Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Miami

Thomas Galicia@thomasgaliciaContributor IIOctober 28, 2012

Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Miami

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    The Miami Dolphins have defeated the New York Jets 30-9 in the Meadowlands.

    Miami moves their record to 4-3, which would get them into the playoffs if the season were to end today. They also move to 1-1 in the division with four divisional games left against Buffalo and New England.

    The Jets are now 3-5 going into their bye week, and will face plenty of questions during their week off.

    Here's a look at how the Dolphins were able to dominate the Jets on the road as they picked up a big divisional victory.

Offense — A

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    Overall Game Grade A

    Miami’s offensive game plan was a bit conservative, but that’s likely due to Ryan Tannehill’s injury. As a team they were able to run for 97 yards, as both Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas were great.

    It wasn’t a prolific day, but it was a great one, where the Dolphins offense did what they needed to do to take home the victory.

    Fourth Quarter — A

    Grind out the clock, protect the ball. That’s the goal of the Dolphins offense in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins offense did just that, and even tacked on a cheap three-points to stretch the lead to 30-9

    Third Quarter B

    Marcus Thigpen set up Miami’s offense with great field position on his kickoff return. Three plays later, Jabar Gaffney would record his first catch in a Miami Dolphins uniform off of a 30-yard pass from Matt Moore to bring the Dolphins to the Jets’ 10-yard line. This would lead to a Matt Moore-to-Anthony Fasano three-yard touchdown pass.

    The next drive would start off with a heavy dose of Reggie Bush, but seemed to stall after two passes from Moore. However a Jets penalty would set Miami up to continue their drive, but this time starting from their own 45-yard line. But Miami would follow that up with two penalties on the next play (a great Daniel Thomas run) which backed the Dolphins up to their own 32.

    The next play would be a Reggie Bush fumble recovered by former Dolphin Yeremiah Bell.

    The Reggie fumble wouldn’t hurt too much as Miami would get the ball back after a Chris Clemons interception. On this drive Miami would gain five yards, but little more. Moore threw a great pass to Jabar Gaffney, however Gaffney dropped what looked like a sure touchdown.  

    Second Quarter B

    Miami’s first drive of the second quarter was a continuation of a first quarter drive that came courtesy of a Mark Sanchez turnover. After a failed run into the end zone, followed by a controversial incompletion call, Daniel Thomas was able to punch it in for Miami on third-and-goal, giving Miami a 17-0 lead.

    With Matt Moore under center, the Dolphins offense has gotten sharper as the game has gone on. The Dolphins could go without the tipped pass on third-and-one in their second possession of the quarter.

    The next drive would net a field goal, thanks in part to a 37-yard pass from Matt Moore to Marlon Moore, putting Miami up 20-0.

    Miami would go three-and-out on their next offensive drive, but blame the officials for the stop, as they claimed that Antonio Cromartie stopped Davone Bess’ forward progress on a third-and-one, Bess was able to get out of the grasp as the official jumped the gun on the call.

    First Quarter — B-

    Miami went to Reggie Bush early on the initial drive, and he delivered, running for 25 yards in his four attempts along with one catch for six yards. On the next drive Miami only went to Bush once, but he managed to gain five more yards on that drive.

    As for the passing game, it was barely used in the beginning, and with Tannehill’s injury, Miami would only attempt one pass on their third possession, a terribly thrown pass from Matt Moore to Marlon Moore that still should’ve drawn a penalty (but didn’t).

    However Miami would get the ball back once again and are now knocking at the door of the Jets' end zone.

Ryan Tannehill/Matt Moore — A

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    Overall Game Grade A

    It’s tough for a quarterback to go into the game cold, but in doing just that, Moore was fantastic, going 11-of-19 for 131 yards and a touchdown while settling down the Dolphins offense.

    It wasn’t prolific, but it didn’t have to be. Moore just had to be efficient and bring Miami the victory, and in that case, mission accomplished.

    As for Tannehill, it did look like he will be healthy enough for next week’s game against Indianapolis, but there should be no reason for Miami to rush him back if he’s not ready. Miami finds themselves with riches at the quarterback position (and depth), and can not afford to lose their future rushing him back. Get well soon Ryan Tannehill.

