Three quick thoughts from Jets 20, Dolphins 6...
1. This game was ugly—beyond ugly. The two teams combined for 18 penalties, totaling 145 yards. There were three turnovers, including a hilariously bad Dolphins fake punt in the third quarter that was thrown directly to Jets safety Terrence Brooks. The most exciting play was when Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard Jets receiver kicked Jermaine Kearse when he was down on the turf, and somehow no flag was thrown. It was also fun when New York defensive end Lawrence Thomas lined up at fullback, which he did on multiple occasions, one time even catching a 15 yard pass. The slow-motion shots of Adam Gase’s reactions on sidelines were also entertaining, especially at one point in the second half when his defense was flagged for an illegal formation on a field goal attempt, giving New York an automatic first down. Despite being up by 20 points, Jets fans began heading to the exits at the start of the fourth quarter, and only a smattering remained to watch the team earn their first victory this year. It seemed that many were rooting for the team to tank.
2. Despite how ugly the game was, the Jets defense was actually quite impressive. The unit came into the game allowing 33 points per game and 185 rushing yards per game, which both ranked dead last in the NFL. They had given up 409 total yards per game, 30th in the league. But against the Dolphins today they resembled the unit that head coach Todd Bowles wants them to be: fast, aggressive and stifling. They held Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi to 16 yards on 11 carries, a 1.5 yard average. (For context, Ajayi had rushed for 122 yards in the Dolphins first game of the season against the Chargers.)
Despite a boneheaded taunting penalty late in the game, rookie first round pick Jamal Adams looked like the player with boundless potential that everyone deemed him to be coming out of LSU. One sequence with about three minutes left in the second quarter encapsulated his tremendous game: On second-and-eight, he broke up a deep pass to Devante Parker, showing great coverage ability and instincts. He followed that play up by sacking Jay Cutler on third down, showing his explosive abilities as a pass rusher. I feel confident in declaring that the Jets got a stud in Adams.
3. And that brings us to Jay Cutler’s offense, which was downright abysmal. We were told that the Dolphins brought Cutler out of retirement because he knows Adam Gase’s offensive system. He could have fooled me on Sunday. Cutler, who looked frazzled throughout the game, finished with 220 yards passing on 26 of 44 passing, with one touchdown and one interception. But that stat line does not do justice to how futile he and Miami’s offense was today, as most of those stats came in garbage time when the outcome was already decided (after three quarters, Cutler had only 75 yards passing). More than once he had to call a timeout at the line of scrimmage to avoid a delay of game penalty as the team struggled with either play calls or timing. He missed wide-open receivers high and he missed them low and he missed them wide. He was constantly throwing off his back foot and across his body, even when there wasn’t a collapsing pocket.
The story of Jay Cutler’s career has been that some days you get good Jay Cutler and some days you get bad Jay Cutler. Today was very, very bad Jay Cutler, and the Dolphins will not be able to win any games when that Jay Cutler shows up.