The Miami Dolphins outlasted the upstart New York Jets on Sunday, in a game that didn’t feature a lot of highlight reel material. If you like quarterback sacks, there were seven of them in this game; the Jets got to Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill four times and Miami dragged Sam Darnold to the turf three times, once each by Jordan Phillips, Robert Quinn and William Hayes.
The key to this game was that the Dolphin defense was able to dominate the Jets offense in the first half and force turnovers, in building a 20-0 lead. Miami then did just enough in the second half to hold off a New York rally, allowing just twelve points in the second half and in the game. Although Miami was held scoreless themselves in the second half, they had several long drives and frequently pinned the Jets deep in their own territory on the strength of an outstanding game by punter Matt Haack.
Rookie QB Sam Darnold came back to earth from his euphoric win at Detroit in week one, but showed again why he was the third overall pick in the draft last April. He repeatedly made big throws down the field and finished with 334 yards for an 8.1 average per attempt. If not for the sacks and the two interceptions he threw, this game would have been a lot closer. As a point of reference, Tannehill has thrown for over 300 yards only a handful of times in his six plus seasons. Ryan was the main reason the Dolphins won this game, however. He hung tough in the pocket, throwing his darts all over the field in the face of a furious Jets pass rush, and also had several big runs at critical times in the game to help put the game out of reach late.
This was a big win for a Dolphins team that has playoff aspirations, after being without their starting quarterback for much of the past two seasons. Perhaps best of all, Las Vegas lost money backing Miami’s opponent for the second straight week. The Dolphins also seemed to come out of this game relatively healthy, which bodes well for their game next week against the Raiders. I look for them to win that one, too, to go to 3-0 on the season. It’s an exciting time to be a Dolphin fan.