The only way the Jets stayed true to the “ground and pound” was that their running backs were literally always on the ground.
Putting the Revis injury aside, the Jets' biggest concern now is a lack of offensive weapons. With Keller out and Stephen Hill nowhere near what we saw in Week 1, the already thin Jets offensive starting unit becomes even thinner and this ultimate dearth of playmakers could cost them many games.
Jets fans can’t expect to be bailed out by two missed field goals and a failed attempt by the opposition to try to ice Nick Folk in any future games. They may have won today, but the game—without a doubt—showed many more negative signs than strong points for the Jets.
Gang Green will now face formidable opponents in the 49ers, Texans and division rival Patriots in three of the next four weeks—all teams that are unquestionably tougher to beat than the lowly Dolphins. So while Sunday’s game may not have technically been a “must win,” it was definitely pretty close to it.