The Dolphin’s 20-3 punishing of the New York Jets wasn’t a particularly entertaining game to watch. Of course, I love that the Dolphins won and improved their record to 7-4 and at the moment have climbed out of the “in the hunt” and are the 6th seed in the playoffs. Lot of football to be played, but it’s nice seeing the Dolphins in that position heading into week 13.
Still, yesterday’s contest wasn’t a display of what quality, high grade football is all about. I wouldn’t be taking a tape of this game, rocket it to Voyager so that if aliens find it hurtling through the cosmos they can check out what American football is.
Miami traveled to East Rutherford on a very nice late November day and, figuratively, ground and pounded the Jets into submission though they threw the ball most of the time. I know they ran it a few times, but you get the point.
All week, you, me, and many other Dolphin’s fans sort of had this confidence about the team getting this win, but like many Dolphin’s game you mentally hedged that confidence with the very real possibility that this team could drop this game. It’s a sad place to be mentally, but this franchise is the reason for constant uncertainty even during the good times.
All the uncertainty of who was going to be the quarterback was seemingly put to bed when the Dolphins listed Tua as doubtful and also bringing up Reid Sinnett to backup Ryan Fitzpatrick. They even showed footage of Tua throwing in the tunnel before the game to, really, see if he could go or not because doing that on the field would be out of line I guess.
https://t.co/ZAODRjAHjN pic.twitter.com/ZqasyEHIGW— josh houtz (@houtz) November 29, 2020
My first thought when I saw Tua throwing in the tunnel was that Brian Flores was going to pull off a masterful swerve and end up starting Tua. How awesome would that be? The answer would be very awesome. It didn’t happen and Fitzpatrick was the guy. Here’s what else I saw.
Miami deferred to the second half and the Jets put together the type of drive I thought I was going to see. It was the kind of drive that had multiple annoying elements to it. It had Frank Gore always going forward and getting 4-5 yards every handoff, Darnold, perplexingly, having more time to throw than he should especially with missing two starting linemen and receivers being wide open on crossers.
Another eye-rolling item that happened was when Gore caught a swing pass and James Lofton(I have a bunch on him throughout the game) said that a swing pass is essentially a running play. I know he isn’t the first to say that but let me just state for the record that there is no running play where there is a 13 yard toss where the ball is in front of the line of scrimmage.
All that happened and the Jets got down to the Dolphins 13 yard line with a 3rd and 3. Then a forgotten rookie made an impact play.
brandon jones with a sack on third and three. pic.twitter.com/lAtNXj3eOL— josh houtz (@houtz) November 29, 2020
Big time play holding the Jets to only three points. Brandon Jones doesn’t get talked about as much as other rookies for the Dolphins but he might be the most consistent of all of them. I’m not saying that he’s the best rookie they have. But from the first game where he had 10 tackles to yesterday’s performance, Jones has been the most reliable.
Miami’s first possession started splendidly with a false start by Robert Hunt. Maybe the guy was just excited to be out there.
James Lofton expresses his joy and curiosity with the movie Coming to America. He’s got some questions for Eddie Murphy.
Malcolm Perry catches a short pass and gets about three yards after the catch. That three yards might be the most YAC on one catch all year. Sadly, Perry was injured on the play.
Miami is faced with a 4th and two and have decided to go for it. I’m all for it. What I’m not all for is that they had 12 men on the field and now have to punt. Yep, that feeling of the Jets being in this game is real.
The Jets get the ball back and don’t do much with it. In fact, the Jets didn’t do to much the rest of the game. The Dolphin’s defense did the whole bend but don’t break thing. Sometimes you have to do that against teams that are inferior to you. You’re dealing with professionals that are fighting for contracts for next year meaning they have to keep playing.
You can, plainly, see that the Dolphin’s defensive line is getting nowhere on the Jets offensive line even though they’re missing two starters. It was one of the more frustrating things to witness all game. Miami only got pressure when they brought extra guys. When they didn’t, Darnold had all day to find guys and at times he did. Even with Christian Wilkins returning, the line didn’t do much. It gives me serious doubt that this team can win against the heavy hitters of the AFC when they know that the Dolphins need to bring pressure to get close to the QBs.
Hey Mike Gesicki made a catch. That was nice to see.
fitz to gesicki for 25 yards pic.twitter.com/VQh10t89ay— josh houtz (@houtz) November 29, 2020
Obviously, the most memorable catch Mike Gesicki made was this one...
Mike Gesicki with the TD pic.twitter.com/fWaebFnKBJ— Barstool Penn State (@PSUBarstool) November 29, 2020
Those were the only catches that Gesicki made but they were fun. I can’t say it enough but I wish Gesicki and all his ability was more of a focused focal point of the offense. That will never happen under Gailey, but it should.
