Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets: 9 Things We Learned from Miami's 6-24 Loss
Miami played an agonizingly sloppy game, and the Jets manhandled the Dolphins' overwhelmed offense and lethargic defense.
The Dolphins came flying out of the gate with visible energy and pep, but that intensity quickly faded, and the final score reflected their efforts.
Still winless, Miami must now head back home and prepare for Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. All hope may be lost, but there are still plenty of valuable lessons to be learned from the Dolphins' Week 6 loss.
Tony Sparano's Play-Calling Continues To Puzzle
In the wake of such widespread and rampant criticism, one would assume Tony Sparano would try to make adjustments and improve his coaching.
Instead, Sparano's play-calling and coaching decisions continue to puzzle
The 'Fins had a 3rd-and- early in the first quarter at New York's 41-yard line. Rather than pound the ball with Lex Hilliard or Daniel Thomas, Sparano called a pass play that resulted in an incompletion. The team proceeded to punt.
Moore should have completed the pass, and we all have 20-20 vision in hindsight, but why not at least go for that 4th-and-1? The Dolphins are winless, have nothing to lose and Hilliard is a great short-yardage back.
Later on, Miami got the ball back with 1:14. Rather than try to march down the field and trim the six-point deficit, the Dolphins simply ran the clock out. There's simply no excuse for such conservatism when you're 0-5.
Matt Moore Needs To Work on His Field Vision
We couldn't ask too much from Matt Moore tonight. He made only his 14th NFL start on Monday Night Football for a winless team matched up against an elite secondary.
Still, he made some inexcusable decisions with the football.
Most notably, Moore missed a wide-open Lex Hilliard on a 3rd-and-1 in the first quarter and later missed a wide-open Charles Clay in the end zone.
With Better Support from the Offense, Moore Could Win Some Games
Matt Moore is no superstar, and he is by no means the long-term quarterback the Dolphins are searching for, but he was pretty solid on Monday night.
Consider how many perfect passes Miami's wide receivers dropped and the no-call pass interference on Revis' interception return for a touchdown. Had the Dolphins' wide receivers held onto those passes and had the refs negated that interception, it's easy to envision a much closer game.
Plus, Miami's offensive line gradually broke down, and Moore was being hit on virtually every play towards the end of the game.
With some better support from his teammates, Moore could definitely keep the Dolphins competitive; however, this team's faithlessness will make that difficult.
Daniel Thomas Is a Punishing Runner; Reggie Bush Isn't the League's Worst Back
Last week, Reggie Bush was rated the league's worst running back. Perhaps, Bush saw that report because he came flying out of the gate, breaking off a 36-yard run and finishing the night with 10 carries for 71 yards.
However, Bush was once again neglected in the passing game, catching only two passes on three targets. Even though Tony Sparano failed to get Bush the ball in space, it was nice to see Bush respond to the critics with a solid performance.
Meanwhile, Daniel Thomas displayed some punishing power but failed to generate much. He finished the night a measly 15 carries for 47 yards but will get a chance to rebound against the Broncos.
Brandon Marshall Needs To Elevate His Play...Now
Even though he finished the night with six receptions for 109 yards, Brandon Marshall absolutely needs to elevate his game.
After six weeks, he leads the NFL in dropped passes.
Many of those drops have come at critical junctures, including a dropped touchdown early in the second quarter of Monday night's game.
Perhaps, poor quarterback play is partly to blame, but Marshall inked a $47 million contract last year, and his struggles are entirely inexcusable and concerning.
Somehow, Miami's Red-Zone Struggles Keep Getting Worse
Entering Monday night's contest, the Dolphins ranked 27th in the league in red-zone efficiency.
Miami proceeded to go 0-for-3 in the red zone against the Jets, lamenting their status as one of the most inefficient teams in the NFL.
This has been a recurring issue over the past few seasons, and Tony Sparano's failure to repair it is one of the many reasons he will soon be fired.
Kevin Burnett Is Making Progress but Is Still Struggling
This summer, the Dolphins signed linebacker Kevin Burnett to help alleviate the team's struggles with tight ends.
Burnett has failed to do so, and his struggles continued on Monday night.
Although he blanketed Keller early in the game, Burnett surrendered two receptions for a combined 51 yards to the Jets' tight end.
Burnett's struggles are troubling, and if they continue, he could rank as one of Jeff Ireland's worst signings.
Mike Nolan Absolutely Deserves To Be Fired after the Season
If Tony Sparano is fired midseason, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan makes for the only logical interim option. However, Nolan deserves to be fired just as much as Sparano does.
Despite coaching a defense seething with young talent, Nolan has failed to generate anything positive.
Most notably and depressingly, the Dolphins pass rush is absolutely dismal. Mark Sanchez had time for tea and crumpets while he sat in the pocket.
With players like Cam Wake, Jason Taylor, Koa Misi, Karlos Dansby and others on the roster, there is literally no excuse for the absence of a pass rush.
Expect Nolan to hit the unemployment line alongside Sparano by the end of this season.
Tony Sparano Got His Team Pumped Up for the Game; Hasn't Lost the Locker Room
Early in Monday night's game, the Miami Dolphins were playing inspired. There was a visible energy flowing through the offense and defense—defenders were flying to the ball, and the offense was seamlessly moving the ball on New York's defense.
Even Ron Jaworski made note of it.
It appears as though Tony Sparano managed to get the Dolphins pumped up for this game. That's a wildly impressive feat for a coach who everybody—including his players—knows will soon be fired.
Perhaps, contrary to popular sentiment, Tony Sparano has not lost the respect and attention of the Dolphins locker room.
Perhaps Sparano has the charisma and attitude to be a successful head coach, but his schemes are simply outdated and inefficient.
Either way, his days as Miami's general are numbered.