“One touchdown and we’re back in it. Just keep fighting, keep grinding,” this was Rex Ryan’s message to the New York Jets at halftime against the Miami Dolphins. However, for the second game in a row that touchdown never came.
The Dolphins defeated the hapless Jets 23-3 at MetLife Stadium; ending any hope of a trip to the playoffs for the Jets.
“It was an awful performance by us,” Head coach Rex Ryan said. “We got outplayed in all three phases of the game, and I know our fans deserved a hell of a lot better than that.”
Jets rookie quarterback, Geno Smith, was ineffective for the third game in a row – all Jets losses – and was benched at halftime. In two quarters of action, Smith completed 4-of-10 passes for 29 yards and an interception.
“We did absolutely nothing in the first half, offensively, so I was just trying to give us a spark somehow,” Ryan said, regarding his decision to bench Smith.
Smith’s replacement, Matt Simms, entered the game to the loudest cheer of the day, and produced three more points than Smith, but thanks to a porous offensive line, he failed to provide the spark Ryan wanted. Simms was sacked three times and only completed 50% of his passes — 9-of-18 for 79 yards and an interception.
The Jets’ defense kept the game close in the first half, holding the Dolphins to only 6 points. But, despite only scoring two field goals in the first half Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill was moving the ball at ease. He eventually broke the Jets’ defense in the second half and connected on two touchdowns to Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace — Tannehill finished the game 28-of-43, 331 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.
The culprit on both Dolphins’ touchdowns was horrendous tackling, much to the bane of Rex Ryan.
“That [tackling] was the biggest disappointment, without question,” Rex Ryan said. “We know it was tough sledding. We hadn’t done anything offensively and you’re kind of hanging in there, holding onto that rope and you just have got to believe. You’ve just got to get him on the ground.”
Antonio Cromartie, Ed Reed, and Demario Davis all missed tackles on Brian Hartline’s 31 yard score, and first round rookie, Dee Milliner, joined his Geno Smith on the bench later in the game after he whiffed at Mike Wallace on his 28 yard touchdown catch and run.
“I should have come up and put my shoulder into him and just completed the play and make the tackle,” Miliner said after the game.
The Jets also failed to get much pressure on Tannehill. The “Sons of Anarchy” – the nickname for the defensive line of Wilkerson, Richardson, and Harrison — came away with only one sack, despite the Dolphins having one of the worst offensive lines in the league – Tannehill has been sacked a league high 45 times this season.
The Jets are at home again next week against the Oakland Raiders. A win keeps them mathematically in the playoff race, but at the moment, just an offensive touchdown will suffice.