The guy who had the best game out of the Dolphin’s skills guys was DeVante Parker. Parker had 8 catches for 119 yards, his best game in weeks.
fitz to parker again pic.twitter.com/WCwPBX60M9— josh houtz (@houtz) November 29, 2020
The rapport that Parker has Fitzpatrick is quite the contrast to one he has with Tua. That’s, probably, the #1 difference between Fitzpatrick and Tua besides fashion. Fitzpatrick gives his guys the chance to make plays where Tua is still in the college mindset of only throwing when guys are open. Guys like Parker and Gesicki are big guys who can jump. Even when there’s coverage all over them, they still have a decent chance to come down with the ball. It’s a mindset that can be learned but it’s one that Fitzpatrick already has.
Don’t tell James Lofton that Parker had a good day or is a good receiver. He would have you think that Parker has so much room to improve. Man alive, Lofton couldn’t find something positive to say about Parker even when he made plays.
Lets talk about the running game shall we? It was, once again, pretty putrid. No Ahmed and no Gaskin made it the Breida and Laird show. Finally, we get to see Breida as the main guy right? Nope. Not even close to that. Breida had eight uneventful carries that capped off by a fumble at a very bad time when the Dolphins were just trying to put the Jets away for good. I guess he really can’t be trusted thus why he doesn’t get the ball even though I want him to get it more.
Alright, lets go with Patrick Laird. He showed flashes last year. And he fumbles too. Fantastic stuff.
Okay, who is left. Oh, it’s DeAndre Washington. I guess we’ll go with him.
another one pic.twitter.com/POtbGbnrwF— josh houtz (@houtz) November 29, 2020
Washington was the guy Flores went to finish off the game. I guess that means he’s going to be more in the mix because he’s in Flores’ trust tree. Hopefully, Gaskin and Ahmed can come back this week. They, actually, really need them.
The Dolphin’s offensive line did what they, typically, do in the running game which is to say I wish they did better.
The more alarming visual was that Fitzpatrick had to have the ball out of his hand in 1.5 seconds every play. There was no play where Fitzpatrick could just get the snap, scan his reads for a few seconds and then throw the ball. Not a possibility because after 1.5 seconds there was a defender breaking lose right to him. It’s another reason Tua may not be out there. The line, for how much we praised it early in the season is just an average at best offensive line. Darnold has just as an accomplished offensive line out there and he had all day to scan through his progressions. Fitzpatrick had the opposite and it’s why we only mostly see slants and three yard outs with no possibility of YAC. And with the talent level at receiver for the Dolphins being so unproven, that’s a problem. It all starts upfront and it’s not swell upfront.
It was around 50 degrees in the middle of the game and it was then that James Lofton said that’s when the ball gets real slippery. It’s also said it’s why he dropped so many passes when he played. Yep, that was it.
Jason Sanders just doing his thing.
jason sanders 51-yard FG attempt ✅ pic.twitter.com/LRkjWPiVbs— josh houtz (@houtz) November 29, 2020
The Dolphins need to lock this guy up for the rest of his career and they need to do it yesterday. It’s so nice knowing that all Miami has to do is get to around the 35 and they have three points in the bank. Sanders might be the reason that this team makes the playoffs and I’m not exaggerating one bit.
Sam Darnold’s grandfather’s name was Dick Hammer and he was the Marlboro Man. This was, casually, mentioned during the game and somehow it wasn’t talked about for the entire game. Here is what he looked like. Looks exactly like a guy named Dick Hammer.
Holy shit. This is dick hammer #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/8YPi1Fepp7— LynchValentine (@LynchValentine) November 29, 2020
Outstanding job by the Jets to drive the field to close out the half only to miss a FG. Very Jets of them and it was the shot to the ribs that took much of their life out of them. I felt much better after that miss.
The sideline reporter said that Flores said that the Dolphins have to come out and establish the run is and was such a lie. Want to know how I know that? Because the Dolphins came out and threw the ball like 10 times in a row to open the 3rd quarter. Their first drive of the second half went for 52 seconds. Nice.
Jets get the ball and Byron Jones gives up a 30 yarder to Perriman. Jones has been solid but I would and need him to make some sort of impact play that stands out a little bit. The kind of play that says, “yep, I see why they want to pay him all that money.” I’m sure there are numbers out there that show he’s been a lockdown guy but it doesn’t feel like he’s a lockdown guy.
A guy that has been playing better is Nik Needham.
sam darnold to nik needham pic.twitter.com/FY6RvLLkUD— josh houtz (@houtz) November 29, 2020
Not sure what Darnold was thinking besides come on down Trevor Lawerence, but this pass and others were atrocious in the second half.
Needham’s INT makes it 17 straight games that the Dolphins have caused a turnover. It’s the longest streak in the league.
Xavien Howard, what can I say besides that you’re one of the best in the biz. You know this when you get Brian Baldinger gushing all over you.
.@MiamiDolphins @Iamxavienhoward had a shutdown afternoon v @nyjets wide receivers and came down with his 7th INT; tops in the #NFL pic.twitter.com/lGLokEiVgc— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) November 30, 2020
He now leads the NFL in INTs and has found himself sporting some other achievements that put him in the upper echelon of guys to ever do it.
