The 1-0 Miami Dolphins had a perfect game plan coming into MetLife Stadium to play the 1-0 New York Jets.
They basically dared Sam Darnold to beat them by taking away the run.
And in the first half, Miami did just that. Allowing only 17 rushing yards, the Dolphins were able to orce a couple of turnovers, which lead to scores in their eventual 20-12 win over the Jets.
“They did a good job upfront,” said coach Todd Bowles. “You have to give them credit. When you don’t have the run game, it makes everything harder. We have to be a more balanced team than that.”
This is what teams are going to do to Gang Green. They are now all-in on their Golden Boy, so he will need to carry them. If he makes the plays, the Jets will win and if he doesn’t, there will be more days like today.
And that’s fine for now, since Darnold is learning, but if he is truly the franchise quarterback the Jets have hoped for, he will eventually need to make opponents pay for this strategy. He needs to be sharper and more effective rolling out of the pocket, keeping the mistakes to a minimum.
“Every time you lose, I’ll look at it as a lesson,” Darnold said. “Watch the tape and grow from it. But it’s not a good feeling. You never want to be behind, but at the same time for a quarter, I thought we did a good job of fighting back.”
Here’s the good news, however. The Jets have a short week this week, so they can easily put this behind them. A good game against Cleveland, who still hasn’t won a game in almost two years, will get the Jets back on the right track.
You look at the plays you want back,” Darnold said. “But again, (on) a short week, we have a game on Thursday, and have to get back to it tonight. We’ll watch the tape but put this one behind us as soon as we can.”
You heard that today from most of the players, who are looking to move on from this loss. And give them credit, Miami is played a great game, but also made their mistakes and the Jets simply couldn’t capitalize. Next week they will need to do better in that category if they want to be considered contenders for a playoff spot.
Bowles has a platoon mentality when it comes to the Jets, as well. No matter who shined, it didn’t matter, they lost the game. “We didn’t win the game,” he said. “So, nobody played well.”
It’s that mentality which will make the Jets better in the long term.
So, chalk this one up to a learning experience. They lost to an opportunistic team, who had a good game plan. There’s still plenty of season left for the Jets, so they just need to put this one behind them.
And hopefully Darnold will become the quarterback he is supposed to blossom into.