JETS 40 - DOLPHINS 13
By Andrew Scharff
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
December 2nd, 2007
MIAMI, FL - The Jets have not had many happy walks to locker room after games this season. But on Sunday there were smiling faces all around as the Jets played one of their best games this season.
The face that had the biggest smile was RB Thomas Jones. Jones, who ran all over the Dolphins in week three, did the same thing on Sunday as the Jets beat the Dolphins 40-13 at Dolphins Stadium.
Although Jones did not run for over 100 yards, he did do something that he hasn’t done all season. On his 223rd carry of the season Jones finally found the end-zone. Jones’ first touchdown as a Jet gave Gang Green a 30-13 lead.
“Fortunately, when we’ve gotten into the red zone, we’ve had some issues this year. I’m a team player but as a running back, [I] want to score touchdowns,” Jones said smiling. “But at the end-of-the-day, I’m a team player. I’m just as happy whether I score a touchdown or whether a teammate scores as long as we’re scoring touchdowns.”
Jones (24 carries, 75 yards and 1 TD) teamed with RB Leon Washington to make a pretty formidable and dangerous running tandem. With WR Jerricho Cotchery out with a finger injury and WR Laveranues Coles still banged up with a high-ankle sprain, Washington had to take a bigger role in the offense.
“It was very satisfying,” said Washington about being more involved in the offense. “I told Coach Schottenheimer I was thankful to be given the opportunity to go out there and make plays.”
Credit offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer for giving Miami got a healthy dose of both backs early and often. Earlier this season Schottenheimer has taken heavy fire for moving away from the running game, but today he stayed with it.
“Offensively, I was pleased that we were able to run the ball, especially when we needed to, despite their coverage,” said Jets head coach Eric Mangini.
Washington (10 carries, 68 yards and 2 TD’s) scored the Jets first touchdown of the day on 18-yard rush. On the play, Washington was lined up as the quarterback and all he did was take direct snap and then follow his blockers.
However, the Jets did get a scare in the second quarter. QB Kellen Clemens was sacked and stripped of the football by Dolphins CB Will Allen. The ball was recovered by Miami CB Michael Lehan who ran it in for a touchdown and a Miami 13-10 lead.
But even though the Jets were losing to a winless Dolphins team, they still stayed with the run. On the Jets next drive Jones and Washington helped the Jets set up 19-yard touchdown pass from Clemens to WR Brad Smith to give Gang Green a 17-13 lead.
After the Smith touchdown the Jets would not look back and the reason being was the defense. They must have sipped some pretty powerful Gatorade during halftime because when the Jets returned to the field, Dolphins rookie QB John Beck got very familiar with the ground.
The Jets defensive line stepped up the pressure on Beck and sacked him on the next three drives forcing fumbles on all three. The Jets were able to recover two of the three. After forcing the three fumbles, Jets CB Drew Coleman intercepted Beck, who threw his first NFL interception earlier in the game.
“The defensive line did a good job with the things we asked them to do. I felt the secondary did well on matching up with [their receivers] tightly,” said Mangini. “We’ve been working on the strategy to sack for a long time and usually you don’t get the multiple opportunities to get there. But you’re always trying to find the football when you’re sacking the quarterback. Our guys did a nice job on noticing where he was holding the ball.”
Grading the Jets
It must have felt like an eternity for Thomas Jones. He finally found the end zone today. And despite not gaining over a 100 yards rushing, he still wore down the Miami defense. And since the Jets were without WR Jerricho Cotchery and WR Laveranues Coles (who was used sparingly), QB Kellen Clemens had to check down and look for other targets. Sunday was the first day that WR Wallace Wright really got involved in the offense. Wright made some good catches and turned both of his catches into first downs.
The Jets defense in the second half was impenetrable. DL C.J. Mosley and LB David Harris continued their strong play. Mosley finished with 3 tackles, a sack and force fumble, while Harris led the defense in tackles again with 8 tackles. Harris also had a sack, force fumble and fumble recovery. LB Bryan Thomas who at times this season has been invisible, also had a sack and force fumble. Also the secondary played their best as well. The Jets secondary had three interceptions and didn’t allow the Dolphins any big pass plays all game long.
