The Jets are 2-1 and in a three way tie for the AFC East lead after scoring a 31-23 victory over the archrival Dolphins tonight in Miami. Gang Green has sent an early message to the rest of the division. This team owns head to head wins over the other two competitors. Banking those early could be important late in the year if tiebreakers are needed with these talented squads.
More after the jump.
Mark Sanchez: I will start with the quarterback. He was excellent for a second straight game. Mark finished 15 for 28 for 256 yards and a second consecutive 3 touchdown game. Jets fans had to love what they saw from him. He was making good decisions with the football. He was going through his progressions. He made some clutch throws when the team needed him to do so. There were a couple of big mistakes that Miami just missed taking advantage of, but winning a tight divisional game requires a bit of luck. Imagine I told you that 3 games into the year Sanchez would have 6 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. There's still a long way to go, but those preseason games where he didn't look good feel like a long time ago. Don't they?
Dustin Keller: Keller was shut out in the second half, but he was a key factor in the Jets jumping out to an early lead. He finished with 6 catches for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Jets knew they could create mismatches with Keller's athleticism. To Sanchez's credit, he looked to exploit them. The sky is the limit for somebody with Dustin's physical ability. It looks like he might be putting it all together. He's running very crisp routes. He also threw some key blocks in the run game, which has not been his forte at all. Is he turning a corner there?
Braylon Edwards: We can talk all we want about whether Braylon should have played. I have been vocal that I do not think he should have. I think the first quarter suspension was ridiculous. It hurt the team but sent no real message since he was on the field for the key points of the game. Braylon was a big part of the win, though. His 67 yard touchdown catch totally changed the game just when it looked like Miami was taking control. The defender slipped, and Braylon finished the play as he should have. He also had a big third down catch and drew a penalty to extend the drive that salted the game away. I'm not sure how I feel that kids will go to bed tonight praising Edwards after what happened in the past week. He helped the team win. I wonder at what cost.
Pass Protection: Miami had been doing a good job getting to the opposing quarterback early in the year, but the offensive line did a terrific job tonight keeping Mark Sanchez clean.
LaDainian Tomlinson: 88 yards from scrimmage on 18 touches. He's making people miss. He's exploding to the hole. He found the end zone when the team needed it. He looks like the 2005 version of himself. I'm amazed right now.
Shonn Greene: The numbers are again so so, but Greene did some effective running to fight for tough yards as the Jets were looking to ice it.
Brad Smith: Smith was as dangerous as ever with 41 yards on 3 carries working out of the Tiger formation and on an end around. A 16 yard run out of the Tiger bailed out Brian Schottenheimer for the offensive coordinator's insane call to go to the formation on third and 15. He also had a 54 yard kick return.
Brodney Pool: He might not get much of a mention, but he saved the game twice on the last drive. He had a touchdown saving tackle on Brandon Marshall and made the deflection on the intercepted fourth down pass.
Playing Coverage at the End of the Game: I have to give Rex Ryan credit for going away from his normal attack mode when the Dolphins got into scoring position. He knew his corners couldn't handle one on one assignments.
David Harris: Harris led the Jets with 7 tackles and was making plays all over the field.
James Ihedigbo: The Jets effectively blitzed him off the corner a few times to combat the Wildcat. It worked.
Sione Pouha: Miami ran for less than 4 yards per carry in no small part because of Pouha's continued ability to control the point of attack.
Howard Green: I thought Green handled his matchups very well for anybody, let alone a scrap heap pickup.
Steve Weatherford: I'm still not sure how this guy got so good over the course of one offseason. He hit a 61 yard kick tonight and had another pair downed inside the 20 in 4 punts.
Eric Smith: The Jets lost a game to Miami last year in no small part because of special teams. Smith's blocked punt was big.
Coverage Units: Only because this was Miami, and the Jets did not allow a return touchdown.
Antonio Cromartie: I'm not sure why Cris Collinsworth kept praising his play. When the guy you are on has 10 catches, 166 yards, and 1 touchdown, you haven't done your job as a corner. Yes, he won a few matchups, but a corner can't lose that consistently. Darrelle Revis' agents could be excused for wondering if they might have been better served waiting until this game to see if the Jets threw money at their client.
Kyle Wilson: The Dolphins picked on Wilson early. He is still a work in progress. His recognition skills have to get better, and they will. Unlike some of the other games, I think a lot of his mistakes tonight were rookie mistakes. They will be corrected with more experience.
Jason Taylor: I know he had a sack, but he really wasn't much of a factor otherwise.
Matt Slauson: Those penalties will land a player in the coach's doghouse.
Penalties: I called out Slauson because his penalties were bad, but the Jets are still playing undisciplined football. They can't keep giving away all these yards.
- Wouldn't a better way of celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month be telling a story or two about a Hispanic person or people who have played a prominent role in shaping professional football? Putting the teams' names in Spanish on a television scoreboard graphic for an English language broadcast was distracting and silly.
- Last year I though Mark Sanchez was a bit better than Chad Henne in both meetings between the teams even though the Jets lost both games. Tonight I thought Henne was a tad better than Sanchez. Miami lost, though. It's funny how these things work out.
- Orange you glad the Dolphins wore those jerseys?
- I have to give a big shout out to all of the Dolphins fans who came over here this week and gave us such great and lively discussion. Things got heated at times, but that's what rivalries are about. It was a really enjoyable week. I look forward to doing it again later in the year.
- This is why the Jets never should have let Darrelle Revis play last week. He wasn't helping the team playing less than 100%. The team ended up losing him for tonight, when he really could have been used.
- Let's not go overboard ripping the officials. There were a few suspect calls, but championship teams need to overcome that. The Jets aren't a championship team yet, but it was nice to see them do just that anyway.
The Jets now have a great chance to pick up a third division win next week. Let's just enjoy this one for the moment, though. The monkey is finally off this team's back. Gang Green is back in the win column against Miami. This is going to be one fun and nerve racking season.