    Fourth Quarter — A

    Matt Moore’s only job in the fourth quarter was to protect the ball and the lead while grinding down the clock. A score would be nice, but not required.

    Moore not only accomplished all of his goals, but thanks to a great (insert number) pass to Davone Bess, was able to set up a Dan Carpenter 42-yard field goal, which brought the lead up to 30-9, securing a victory for the Dolphins.

    Third Quarter B

    Moore continued doing his best Don Strock impression in the third quarter, leading the Dolphins to a touchdown on their first drive thanks to two great passes to Jabar Gaffney (which went for 37-yards) and Anthony Fasano (the touchdown pass).

    Moore’s next drive would look decent, up until two penalties sunk the Dolphins, leading to a Reggie Bush fumble. They would get the ball back, and Moore would throw another beautiful pass to Jabar Gaffney which if completed would be a touchdown for Miami. However Gaffney would drop the pass, forcing Miami to punt.

    Second Quarter B

    Moore would remain Miami’s quarterback as Tannehill continues to be tended to on the sidelines for injuries on his quad and knee. Tannehill remains questionable to come back, but with the way the Dolphins defense and special teams are playing, it wouldn’t be wise for the Dolphins to rush him back into the game.

    Moore has been decent thus far save for a tipped pass on Miami’s second possession of the quarter. On the next drive on a key third-and-four, Moore would find Marlon Moore for a beautiful 37-yard pass, leading to a Dan Carpenter field goal and a 20-0 Dolphins lead.

    Moore would get hurt by a bad call on the next drive, so you can’t really hold that three-and-out against him. Overall he’s done well filling in for Tannehill this afternoon.   

    First Quarter — B-

    Miami chose to play it conservatively on their first two drives, which is why Tannehill only went two-for-five for 18 yards. Tannehill appeared to injure his left leg on a sack by Calvin Pace, which is something we will have to keep an eye on all afternoon.

    Matt Moore came in for Tannehill on Miami’s third drive, and threw a horrible pass to Marlon Moore. The play itself should’ve been a penalty and even had the official take out the flag to throw it, however he put it back in his pocket. Very questionable decision either way.

    Miami is currently driving and thanks to two great passes from Matt Moore to Davone Bess and Brian Hartline, are knocking at the door of the Jets' end zone.

Running Backs

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    Reggie Bush — B+

    Bush and Thomas split carries this afternoon, and for the most part both were effective. Bush had a better overall rushing average, gaining 59 yards on 14 attempts for a 4.2 yards per carry average. It wasn’t spectacular, but Bush did give Miami some good runs, especially a 19-yard run in the second quarter that helped set up their first touchdown of the game.

    Daniel Thomas — B+

    Daniel Thomas is supposed to be Miami’s bruising back, and he did just that, gaining 42 yards on 15 carries. The average isn’t great, but he did score a touchdown for Miami, and fought for every last inch on that touchdown run. Despite the numbers from both, no complaints about the Dolphins rushing attack.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

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    Brian Hartline — A

    Hartline was targeted six times, grabbing four catches for 41 yards. He wasn’t Miami’s main target this afternoon, but he did come up big when needed, averaging 10.3 yards per catch.

    Davone Bess — B

    Bess was Matt Moore’s main target this afternoon, getting targeted nine times. He wound up with four catches for 28 yards, and with a key catch in the fourth quarter set up a Dan Carpenter 42-yard field goal.

    Jabar Gaffney — B

    Gaffney’s debut with Miami led to one great catch that gained 30 yards, and a drop that would’ve gone for a touchdown had he been able to wrap his arms around it (the ball was perfectly thrown). Despite the drop, I’ll give Gaffney a B for integrating himself into the Dolphins offense, with an eye towards what he can bring in the future.

    Anthony Fasano — A

    Anthony Fasano’s one catch this afternoon only went for four yards, but led to a touchdown and an A for his performance. What made the catch great was his ability to stay in bounds while controlling the ball, which got Miami the touchdown.