Xavien Howard has 19 interceptions in 51 games (.37) which is one of the best interceptions per game rates in NFL history. Some greats: Charles Woodson (.26), Ronnie Lott (.33), Rod Woodson (.30), Darrell Green (.18), Deion Sanders (.28), Champ Bailey (.24). Darrell Revis (.20).— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) November 30, 2020
I don’t think he can win it due to the league and everyone fawning over anything Aaron Donald does, but the defensive player of the year is a conversation that Xavien Howard needs to be in.
Back to Lofton, on this near INT by Howard, James had the gall to say that this ball was placed in a good spot and that’s all he said about the play. He didn’t say anything about Howard almost picking it off or that the ball was in fact not put in the right spot. This guy is good at his job.
X almost made the pick. crowd erupts pic.twitter.com/GP4euwrGZh— josh houtz (@houtz) November 29, 2020
An underrated play of the game is Jesse Davis falling on the Fitzpatrick fumble. The game was going back and forth there with the Dolphins not, fully slamming the door and it was important that Miami not turn it over there.
The fumbles on back to back drives by Breida and Laird were awful and they, naturally, put the defense in tough spots.
The play of the game, off of the Laird fumble, was this play. The Jets have great field position and it’s 4th down. The score is 13-3 and the Jets are hanging around enough to make me a bit uncomfortable. The offense is stale and not sustaining anything. I don’t really want to see this offense try and have to keep the ball out of the Jets hands for a potentially go-ahead drive. Thank you Elandon Roberts.
elandon mf’n roberts pic.twitter.com/qkY8qkBvWZ— josh houtz (@houtz) November 29, 2020
We all knew Gase couldn’t resist the plunge up the middle with Gore and Roberts stuffed him. It was beautiful to see.
The run defense only gave up 87 yards. Was it annoying to see Gore get 74 yards? Yes it was. But the Dolphins bend but don’t break approach worked and when they needed to make a play and shut the Jets down, that’s what they did. They patted the Jets on their little heads and told them it was nice to play with them and then finished them off.
A few calls went the Dolphin’s way. The Parker catch that I’m rather sure wasn’t a catch was nice. They called it a catch on the field so I thought there was a chance they would leave well enough alone and they did. And the PI that Jakeem Grant drew in the 4th quarter was nice. I’ll take them. Makes up for the Byron Jones INT that wasn’t in the end zone against the Cardinals.
That pass interference led to the icing on the cake.
TE Adam Shaheen +6️⃣ points ! #MIAvsNYJ I #DolphinsFrance pic.twitter.com/GCPvP2H2eL— Miami Dolphins France (7-4) (@MiamiDolphinsFR) November 29, 2020
Shaheen is a very capable tight end and makes the right play when he gets asked to make it. All of Miami’s tight ends are like that.
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a good day. It wasn’t out of this world but it was well enough to beat this terrible Jets team. Could Tua of beaten this Jets’ team? Sure he could have. It would have looked different but he could have done it.
Fitz finished with 24/39 for 257 yards and two TDs and 0 INTs. That efficient. I thought he would be able to run it more, but the Jets were ready for it. What they weren’t ready for was this little number...
ryan fitzpatrick running the option pic.twitter.com/ViqaKXmGi2— josh houtz (@houtz) November 29, 2020
That’s just the Dolphins letting everyone know that when Fitzpatrick is in there that they could run the Saint’s offense at any moment. I hope the Bengals spend a lot of time this week on defense drawing up a defense to stop that.
I’m sorry to say that it’s going to get weird again this week about the Dolphin’s quarterback situation though Flores said this;
Flores on Tua: "If he's healthy, he's the guy. I don't know how many different ways I have to say it."— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) November 29, 2020
Flores, whether he likes it or not and I’m pretty sure he does not like it, is going to have to answer this again. You’d think that if Tua was doubtful and throwing in a tunnel before the game than a week’s worth of time would be enough for his thumb to feel better. But, I’m sure we’ll just get told that they’re monitoring it every day and taking it day by day. Not much else to say.
Things are going swimmingly for Adam Gase. He’s having a fun time, I’m sure.
apparently Adam Gase is from the Constanza school of “it’s not a lie if you believe it”pic.twitter.com/ouMSmx5sv9— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) November 29, 2020
The AFC playoff picture rolls on and the Dolphins are not currently in the hunt regardless of what Chris Simms thinks.
The Miami Dolphins are back in the playoffs based in the games that have been played so far today!!!#FinsUp pic.twitter.com/qDwNAfnleP— Big E (@ian693) November 29, 2020
The Raiders loss yesterday puts them at 6-5. We need Cleveland to somehow start losing but they have games against both New York teams left and the Colts have a game against the Raiders, two against the Texans and one with the Steelers. The Colts could be the team along with the Raiders that drop off the rest of the year. That be nice.
Miami hosts the Brandon Allen led Bengals on Sunday. The Dolphins are already favored by 10.5. They should win but if they play around with them and let them think they can win, then the Dolphins could lose. Simple as that. I expect them to win and then we’ll see where they stand with the Chiefs the following week. We have officially entered trap game week.
Have a great start to your week.
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