The Jets are 3-1. They beat the Dolphins today in London by a 27-14 score. Gang Green now gets a week off as they are rewarded for their long trip with a bye. What went right across the pond? Let's get to it below.
Chris Ivory: I'm not sure there is much doubt that Ivory was the player of the game for the Jets. He finished with 166 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. The Dolphins could not bring him down. He wasn't just running through arm tackles. He was breaking full tackles from 300 pound defensive linemen. Even when he had two and three guys on him, he figured out ways to grind out an extra yard or two. What impressed me just as much was how he didn't fumble despite that close call in the fourth quarter. When a player is so focused on getting through contact, that is sometimes focus taken away from ball security. The Dolphins kept swiping for the football, but Ivory secured it.
Buster Skrine: I'll admit I wasn't wild when the Jets signed Skrine, but I was willing to give him a chance because so much of success in the NFL for role players is being in the right role. So far, Skrine has looked like a really good signing. Ryan Tannehill only threw for 4.5 yards per attempt today as Dolphins only put up 14 points. The cornerbacks held up as the Jets blitzed effectively. Skrine was also effective as a tackler and as a blitzer out of the slot. Part of the credit has to go to an offensive coaching staff that cannot adjust to blitz after blitz from the slot, but Skrine impacted three straight plays near the end of the first half rushing the passer.
Kacy Rodgers: Rodgers worked for the Dolphins last year. He presumably knew a lot about their protections, and it showed. It felt like he was always a step ahead of the Miami offense because his blitzes kept getting home.
Darrelle Revis: Revis got beaten on the pass interference play with Jarvis Landry, but that was about the only time the Dolphins got him. He was rarely tested, and his interception essentially sealed the win.
Muhammad Wilkerson: The entire defensive front deserves a shoutout because the Dolphins didn't even bother trying to run, and the Jets were constantly in the backfield. Wilkerson got a pair of sacks and forced a fumble so I'll give him some special mention.
Defensive Front: And here is that mention to the defensive front.
Antonio Cromartie: He had a couple of less than stellar moments. Still, Tannehill did not have a big day, and Cromartie had difficult assignments. For the most part, Cro did his job.
Brandon Marshall: He got off to a monster start with 3 catches for 89 yards on the first two drives. In light of that, Marshall's 7 catches for 128 yards seem like a bit of a disappointment, but those first two series staked the Jets to a 10-0 lead and put them in control of the game. Ryan Fitzpatrick made good throws, but they required Marshall to win. He did.
Eric Decker: It seemed clear that Decker was hurting, but he made two huge plays, a one-handed 26 yard catch on a third down that set up a field goal and the touchdown right before the half. After that touchdown, the Jets never led by less than two scores. Now Decker gets a week to rest up.
Devin Smith: It was a quiet day on the stat sheet, but it looked like he was open a lot. How much this was a function of the play design relative to defensive calls, I will find out soon, but let's give him the benefit of the doubt.
Offensive Line: I think they had a solid day run blocking. Ivory turned it from a good game into a great game. Miami also didn't have a ton of success rushing the passer.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: Is Fitzpatrick playing great ball? No. There was an ugly stretch in the second quarter where he was spraying the ball all over the field and throwing dangerous passes. That is a fact of life with a quarterback like Fitzpatrick, and it is why the team is not built to win a game where he has to throw 58 times like last week. Every week, the team needs the quarterback to make a certain number of plays to win. With the supporting cast for the Jets, the goal is to make that number as small as possible for Fitzpatrick. That's what they did today, and Fitzpatrick made that small number of plays. He hit the passes to Marshall early, the Decker touchdown, a few scrambles, and some other throws. It might not be pretty, but it's better than anything the Jets have seen in years.
Nick Folk: I know he missed the one kick, but his early kicks expanded the Jets' early lead. Had he missed them, the Dolphins would have gotten a little boost with defensive stops and good field position.
Dion Bailey: I think you have to give this kid a ton of credit. He has only been with the team a few days. He had to move across the country and is still presumably getting himself settled. He probably doesn't know all of his teammates or the playbook. He had to come off the bench cold in the fourth quarter when Calvin Pryor got hurt. He made two huge plays on the drive where Miami tried to cut it to one score. He found his way through traffic on a screen to stop a play for no gain. On the next play, he was on an island against Jordan Cameron. That isn't an easy assignment in the red zone. The Dolphins targeted him. Bailey knew where he was on the field and forced Cameron out of bounds.
Marcus Williams: Williams made a couple of nice tackles on special teams and then was in beautiful coverage and picked off a Tannehill pass late.
Marcus Gilchrist: He made some plays, but he also had a pair of big penalties and then was beaten by Greg Jennings in the end zone on a throw Tannehill missed.
Punt Coverage Unit: A week after the meltdown against Darren Sproles, Jarvis Landry averaged 22 yards per return.
Miami's First Touchdown: CBS couldn't be bothered to give more than one quick cursory look at this so I'm not 100% sure on whom to blame. What I did see was a busted coverage that left Miami with an open receiver in the end zone.
Penalties: Fourteen penalties won't cut it. The Jets need to clean this up. In other news, water is wet.
The Jets are now at their bye. It was a terrific first quarter to the season. They have set themselves up well to have a nice year.