Offensive Line

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    Jake Long — A

    Moore’s blind side was kept very clean throughout the afternoon, a testament to Long’s play. He looked like himself this afternoon, which is a great sign.

    Richie Incognito — A

    Incognito did a great job blocking for the run, and even better protecting the pass. Moore did have to restrain Incognito after a Jets’ roughing the passer penalty caused Incognito to go up to the Jets bench (which would’ve been a disaster), but other than that and the ensuing holding penalty on Incognito (which was offset by a Jonathan Martin clipping penalty), a fine day.

    Bonus points for Incognito blowing kisses towards the Jets sidelines and fans after a fracas in the fourth quarter between both teams. While I normally abhor such behavior, it’s alright when your team is already ahead 27-9 (about to be 30-9 on the next play) and the losing team continues to run their mouths.

    Mike Pouncey — A +

    Is Mike Pouncey the best center in the NFL? From the looks of how this season has gone, yes. In a situation where you’re bringing in a new quarterback, the center is even more important, and Pouncey delivered.

    John Jerry — A

    I didn’t hear John Jerry’s name called all day, so I guess it was a great game for him. He was able to open up some holes for the Dolphins running game, and his only real mistake was a Matt Moore sack.

    Jonathan Martin — B

    Dang Jonathan Martin, we were going for straight A’s with this unit, then you go and allow the Tannehill sack that knocked him out of the game, then a clipping penalty on what would’ve been a very good Daniel Thomas run in the third quarter. Martin wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t great either. Still some work to be done.

Defense — A+

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    Overall Game Grade — A+

    Garbage-time scoring aside, the Dolphins defense was beyond dominant this afternoon. Sanchez was under pressure a lot on the day, which led to two Sanchez turnovers and four sacks. Miami’s defense had to come up big in this game, and did just that.

    Fourth Quarter — B

    The Jets offense finally got off some push against this Dolphins defense in their first drive of the quarter, however it should be noted that Miami’s defense seems to have gone into more of a prevent mode, not rushing Sanchez and making him uneasy in the pocket in the same way that they did in the first three quarters.

    Despite this, Kevin Burnett was able to get a sack on Sanchez in the Jets’ first drive, forcing a pivotal third-and-seven. This would lead to a Sanchez incompletion, and the Jets facing fourth-and-seven. The Jets did convert on that play however.

    This would lead to a Mark Sanchez touchdown pass, cutting the lead to 18-points. Bad job on the defense this drive; as they veered too far from the defensive game plan that allowed them to dominate the Jets for the first three quarters of the game.

    The Dolphins did go back to this game plan for the two-point conversion, which led to the Jets failing to convert.

    The Jets would get the ball again after Miami tacked on a field goal to make it 30-9. This time around the Dolphins defense was a lot sharper, despite continuing to play in the prevent mode. However bad penalties by the Dolphins gave the Jets more yards than they should’ve, but at the end of a blowout like this, it’s points that matter, and not yards, and even the Jets doing well in garbage time can’t take away from the tone this defense set in the first three quarters of the game.  

    Third Quarter A+

    The Jets offense started the third quarter with great field position, then decided to use their run game to start the quarter off.  Miami would have difficulty against the Jets running game, which would lead to an open Dustin Keller catching a (insert number) yard pass from Mark Sanchez.

    It would only lead to a field goal though, as the Dolphins did a great job once the Jets were within striking distance.

    On the next possession, the Jets would get a 35-yard run from Shone Green, setting them up at midfield. However the possession would end with an incomplete pass and a tipped pass from Sanchez, forcing the Jets to punt once again.

    The Jets offense would be beneficiaries of Miami’s first turnover of the game, putting the Dolphins defense in a precarious spot. However this drive would end with a Chris Clemons interception, thus stifling any momentum the Jets looked like they had gained.

    The Jets would get another third quarter possession, and the Dolphins would force the Jets into a fourth-and-one situation. The Jets would convert the fourth down, but would still be forced to punt.

