It’s a good thing that style points don’t count in the NFL because we still might be watching the Jets and Dolphins if they did.
Nearly 69 minutes of this game were more than enough. Jets kicker Nick Folk won the game with a little more than six minutes to play in overtime with a 33-yard field goal that handed the Jets a 23-20 win that was as ugly as it was necessary for their chances of contending for anything positive this season. Fittingly, it ended with one last bit of business that left you slapping your palm with your head.
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin called the now de rigeur freeze the kicker time out — the Jets did it before Dan Carpenter missed a 48-yarder on the other end of the field in OT — just before Folk tried a kick. It backfired as the Dolphins blocked the first kick and Folk nailed the second one straight down the middle of the crossbars. With San Francisco, Houston and New England coming up in three of the next four games, the Jets needed to win this game so they get credit for doing that.
There wasn’t much else to like. Darrelle Revis‘ knee injury could be a disaster for the Jets defense and the offense was a mess for the second straight week after an encouraging opener against the Bills.
Mark Sanchez was 18-of-41 with two interceptions. Sanchez didn’t get a ton of help from his receivers or blockers, but he also overthrew a slew of wide open players on passes down the field before finally connecting with Santonio Holmes for 38 yards to set up Folk’s kick. Holmes had nine catches for 147 yards, his first 100-yard outing since November of 2010, but there were moments where it felt like Holmes was leaving plays on the field with sluggish effort coming off the line. That wasn’t the case with his big catch against Richard Marshall, so perhaps it was all a smokescreen.
We don’t actually think it was a smokescreen.
Miami wasn’t much better as they passed on a chance to win the game late in the fourth by choosing to have Ryan Tannehill overthrow his receivers in the end zone once Miami was already in field goal range. Even after Reggie Bush left the game, the Dolphins had success on the ground and they also had some success throwing to Anthony Fasano and Davone Bess on medium-range passes. This game might have worked out differently if Miami handled things differently and it certainly would have worked out differently if not for two turnovers at the start of the third quarter.
One was a LaRon Landry interception return for a touchdown and the other was a Daniel Thomas fumble that didn’t lead to points thanks to the second comical goal-line sequence of the game for the Jets ended with Sanchez’s second interception of the day. The Jets tried this and that with Tim Tebow over the course of the day, but the lasting image will be a Sanchez pass skittering off of Tebow’s helmet on one of the backup’s snaps as an eligible receiver on Sunday.
The Dolphins didn’t have as emblematic an image for their offense, but it was equally frustrating on Sunday. Carpenter missed two field goals, but there were plenty of other missed opportunities on the path to this loss for Miami. Tannehill was 16-of-36 passing, but they ran for 186 yards and converted a slew of third downs. That should have been enough to use to get more shots at touchdowns or at least a closer kick for the win in overtime.