Dolphins 19 Jets 17: A Microcosm of the Season

The Jets ended the 2011 season at 8-8 by losing 19-17 to the Dolphins today in Miami. This game very much displayed the problems the team experienced all year. The defense was pretty good but allowed a killer touchdown drive. I'm not sure how much you can blame on the unit, though. It is difficult to ask the unit to play a perfect game as it has so often had to do this year. It is not just that the offense cannot gain yardage. It gives up points.

More after the jump.

The Bad:

Mark Sanchez: Three interceptions tell the story. So do the nine points Miami scored off them. So do the ten points Sanchez put up prior to a garbage time touchdown with Miami playing prevent and leaving receivers wide open. There really is only one circumstance where a defensive lineman picking a pass off is not a catastrophic error by a quarterback. That is on a quick one step drop where a lineman fails to execute a cut block, and the unblocked lineman jumps into a throwing lane. Sanchez had two interceptions thrown to linemen today. The first was on a screen where he didn't elevate the ball enough. Brian Schottenheimer may be a bad offensive coordinator, but there isn't a lot you can call when the quarterback can't execute a throw that simple. It's also difficult to call a long developing pass when Sanchez makes a decision as dumb as he did on the second interception throwing a pick instead of taking a sack. The third interception really tells the story of the season. You can complain about receivers getting separation. In the NFL, you seldom get somebody wide open. There are tight windows. Windows are open for inches for a short time. Good quarterbacks deliver accurate balls on time. Bad quarterbacks underthrow their receivers and turn them into interceptions as Sanchez did. There were plenty of throws Sanchez left on the field today.

Santonio Holmes: I'm not sure the zero receptions was his fault. All year when I've watched him, Mark Sanchez has missed throwing windows to him. It sure looked like he quit on the team leaving the game and sitting on the bench in the last few minutes. I have seen nothing all year that suggests making him a captain was a good idea.

Mike Devito: He was losing his assigment on a lot of the big runs Miami popped.

David Harris: He was pretty quiet before he got hurt. He also got lost a few times on good runs.

Matthew Mulligan: It's almost like he had to make up for the one big reception by stinking extra. He outdid himself with three penalties.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson: I hate to say it, but I think Brick is going to the Pro Bowl based on his reputation. I don't think he has earned it this year. The competition he has faced has been tough, but the Jets gave him that big contract to dominate that competition. He was beaten clean by Jason Taylor on the disastrous interception and picked up two false starts.

Wayne Hunter: He had a false start of his own. Wayne got some help early, but later in the game he had problems with Cameron Wake and got away with a few holds.

Aaron Maybin: Shouldn't the Jets have had more of a pass rush against a patchwork offensive line? Maybin got extra snaps but was not a factor. Come to think of it, he really was not a factor in the last four weeks of the season.

Josh Mauga: Mauga was actually pretty good in place of Harris, but the touchdown in coverage was ugly.

Eric Smith: I think the most disappointing part of Smith's performance this year was not his coverage. It was how poorly he did the things he is supposed to be good at like finishing tackles. He allowed plenty of hidden yardage today.

Brodney Pool: I'm not sure why Brodney can't tackle anymore. He made some nice plays in coverage but also blew a few tackles.

Shonn Greene: Greene dropped a few passes he should have had. He also made some wrong cuts and left yards on the field.

Joe McKnight: He looked less and less explosive as the year went on. He didn't even make a move to try and make guys miss today on kick returns.

The Good:

Jeremy Kerley: Kerley really emerged as a playmaker near the end of the year. He showed more composure under pressure as a passer than Mark Sanchez on that 42 yard completion from the Wildcat. He also threw a better ball than Sanchez's. He did it all today. He had 4 catches for 71 yards. He added a 16 yard run on an end around. He had some nifty punt returns. This is going to be a fun guy to watch.

Dustin Keller: He was open all day short, registering 7 catches for 45 yards. He also threw a nice block to spring Kerley on the end around.

LaDainian Tomlinson: Who knew he had such juice in his legs? He slipped through little holes, exploded to the outside, and ran through arm tackles on his way to an 11 carry, 56 yard game on top of 4 catches for 23 yards. It was a nice way to likely end his Jets career.

Sione Pouha: He dominated the point of attack against Mike Pouncey, a good center. His push and shedding blockers stoned a lot of runs.

Bart Scott: Bart was very good most of the day penetrating and getting off blocks. He led the Jets in tackles.

Muhammad Wilkerson: He had a couple of tackles for a loss today. I am looking forward to seeing what he can do now that the coaching staff has an offseason to refine his game.

Kenrick Ellis: The rookie looked pretty good in limited action. He ended his rookie year on a high note.

Darrelle Revis: Brandon Marshall beat him a few times, including once when Revis slipped, but a lot of Marshall's limited damage was against somebody else. Revis got the better of this matchup for the most part.

Antonio Cromartie: The only time he was really burned was when he had to cover Brian Hartline for an eternity, and Hartline broke his route. Cro had an interception to finish a very good season.

Donald Strickland: I loved what Strickland did today. He was good in coverage. He had a sack. He laid a hammer in run support.

Patrick Turner: I was never a huge fan of his, but he has grown on me as the season has gone on. He is starting to learn how to use his frame. He only gets a few snaps per game, but he always seems to come up with a big catch. His touchdown gave the Jets a chance for an onside kick.

Other Thoughts:

  • There is probably no need to go after Brian Schottenheimer. We know the issues. I expect the team to announce his dismissal tomorrow morning.
  • I don't think Kyle Wilson was anywhere near as bad as he looked on that long touchdown drive. He was burned on an early third down. The rest of the time? Davone Bess had some catches for a few yards. In the slot, those are going to happen. Short receptions are unavoidable because the receiver can cut either way. There is no sideline to help the defender. On the completion to set up the first and goal, his responsibility was a huge chunk of the field. The blitz left the Jets exposed if Miami picked it up.

So ends a disappointing year. Maybe it was for the best the Jets lost. This team was not very fun to watch. I find it difficult to imagine they would have won a Playoff game. The offense was horrible. If the Giants beat Dallas tonight, the Jets would not have beaten a team with a winning record.

I would finally like to thank you for reading and commenting on GGN all year long. We will have plenty in the coming days so keep stopping by.

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