Maybe this team is pretty damn good after all.
One week after Mark Sanchez showed up and the Jets beat New England, Gang Green went on the road and defeated the only undefeated team left in the division in Miami. It wasn't always pretty, but the Jets started the game off well and they closed it out.
Early on, it was all about Sanchez to Dustin Keller. The tight end was the leading receiver through two games, and he was fed the ball constantly in the first half. He had all his 98 yards and two touchdowns in the first half as the Jets sliced through the Dolphins' defense on two of their three first quarter drives.
The defense for once was the unit lagging behind, allowing the Dolphins to dominate time of possession and get 10 points back in the 2nd quarter. Miami scored on both of its possessions in that quarter and its first two possessions in the 2nd half. A touchdown on the opening drive of the third gave them their first lead, but on the Jets' first play after getting the ball back, Sanchez found an open Edwards who made Jason Allen miss and ran 67 yards for a touchdown. The maligned Edwards made two huge plays in this game, that touchdown and a key third down catch to help put the game out of reach late. He probably shouldn't have done a touchdown dance after scoring considering all he's gone through this week, but he's a knucklehead.
Miami answered the Edwards touchdown with a field goal. The Jets soon matched after Eric Smith blocked a punt to set up the Jets in the red zone. Miami tacked on another field goal in the 4th quarter, giving the Jets a one point lead and the ball with 6:42 left. The Jets responded with five first downs that drive, including Edwards drawing a pass interference to set the ball at the one-yardline. Then LaDainian Tomlinson punched in a touchdown with under two minutes to go.
The Jets defense bent, allowing Miami to pretty easily get to the Jets' 11 yardline. But Miami would get no further, as the Jets held and won the game 31-23.
The key to this game was Sanchez. The defense struggled at times, but the offense put up 402 total yards and converted in key situations. They jumped out early on Miami, and when they needed to put together a drive to put the game away, they responded. Sanchez had a couple near picks in the fourth quarter, but when they hit the ground, all is well. He only completed 15 of his 28 passes, but they went for 256 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Through three games, he now has 6 touchdowns and 0 interceptions and a quarterback rating over 100 for the season.
The running game was effective when called upon again, averaging five yards per carry. Much of that was Brad Smith who covered 41 yards on 3 carries, fooling the Dolphins at their own game.
The Wildcat and the Dolphin running game wasn't great even though Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown both averaged at least 4 yards per carry. Neither got any big plays and neither could get into the endzone.
Chad Henne played very well again against the Jets, racking up 363 yards. Brandon Marshall clearly got the best of Antonio Cromartie and the rest of the Jets' defense with 166 yards and a touchdown. But it did just enough and held on the final drive of the game, so it gets a pass. Clearly, the secondary misses Revis. The Jets won't play another dominant deep threat receiver again until Halloween (unless you count Lee Evans), so they should survive. However, if Revis can't get back to 100%, the Jets may have to rethink this dominant defense because Henne and the Dolphins moved the ball very well.
The only two negatives from this game are third down efficiency on defense and the amount of offensive penalties. A Matt Slauson holding penalty wiped away a Mark Sanchez rushing touchdown, and all in all the Jets had 9 penalties for 81 yards. Meanwhile, Miami converted on 8 of its 16 third down attempts. The Jets were dead last in the NFL coming into this game in third down efficiency, and they very well may stay in last again.
Still, right now is a time to celebrate. The Jets have survived their first three weeks at 2-1, including 2-0 in the division. Next week is a date in Buffalo against a struggling Bills team. A win there, and the Jets are in dominant early position in this division and the schedule eases up a little bit.
For now, the Jets own the tiebreaker for first place, and the offense finally may be close to matching the defense. If that happens, this team could be scary.