EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Miami quarterback Matt Moore throws the football like a gob of peanut butter is stuck on his hand. Brandon Marshall inexplicably ran out of bounds on what might have been a touchdown and dropped another potential score. The Dolphins are winless, borderline depressing, Andrew Luck bound and yet, at times against New York on Monday night, they outplayed the Jets.
If you missed this lovely display of football, then bless your retinas, for they would have surely burned to a crisp. The game tape should be buried at sea and the score was extremely deceptive (the first half was close). The Jets beat Miami 24-6, and this night will do little to ease the critics of the Jets who say this team isn't close to being ready for a Super Bowl they constantly brag about one day winning.
Now, the Jets were right in their win-is-a-win mantra, which several players spouted after the game. Coach Rex Ryan even called it a good win. This is the NFL, not a beauty contest. True. Fair point. And Miami's defense is solid, but this is still the 0-5 Dolphins. This is a team the Jets should have handled (rivalry or not) with a whuppin' inspiring a country music song.
The Jets won, but issues remain. New York started the past two games -- against the 32nd- and 31st-ranked pass defenses -- with four consecutive three-and-outs in each contest. Against Miami, the Jets didn't get their initial first down until 24 minutes into the game. At one point, ex-Jet Derrick Mason had more first downs (two) than the Jets. Mason. Houston Texan, Mason.
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Quarterback Mark Sanchez had one completion for 5 yards the entire first quarter. Heavy boos rang down twice in the early going. The game was so bad that when New York made it 24-6 at the end of the third quarter, about 20,000 fans bolted MetLife Stadium. No reason to sit in traffic on Route 3 for this monstrosity, which featured Miami going 2 for 13 on third down (the Dolphins spent 80 snaps during bye-week practices working specifically on third down -- didn't work).
If there was one thing the Jets can take away that was a massive positive, it was the play of Darrelle Revis. The battle between Revis and knucklehead Marshall was the only entertaining part of the game. Revis made Marshall work hard for each one of his catches while Revis was covering. It was a marvel to watch Revis perform.
"We wanted a win," he said. "That's all you look for in these kinds of situations when you're struggling. Just get the win."
Marshall did beat Revis, but Revis made the play of the night when he intercepted a pass thrown at Marshall in the end zone and returned 100 it yards for a touchdown. It's true that Revis basically put a choke hold on Marshall while the ball was in the air, but if the refs don't see it ...
It was yet another example of what Revis can do. He changed the fortunes of the game practically by himself. There are few defensive backs who can do that. Put it this way: Revis had two interceptions, Plaxico Burress had one reception.
Marshall is on the opposite end of the spectrum. After saying this week how he would play so hard and be so physical he might get tossed from the game, he was basically a non-factor despite six catches for 109 yards. His night also included an inexplicable play. He made a wide-open catch down the left sideline at about the Jets 30 and despite having a lane to make a run for the end zone, he skipped out of bounds.
It didn't look like he slipped. It looked like ... well, I don't know what the hell he was thinking (he refused to discuss the play after the game). Then, after going out of bounds, he tossed the football into the stands. My guess: the Dolphins are re-thinking the trade for Marshall right about now.
No, if you're the Jets, you don't apologize for a win, particularly after a week of squabbling and finger pointing. In a team meeting on Saturday, Ryan reminded players that finger pointing can destroy a team from within. His players listened. All things considered, you take this victory and go the hell home.
But maybe this is the opportunity to finally shut down the Super Bowl talk. Until the team actually, you know, wins one.