    Second Quarter — A+

    Another defensive possession for Miami, another three-and-out for the Jets offense. You can tell the Dolphins defense is doing a great job, as the crowd in The Meadowlands has officially turned on Mark Sanchez (a weekly occurrence as of late but still an accomplishment).

    The Jets would gain two yards on their second possession thanks to Tim Tebow, but once they put Sanchez back in at quarterback, the Jets would go three-and-out once again.  

    The third Jets possession would again go three-and-out, thanks to a Cameron Wake sack. There’s not much to say about the Dolphins defense because they have just been that good.

    The Jets' offense would put together a good drive to end the second quarter, however the Dolphins defense still held the Jets to a 35-yard field goal attempt, which would be blocked by Olivier Vernon, punctuating with some Gangham style dance moves.

    First Quarter — A+

    The first quarter saw an impressive performance by the Dolphins defense, with only one play that went wrong (a 13 yard pass to Dustin Keller). Overall the Dolphins held the Jets to 25 yards in three series, and even helped to set up a blocked punt that gave Miami a 10-0 lead.

    The Dolphins defense would get the ball back from the Jets one more time, forcing a Mark Sanchez turnover at the end of the first quarter. Quite a first quarter for the defensive unit.

Defensive Line

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    Cameron Wake — A+

    Paul Soliai — A+

    Randy Starks — A+

    Jared Odrick — A+

    Tony McDaniel — A+

    Yes, I'm posting the grades prior to the explanation, but that's what happens when the entire unit steps up and plays with so much excellence. Tony McDaniel was superb while Starks was getting an injury looked at, but then had to miss the rest of the game with an injury of his own.

    As a whole, they were outstanding, and while the line only produced one of Miami's four sacks during the afternoon, the pressure was huge on Sanchez all day, forcing bad throws, and now allowing the Jets offense to move (aside from garbage time).

    Oh and if you're asking about Olivier Vernon, we will get to him.


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    Kevin Burnett — A+

    Six tackles, a sack, and a pass deflection. Tremendous game and tremendous effort from Kevin Burnett, who was one of the defensive MVPs of the afternoon.

    Koa Misi — A

    You didn’t hear his name often, but Misi did get four tackles and a pass deflection. Good enough for an A as he was still an important part of a great defensive effort.

    Karlos Dansby — A+

    Considering how hurt he was playing (the elbow injury seemed worse than it was reported), Dansby was great in this game, recording eight tackles and a pass deflection.


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    Sean Smith — A

    Smith was on the spot all game, saving a touchdown at the end of the first half. For the whole game he shut down the Jets’ receivers he was assigned to, getting praise from the announcers during the game.

    Nolan Carroll — A

    I’m starting to believe this 2012 stuff after seeing Nolan Carroll put together three consecutive good games. He had eight tackles, a sack, and a pass deflection. If this is the Nolan Carroll we should expect for the rest of the season, I’ll take back every negative thing I’ve written about him in the last two years.

    Jimmy Wilson — A

    Wilson’s blocked punt led to one of Miami’s touchdowns, and on top of that he also had a pass deflection, two tackles and one sack.

    Reshad Jones — A

    Jones saved a touchdown on a 35-yard Shone Green run, as later on in the drive New York was forced to punt. That was the cherry on top of a six tackle and a pass deflection afternoon.

    Chris Clemons — A

    Any time you can get an interception which ends any hope the opposing team might have in the end zone, you deserve an A. The nine tackles and a pass deflection make the afternoon even better.

Special Teams — A+

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    Overall Game Grade A+

    When your kicker is perfect despite wind conditions that say he shouldn’t be, your punter averaged 53.3 yards per punt, your return man was able to return a kickoff 57-yards, and you have a blocked punt (which led to a touchdown) and blocked field goal, there’s only one grade for you to get.

    Of course it’s an A+, what else would it be? The Dolphins special teams this afternoon lived up to the name in every facet of the game. Kudos to special teams coach Darren Rizzi for his game plan.

    Oh, and I even left off the surprise onside kick. I wish there was a higher grade than A+ right now.

    Fourth Quarter A+

    What do we get for our first special teams play of the fourth quarter? How about a 58-yard punt that backs the Jets up all the way to their six-yard line.

    New York would attempt an onside kick after scoring a touchdown to cut the lead down to 27-9, but Brian Hartline was there to catch the kick in midair, securing the ball for Miami.

    Dan Carpenter would come on to kick a 42-yard field goal, which he converted to seal the game for Miami.

    Third Quarter A+

    It’s a wash when the Dolphins kickoff coverage team allows former Dolphin Clyde Gates to scamper up the field for 47-yards (setting up a Nick Folk field goal), followed by a Marcus Thigpen 57-yard kickoff return that set up a Moore-to-Fasano touchdown pass. It could be better, but it could’ve been a lot worse.

    Brandon Fields would add another spectacular punt later in the quarter, backing the Jets all the way back to their own 10-yard line. This unit has been dominant all afternoon.  

    Second Quarter — A+

    Just one inch on Brandon Fields’ punt gave the Jets the ball at the 20 on Miami’s first punt of the second quarter instead of the one yard line. Just one inch.

    The cruelty that is this game of inches can be maddening at times, but doesn’t take away from this great performance from Miami’s special teams unit.

    Carpenter again was able to split the uprights despite the swirling winds to hit a 39-yard field goal, making it 20-0 Dolphins.

    Olivier Vernon would again make a huge play, blocking a 35-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter, then punctuating it Gangham style.

    First Quarter A+

    Dan Carpenter’s 32 yard field goal in those swirling winds was a great sign, but the better play came right after with his onside kick. It’s a shame that the offense couldn’t capitalize on the good field position, and that Field’s punt couldn’t be fielded well by Marlon Moore, because that onside would’ve worked out well for the Dolphins even with the three-and-out result if Moore didn’t trip over his own feet.

    Fields would have one more punt that went 55 yards and backed the Jets up to their own 10-yard line.  

    The special teams for the Dolphins would continue their best quarter of the last 10 years with a blocked punt by Jimmy Wilson, which would bounce to Olivier Vernon who was able to waltz in for a touchdown.

Olivier Vernon — A+

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    Olivier Vernon was single-handedly responsible for a 10-point swing.

    First he was right on the spot in the blocked punt by Jimmy Wilson to score a touchdown for the Dolphins. Then at the end of the first half, he blocked a Nick Folk field goal, to ensure that the Jets would be scoreless going into halftime.

    Vernon followed up his best game of his young career with his second best game, and showed more potential of what could be.

    Excellent game Mr. Vernon, you even got your own slide out of it.

Coaching — A+

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    Overall Game Grade A+

    Despite the Ryan Tannehill injury detour, we saw a flawless game plan from the Dolphins coaching staff. The defense was on point throughout the game, and seeing the Dolphins dominate the Jets on special teams (usually a strong suit for the Jets) was a pleasant surprise.

    On offense the Dolphins did just enough to win the ballgame, in what was a thoroughly great game. Overall, this is the best coached game from the Dolphins coaching staff, and hopefully a harbinger of things to come.

    Fourth Quarter A

    I’m not a big fan of how conservative the Dolphins defense got during New York’s first possession of the quarter. They allowed Sanchez far too much time in the pocket, allowing him to pick through the defense to get to the open receivers.

    Despite that, no other fourth quarter complaints for the coaching staff.

    Third Quarter — A

    Save for a Jets field goal, Miami has continued to dominate the Jets in the third quarter. Just one more quarter of great play from all sides of the ball, and Miami leaves with the victory.

    Second Quarter — A+

    Miami had to see Ryan Tannehill injure his right leg (quad and knee, he’s listed as questionable) but despite that, this team has come together to continue to play well in the first half. The offense has been a bit conservative yet effective, while the defense has been great when playing their game (not counting the yards New York gained in their last drive).

    Overall, quite a first half for the Dolphins, setting the tone they wanted to set in this game.

    First Quarter — A+

    Catching the Jets offguard with an onside kick was brilliant, as was the rest of the first quarter. I can't even complain about the Dolphins offensive production, as Tannehill was knocked out early in the first quarter but looked decent on their first drive.