Monday's game could have played out different without Darrelle Revis' 100-yard INT return for a touchdown. (AP)
That's not saying much -- the Dolphins, five games in, already have the appearance of a team ready for the season to end. Between Tony Sparano opting to run the clock out at the end of the first half, Matt Moore tossing high-arcing lobs from sideline to sideline and the defensive line giving Mark Sanchez a virtual day off, Miami looked more like a team that will challenge 0-16 than one capable of winning on the road on national TV.
Against a better and more motivated opponent, the Jets' effort might not fly. If not for a 100-yard Darrelle Revis interception return in the first half, who knows what would have happened.
Miami led 3-0 when Revis eased Brandon Marshall out of the way and picked Moore off in the end zone. A Mark Sanchez 5-yard TD run just before the half pushed the Jets' lead up to 14-6 and effectively ended Miami's hopes. Nothing that happened from then on could be considered inspiring.
Six weeks into the season and we're still waiting to see the Jets we expected. Where's the emotion? Where's the swagger?
At least New York's three-game losing skid is over, and maybe that will help restore some of the missing electricity. Quite frankly, Monday night's game was a snoozer, totally forgettable aside from Revis' big play and a Sanchez-to-Santonio Holmes TD pass.
A huge chunk of the night's slumber falls on Miami. But other than knowing that they're physically capable of winning a game again, what did the Jets bring to the table?
Sure, the defense stood up well against Moore -- who showed, pretty unequivocally why he was backing up Chad Henne -- but there's not much to be gained from that. The Jets also shut down Jacksonville in Week 2, but no one threw any parades then.
Against Dallas, Oakland, Baltimore and New England -- you know, the good teams on New York's schedule -- the D has allowed an average of 30.5 points per game.
So, until the Jets carry over Monday's shut-down effort to Week 7 against the Chargers, there's not much to be gained.
What the fans at the Meadowlands really wanted to see was a breakout performance from the offense. And it never materialized. The Jets rushed for a grand total of 104 yards (at least a third of those coming in the closing minutes) and Sanchez had issues all night, despite Miami's lack of a consistent pass rush.
The Jets simply have to be better if their season is going to go anywhere.
The good news is there's still time to kick into high gear. The bad news is that, aside from a Week 17 trip to Miami to play these same hapless Dolphins, New York's schedule is brutal. There's been no indication yet that Sanchez will magically flip the switch against the San Diegos and New Englands of the NFL.
The debate over the Jets' QB continues to intensify, with the home crowd booing the struggling New York offense after every Sanchez incompletion early on.
There's plenty of blame to go around, though, with a hefty portion reserved for Plaxico Burress, who continues to drop passes and fail to get open.
But an offensive savior is not walking through the door, especially after the Jets kicked out Derrick Mason. What's left is what has to work -- and it should, honestly, with Holmes, Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson and others. The offense ought to be better than it has been.
A night like Monday is more troubling than most, in that regard.
Greene had just 40 yards on the ground prior to New York's last, time-killing possession. Sanchez accounted for 89 of his 201 yards passing on just three completions.
You could argue that the Jets were just letting this one play out as it should, avoiding the big mistake that would've let Miami back into things. And there's something to be said for that argument -- the Dolphins' ineptitude no doubt encouraged the Jets' conservative approach.
On the other hand, New York had an opportunity here to really throw down the gauntlet. The Bears did it Sunday night, slamming on the gas early and often against a terrible Minnesota team.
New York, instead, left it in neutral.
On this night, against this downtrodden visiting team, that worked well enough. But it's not going to cut it if the Jets have any hope of putting their 2-3 start in the past and salvaging this season. Sooner or later, the Jets have to be better than they've been. We're all still waiting.