Typical New York Jets silliness ensued on Sunday in South Beach, leading to another loss, their first in the post-Le’Veon Bell era.
Le’Veon Bell may be gone, but the results are, alas, the same for the New York Jets.
Three first half touchdown passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick helped the Miami Dolphins build an insurmountable lead at Hard Rock Stadium, en route to an 24-0 win over the Jets. After the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants won in Sunday afternoon’s early window, the Jets (0-6) are the only team in football without a win. New York also becomes the first victim of an NFL shutout in 2020.
ESM looks back on another brutal loss so you don’t have to, tracking down a play from each quarter, for better or worse, that determined the Jets’ present and future in a visit to Florida that was anything but a vacation.
1st Quarter: Miami Vice
The Jets’ problems with penalties are overshadowed by malarkey on both sides of the ball, but they entered Sunday’s game averaging over eight flags per game. Their first half against Miami provided only further fuel for this yellow flag fire, picking up seven infractions before the first half-hour let out. The most egregious sequence came in the final stages of the opening frame. Down only 7-0…which, let’s face it, could be seen as insurmountable by some Jets fans…the Jets actually had a strong drive going, getting to the cusp of the Miami red zone.
Alas, their biggest enemy rose to the occasion: themselves.
The Jets appeared to keep the drive on with a nine-yard pass from Joe Flacco to Breshad Perriman on a one-yard third down, but that was wiped out due to an offensive pass interference penalty of Ryan Griffin. An illegal motion penalty on the next play, later declined, took the spotlight of a Flacco fumble, one that was recovered but pushed the Jets back to the 40, where they opted to punt. Braden Mann, one of the rare silver linings of consistency in New York, downed the ball five yards from the end zone, but Vyncint Smith failed to get on top of it before it went to the back of the end zone…at which point, a Harvey Langi personal foul gave the Dolphins 15 extra yards and giving the Jets a net worth of five yards on the punt.
That sequence, which ended the first quarter, simply highlighted the dysfunctional fire that is Jets football…one that shows little signs of pacifying. Making things all the more brutal for the Jets: that drive that ended in the brutal penalties was the drive on the first half in which they obtained first downs.
Fitzpatrick to Shaheen for 44 yards! #FinsUp
— NFL (@NFL) October 18, 2020
2nd Quarter: Offensive Defense
Earlier this week, Gregg Williams took what was perceived as a thinly veiled jab at the offense, claiming the Jets’ struggles at giving up points were “not all defensively”. But his defense certainly didn’t help matters, with their own struggles perfectly on display at the end of the first half.
Williams may nonetheless have had a point; all but one of the Jets’ first half drives (as mentioned above) ended without the team getting a first down, forcing the defense into brutal on-and-off situations throughout the ball game. With Miami getting the ball right before the two-minute warning (a Jakeem Grant punt return for a touchdown stopped only by a Mann tackle), they wasted no time in a third invasion of the Jets’ end zone, a trek amplified by a 44-yard hook-up between Fitzpatrick and Adam Shaheen. Myles Gaskin needed only one play to earn the final yard to glory, giving the Dolphins a 21-0 halftime lead.
— Jordan Gold (@Jordan_Gold0) October 18, 2020
3rd Quarter: Ty Ballgame
Somehow, even with Bell having moved to the greener pastures (pun intended) of Kansas City, Frank Gore remained the Jets’ top ball rusher at 11 carries…still getting more opportunities than fourth-round project La’Mical Perine. Perhaps even more surprising, Gore earned more carries than Perine and recent veteran signee Ty Johnson combined. The latter made his mark in a mostly quiet third quarter, Johnson uncorked a 33-yard carry that set up a failed Sam Ficken field goal (his first three-point miss of the season). It was the longest carry by a Jets running back this season, besting matching 13-yard tallies by Bell and Gore. Who knows if Gore will continue to see a lion’s share of the carries, but Johnson’s emergence should not be quickly forgotten, especially on a team that has lost everything there is lose.
Joe Flacco just took a 28-yard sack ðŸ˜³
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 18, 2020
4th Quarter: Oh No, Joe
The fourth quarter could’ve been a time to look at the silver lining of an incredible Marcus Maye interception, but the Jets couldn’t even emerge with that fleeting positive. Following Maye’s backside grab, the Jets embarked on another potentially lucrative drive, one that could, at the very least, avoid a shutout. However, Flacco’s scramble of doom cost New York a whopping 28 yards, one that pushed the Jets all the way back into their own territory at the 45. Flacco had the opportunity to throw the ball away, but instead committed a rookie mistake at 35.
If Darnold continues to miss games, the Jets’ next step is simple…it’s time to activate fourth-round thrower James Morgan, if only to see what they have and at least add some intrigue to this ten-game dirge.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags