After watching an exciting game that, that seems to be a regular occurrence when the Phins and Jets meet on Monday night, I thought I'd highlight the 5 reasons we were able to pull out the victory. As well as highlight the 5 reasons why we should have lost the game.
Why We Won.....
1. Offensive Line: Our offensive line really stepped up in last night's game, and started showing why they were worth every penny we spent on them. They continually opened holes in the running game, and gave Henne the time in the pocket to find the open receiver. Rex Ryan is known for throwing everything but the kitchen sink at opposing offenses with his exotic blitz packages, and our OL did a tremendous job picking those blitzes up. They were the real key that allowed Henne to become comfortable in the pocket and go through his reads at his own pace.
2. Chad Henne: Have we found the next Marino? I'm not ready to annoint him the second coming yet, but if he continues to progress like he has so far, for the rest of the season......I just might start to think about it. Early in the game, I was starting to worry CP10 might have had too much influence on our young QB after he continually check downed to RBs and TEs too quickly. But after watching the game again, I realized he was still uncomfortable staying in the pocket. As the game progressed, you could see his confidence grow, as he stayed in the pocket longer and allowed his receivers to run their routes. The result, a 53 yd perfect pass to Ted Ginn in stride for a TD. He later showed that cannon for an arm with absolute bullets to Camarillo and Fasano, not to mention a little finesse with that beautiful 3rd down toss to Camarillo on the game winning drive.
3. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams: Once again these guys showed why they are the best RB tandem in th NFL this season. Time and time again they had their way with a very suspect Jets run defense. With the continued development of Henne, and the offensive line finally starting to gel. I wouldn't be suprised to see them both eclipse 1000 yards this season.
4. Lousaka Polite: This guy really doesn't get the credit he deserves for not only his success rate in short yardage situations, but the vicious blocks he delivers to help open up the running game. While he did have that badly missed block on a DB, that would have sprung Ricky for a long run. He did provide many other key blocks, as well as a bone rattling hit on Jets LB Bart Scott.
5. Dan Henning: He did a great job in creating a perfect mix of base formation and wildact plays to effectively cause confusion for the Jets defenders. I also give him huge props for that huge 3rd down shifting line play that not only set up the game winning TD, but completely negated the overload blitz from the Jets. I also like how he finally used Pat White the way he should be used, spread formation (or close to it), and give him the option to throw or run.
Why We Shouldn't Have Won.....
1. DBs and Safeties: They played an absolutely horrible game last night. You simply can't win games giving up a 3rd and 21. Luckily for us, the Jets do not have a good TE, so that glaring weakness of ours was not exploited. But the lapses in coverage were not entirely the secondaries fault. Which leads me to number....
2. DL and LBs: 3 words.....Learn to TACKLE!!! We had way too many missed tackles at the line of scrimmage resulting in 5-10 yd runs, not to mention two fake punts!!! They have got to do a better job filling the holes and hitting the gaps. They took a step back last night from what was one of our strongest points. Let's hope it was just a bad game, and they bounce back. Although I'm pretty sure there will be lots of tackling drills the next two weeks to keep it fresh in their minds. I'm also disappointed in the lack of pressure we got on Mark Sanchez, but that leads me to number....
3. Paul Pasqualoni: I hate to say it, but this guy could learm a thing or two from Rex Ryan about how to effectively blitz a QB. Throughout almost the entire game, he stuck with rushing only 4 players as he has done the whole season. Surely getting 6 sacks against a horrible Bills team didn't justify his methods. We simply aren't getting enough pressure on the QB by rushing 4 players. It wasn't until he started rushing 5 or 6 that we finally started getting Sanchez to throw the ball before he wanted to. Where was Cameron Wake? The guy gets 3 sacks and gets promoted to punt rusher? We have the talent to get after the QB, but we can't rely on that talent alone. I also think he should change the way the DBs man up. If we're playing a big receiver, like Edwards, I'd like to see Sean Smith covering him all game. It makes throwing those jump balls that much harder.
4. Special Teams: This is hands down the weakest part of the team. While our coverage is getting better, our return teams have only gotten worse. With the possible loss of Cobbs for the season, I really truly believe the Dolphins should be scouring the FA market for a decent return man. We can't keep expecting our offense to have to go 80+ yards every time they get the ball.
5. Dan Henning: Yes, I know I listed him as one of the reasons why we won, but he also is one of the reasons why we should have lost. As the season progresses I'm becoming more and more certain that Dan Henning has no idea how to run an effective two minute drill. You do not make major subtitutions while running a hurry up offense. You don't throw a rookie QB off the bench, sitting your hot handed starter during the hurry up offense. Yes, they worked this time, barely. Scoring with 6 seconds to play, and still having one timeout is not a recipe for continued success.
Thankfully, just enough went our way and we left with a win going into our bye week. We're only a game back in the AFC East, with a 2-0 Divisional record. We got a big test ahead against NO, our defense has two weeks to get prepared, they'll need it.