In honor of the Mud Bowl between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins, I have decided to nickname this game "The Dirt Bowl." While the ground was not muddy, both teams, ours in particular, played like dirt. And yet, praise be to Tebow, we still won! But there is no doubt about it; this was one ugly victory. I would like to make an analogy that my friend Tom noted while we were watching the game. He compared it to a game of chess in which both sides lose their queens (Reggie Bush and Darrelle Revis), but the rest of the pieces on either side are just stumbling, bumbling pawns. I think that's an apt description of what we just witnessed.
While I was writing this, I realized there were more positives than I expected there to be. But the one negative above all negatives that can drown out any semblance of hope to be gained from this gutsy, and lucky, victory, was the knee injury to Revis. Let us hope and pray that he is only injured for a few weeks and not out for the season.
Despite our rough start and middle to this game, the Jets came down with a clutch victory in a game they had to have. Now, they are 2-1 with two division wins. What will be interesting is the outcome of the Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots game tonight. With a loss, the Patriots will be 1-2 and will trail the Jets in the AFC East. Their defense has looked much improved, but shockingly, it's been their offense that's been the disappointment. Everyone, say your prayers to Tebow that Joe Flacco looks like Joe Montana tonight.
In any case, join us below the jump as we break down The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
- Santonio Holmes - Nine catches, one hundred and forty-seven yards. With multiple pass interference flags called against Holmes, he could have had even more. Yet, in a game where the build-up centered around the team's collapse last January in Miami, Holmes handled the pressure better than anyone else on the team. After a few early drops, Holmes rebounded to claim the huge game that he predicted, and was mocked for, before the game began. Today was the definition of "Tone Time." Today we saw a guy that wouldn't give up on the team when everyone else, especially the receivers, seemed to. I am beyond thrilled with Holmes' performance today.
- Nick Folk - Again, Folk delivers the game winner. Against the Minnesota Vikings, Folk nailed five FGs. Against the Detroit Lions, Folk nailed the game winning FG. Against the Indianapolis Colts, Folk nailed the game winning FG. Against the Dallas Cowboys, Folk nailed the game winning FG. And today, again, Folk came through huge with the winning kick. Folk. Hero.
- Robert Malone - Malone was impressive yet again, with several booming punts that pinned the Dolphins deep. Malone has been incredibly consistent for someone that didn't even have a training camp with us, and I expect him to get only better with time. Very, very impressive.
- Jeremy Kerley - For the love of all that is holy, this man needs the ball more often. He is such a dynamo once he has the ball in his hands.
- Bilal Powell - Powell stepped up huge today as Shonn Greene stuttered, fell, and then rolled around on the ground about. I was very impressed with how Powell ran today. Dare I say that he has earned the starting role going into next week?
- Konrad Reuland - Again, Reuland had a good week. With John Conner out, Reuland had a H-Back role, serving as a fullback and a tight end. He looked good as a blocker, and as a receiver. Clearly, Mark Sanchez and Reuland have some serious chemistry that will get better with the return of Dustin Keller (as that will mean more open looks for Reuland). We may have found our blocking tight end.
- Mark Sanchez - I keep vacillating on how much blame I want to put on Sanchez for this game. He was very inaccurate at certain parts and made some very bad reads. On the other hand, there were an absurd number of drops by our receivers and some pretty sloppy route running. An example of this was the interception in the end zone. One of the receivers ran a route that was too long, so Chris Clemons (the safety) was able to make the leaping interception. Had the receiver run the correct route, that likely wouldn't have happened. The same could be said about the earlier interception as well. There were a lot of contributing factors here, but I don't think you can say by any stretch of the imagination that Sanchez had a "good" day. But, I will give Sanchez some credit for making the downfield throws we never saw last season, and for getting the offense down the field in overtime to secure the win.
- Stephen Hill - Hill had a serious case of the dropsies, and then was injured. In general, this was a very bad day for our very raw receiver out of Georgia Tech. Hill will get better, no doubt, but there was no excuse for the sheer number of drops he had. Especially the one in the end zone... that was brutal.
- Aaron Maybin - Where has this guy been? I saw he was injured at one point, but he definitely returned to the game quickly. He has just been a big disappearing act, like our entire pass rush, this season.
- Eric Smith - Ugh, Eric Smith. I try, and I try, and I try to defend you as a part-time player and mostly special teamer. But then you have to go and get a roughing-the-kicker penalty in the end zone to extend their drive, and a late hit on an already down receiver. C'mon man. Cut it out.
- Shonn Greene - I used to be a Greene defender. But today, I can't. I honestly believe Greene should lose his starting job. Greene continually can get only one or two yards, if he is very lucky. When he got stuffed on the goal line, that was one of the most painful things I've ever watched. If you notice, he got a little better on the last drive when the defense was worn down. That should be his role, as a late game bruiser... like was in 2009, when he excelled.
- Run Defense - Against Bush, our run defense was putrid. It got a bit better after Bush went down, but in general, it's been pretty terrible throughout the whole season. The problem lies in their inability to tackle. Arm tackles aren't working and they are consistently turning into huge games for the opposing offense. This team needs to learn how to tackle, and fast.
- Pass Rushing - Non-existent. We would have won this game EASILY if there was even a semblance of pressure on Ryan Tannehill. Disgusting, non-existent effort.
- Coaching - I've been very disappointed in the coaching lately. Mostly in how they're using Tebow and Greene. Tebow needs to be used in short yardage situations, but he hasn't been. The best Tebow play was the touchdown that Hill dropped. If I remember correctly, Tebow started in the shotgun, but at the last moment switched with Sanchez, who threw the pass to Hill. It's a very effective way to confuse a defense and throw them out of sync. As for Greene, I'm tired of watching Greene try to run a sweep or a pitch to the outside, but fail to get back to the line because he's too slow. And I'm tired of not seeing Joe McKnight get touches at running back. Powell needs to start, and McKnight needs to become the third down back.
- Tim Tebow's Fake Punt - Tebow apparently called this at the line. That was a huge play, because up until then, there was absolutely zero movement by our offense. That was the play that sparked any chance we had of coming back. Plus, it now gives defenses something else to think about.
- LaRon Landry Pick-Six - Landry read Tannehill's eyes the whole time and broke perfectly on the ball. That was a massive play that we desperately needed to start the third quarter.
- Dan Carpenter's Missed Field Goals - Obviously, I can't say enough about this. We came so, so close to losing barring a shank, which Carpenter was happy to provide.
- Joe Philbin's Failed Attempt to Ice Nick Folk - HILARIOUS. Folk said in the post-game presser that they heard the whistle and didn't block the rushers, and that was why the kick was blocked. I don't care, still hilarious, and awesome. It was the perfect end to a dirt game.