Posted: 1:10 am Monday, September 27th, 2010
By Post Staff
Editor’s note: Please join Ben at 3 p.m. Monday for a live Q&A to talk about tonight’s game and next week’s showdown with the Patriots. Click here to ask your questions.
Instant Analysis from the Dolphins’ 31-23 loss to the Jets…..
1. The Dolphins played two opponents — the Jets and themselves: The Dolphins’ defense made solid adjustments after the first quarter, allowing the Jets to hold the ball for just 17 of a possible 45 minutes over the last three quarters. But the Dolphins couldn’t keep from hurting themselves on defense.
* The 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on Chris Clemons in the second quarter – which safety Yeremiah Bell said was “crap” – that led to a Jets touchdown.
* Jason Allen falling down and letting Braylon Edwards scamper 67 yards for a touchdown.
* The Dolphins’ punting unit letting Eric Smith break through the line and block a punt late in the third.
* Allen committing pass interference in the end zone on third down late in the fourth quarter.
“We definitely shot ourselves in the foot. This loss was definitely on us,” Bell said. “But when you go out and hurt yourself like we did – miss tackles, make mistakes, get punts blocked by a good team – it’s going to happen to you. We put it out there, so we got to deal with it.”
2. Run the ball? True, Chad Henne was having a fantastic night, overcoming early inconsistencies to throw for a career-high 363 yards and two touchdowns. And yes, the Dolphins’ running game wasn’t going anywhere, with just 84 total yards on the ground on 3.7 yards per carry.
But in two crucial situations, the Dolphins opted to throw the ball instead of hand it off to Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams, and neither series ended in a touchdown.
The first came in the third quarter, when the Dolphins faced second-and-goal at the 2 and trailing 21-17. Henne threw incomplete to Brian Hartline (84 receiving yards) on second down and incomplete to Brandon Marshall (166 yards) on third down. The Dolphins kicked a 20-yard field goal to pull within 21-20, but they trailed the rest of the game.
“We’re on the 2 yard line. I obviously feel like, against these guys, I’m going to get the ball in the end zone at all costs,” said Brown, who finished with 54 rushing yards on 11 carries.
And then in the final minute, with the Dolphins facing first-and-10 at the Jets’ 11 and still holding two timeouts, the Dolphins threw on four straight downs. The first fell incomplete, the second was a scramble by Henne for no yards, the third was a 5-yard dump-off to Brown, and Henne’s final pass of the game was intercepted in the end zone.
Brown didn’t question the play-calling, but knows the offense needs to execute better. To the Jets’ credit, the Dolphins ran the Wildcat seven times and gained a total of three yards. The Dolphins were just 2-of-4 in the Red Zone.
“We’ve got to get touchdowns and not settle for field goals,” Brown said.
3. Tough tight ends: The Vikings’ Visanthe Shiancoe caught six passes for 86 yards last week against the Dolphins. The Jets took notice.
Third-year tight end Dustin Keller, who entered the game with four catches in three career games against Miami, caught six passes for 98 yards, all in the first half, and scored both of the Jets’ first-half touchdowns.
Keller’s two scores put the Jets ahead 14-0, putting the Dolphins in a hole for the rest of the night.
“You can tell they went back and looked at the Vikings tape and kind of mocked them a bit,” said Bell, who was covering Keller on both of his touchdowns, a 25-yard up-and-out route and a 12-yard slant. “He was locked in tonight. He executed the game plan, we made mistakes and didn’t get off the field, and he hurt us.”