In a week of NFL action that was very unpredictable and had a few surprising results, it’s only fitting that we would get more of the same on Monday Night. The Chad Henne-led, wildcat running Miami Dolphins defeated the favored New York Jets in South Florida 31-27. Not only did they beat the Jets, but they dominated the Jets in the trenches, allowing Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Henne, and just about every key Dolphins player to get big yardage off of a now humbled Jets D.
Around this time last year the Patriots, with a backup QB of their own in Matt Cassel, went into New Jersey and beat the Jets. A year later, it’s the same story as Henne, in his second career start and fourth career game played, looked like the second-coming of Dan Marino on the field, going a shocking 20 of 26 for 241 yards and two TD’s, including a key 53-yard strike to Ted Ginn Jr. to make it 24-20 Miami with about 10 minutes to play in the 4th quarter.
What really made it possible for Henne to have that level of success, though, was the ability of the Miami offense to establish and execute the Wildcat offense throughout the course of the game. Ronnie Brown proved to be the star of the show, with 110 total yards and 2 TD’s and Ricky Williams continues to have a breakout start to the season, adding 138 total yards of offense.
The theme for the Wildcat this year has been unpredictability, and it continued last night as the Dolphins had two players in the passing category in Henne and Brown, five different players running the ball (Brown, Williams, Pat White, Lousaka Polite, and Patrick Cobbs), and nine different players with receptions (Williams, Ginn, Anthony Fasano, Greg Camarillo, Davone Bess, Joey Haynos, Brown, Brian Hartline, and Cobbs).
For the Jets, two major things can be pointed out in the loss. The first is to look at the major defensive categories. The Jets failed to force a turnover, get a sack, or even touch Chad Henne in the pocket last night. They had only four tackles for loss, and allowed the Dolphins to control possession for almost 34 minutes. The other issue that the Jets need to look at is their lack of success running the football.
Thomas Jones and Leon Washington combined for only 86 yards on the ground, with Jones adding two short rushing TD’s of one yard and three yards in the fourth quarter. In order for the Jets and Mark Sanchez to be successful this year, they must establish the run early in games to open things up for their weaker passing offense, regardless of who is on the field catching the ball.
That being said, one of the bright spots for the Jets was the performance of Braylon Edwards, who had five catches for 64 yards and a TD. However, with last night’s loss, the Jets fall back into a tie for first with New England at 3-2, while Miami jumps back into the picture at 2-3.