Five weeks ago, the Miami Dolphins let a home game they probably should have won against the New York Jets slip away in an overtime loss.
This time, on the road, the Dolphins (4-3) made sure they’d put the Jets (3-5) away early.
“To say I never saw this coming is an understatement. This one, no question, is a tough one to accept,” said Jets head coach Rex Ryan, who was perplexed that his team could perform so poorly in a 30-9 loss to Miami at MetLife Stadium on Sunday after having found a way to pull out a close win against the Dolphins on September 23rd.
Although Miami lost starting rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill (2-for-5, 18 yards, one sack) early in the game to a left knee and quadriceps injury, and was outgained by New York 363-236, backup Matt Moore (11-for-19, 131 yards, one touchdown, one sack) and the rest of the Dolphins coasted to an easy win after building a 20-0 lead by halftime.
Taking the opening kickoff, Miami went 63 yards on nine plays for a 33-yard field goal by kicker Dan Carpenter to take a 3-0 lead almost four minutes into the game.
The Dolphins then surprised the Jets by recovering an onside kick, but were forced to punt.
After the teams then traded two more punts, cornerback Jimmy Wilson sacked quarterback Mark Sanchez (28-for-54, 283 yards, one touchdown, one interception, four sacks) on a corner blitz. One play later, Wilson ended the longest active streak in the NFL for a team being able to avoid a blocked punt.
New York had punted 439 consecutive times since 1984 without having a punt blocked, until Wilson blocked a punt by Robert Malone. The ball bounced once and into the arms of defensive end Olivier Vernon in the end zone for the game’s first touchdown, to extend Miami’s lead to 10-0 with 3:59 left in the opening quarter.
Three plays later, Sanchez was sacked again, and fumbled at his own 37-yard line.
Miami quickly cashed that opportunity in, as running back Daniel Thomas scored on a three-yard touchdown run to push the Dolphins’ advantage to 17-0 less than a minute into the second period.
A little more than seven minutes later, a Carpenter field goal from 39 yards out increased Miami’s lead to 20-0.
Meanwhile, the Jets’ offense, which had four punts, the blocked punt and fumble in its first six possessions, while gaining no more than ten yards on any one of those trips, finally went 70 yards on nine plays during its final drive of the first half, but Vernon blocked a 35-yard field goal by kicker Nick Folk just before halftime.
Folk finally got the Jets on the board with a 38-yard field goal on New York’s first possession of the second half, but a 57-yard kickoff return and a 30-yard completion by Moore set up a four-yard touchdown pass from Moore to tight end Anthony Fassano, to grow the Dolphins’ lead back to a commanding 27-3 with 8:46 to go in the third quarter.
Sanchez directed a long, 13-play, 94-yard touchdown drive to get New York to within 27-9, but that wasn’t until the final period, and the Jets failed on an ensuing two-point conversion attempt and while trying to recover an onside kick.
That led to a short drive for the game’s final points on a 42-yard field goal by Carpenter with 4½ minutes left in the game.
And, just like that, the Jets, who had first place in the AFC East there for the taking late in a road game at New England only a week ago, find themselves in last place, a half-game behind third-place Buffalo.
New York’s bye week next week, seems to be coming at a good time, with Jets needing to figure a lot after losing two straight games and four of their past five. New York will be back in action in Seattle on Sunday, November 11th, at 4:05 pm ET.