K Mike Nugent continued his strong play this season as he was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts and 3-for-3 on extra point attempts. The Jets special teams unit didn’t allow Dolphins kick returner Ted Ginn Jr. to have any big plays in the return game. The part of the special teams unit that played poorly was the punt team. P Ben Graham only averaged 30.5 yards, with a long of 35.
Mangini and his staff pressed all the right buttons and avoided being the laughing stock of the NFL if they lost to the Dolphins. He has to be happy about his offense, who worked without Cotchery and for the most part Coles. His defense keeps pressuring and sacking the quarterback. All in all, job well done.
Coles Plays Despite Bum Ankle
With WR Jerricho Cotchery out, WR Laveranues Coles knew he was really needed for Sunday’s game. Coles, who was named a team captain before season, has become a big leader in the Jets locker room. Coles has a high-ankle sprain which normally takes four to six weeks to heal properly. He was tested before the game to see if he could play. He passed the test and was able go only two weeks after suffering the injury. Even on a bum ankle Coles made a difference.
“Of course this hasn’t been the type of season that has turned out the way I wanted it to, but I feel like I’m one of the guys that helps motivate this team and get guys going,” said Coles. “It was something really big for me to actually just try to come back and play. A lot of people would just pack it in.”
“I didn’t want to take that approach,” added Coles. “I want to do everything possible to be on the field.”
On the first drive of the game, Coles made two key catches that kept the drive going. Ultimately the drive led to a Leon Washington touchdown. Coles finished the game with five catches for 69 yards
Even though no Jet would admit to it, they did use the underdog label as a bit of motivation. The odds makers had the Dolphins favored. Players did admit to talking about that topic amongst themselves.
“We looked at it, but we had to come in here and execute and play hard and aggressive,” said rookie CB Darrelle Revis, who had an interception in the game. “We didn’t try to focus on it. We just focused on the Dolphins and trying to win the game.”
Cotchery was on the inactive list for Sunday’s game due to a right finger injury. JI has learned that there is possibility that Cotchery will be lost for the rest of the season. Other inactives for the Jets included (3RD QB) Marques Tuiasosopo, CB Andre Dyson, DE Mike DeVito, OL Jacob Bender, OL Adrian Jones and DL Kareem Brown.
- The Jets are 1-1 wearing “Throwback” Titans uniforms. The Jets last wore their throw back uniforms against the Eagles (10/14).
- Kellen Clemens had a career-high passer rating of 91.7 in today’s game. Clemens was 15-for-24 for 236 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
- The Jets 40 points was the most scored under head coach Eric Mangini and the most points scored since the Jets scored 41 points in a 41-14 victory over Miami (11/1/04).
- Leon Washington took a direct snap and ran 18 yards for a touchdown on the Jets opening drive of the game, a 12-play, 84-yard scoring march in the game’s first 6:02. The 18-yard score was Washington's first rushing touchdown since 9/30 at Buffalo. Washington finished the day with 10 carries for 68 yards and two touchdowns, tying him with Laveranues Coles for the team lead in touchdowns with six.
- Thomas Jones scored on a one-yard touchdown run, his first as a Jet. He last scored on a 15-yard touchdown run for the Bears in the 2007 NFC Championship game against New Orleans.
- Jones (6,222) carried the ball 24 times for 75 yards surpassing Neal Anderson (6,166) for 62nd on the all-time list.
- Laveranues Coles (554) led in receptions with five catches for 69 yards. Coles surpassed Eric Martin (553) for 70th on the all-time list.
- The Jets caused a season-high five turnovers against Miami, three interceptions (Darrelle Revis, Kerry Rhodes and Drew Coleman) and two fumble recoveries (forced by Bryan Thomas, recovered by Victor Hobson; forced and recovered by David Harris). The last time the Jets had five takeaways in a game was in 2001 at Miami (11/18) in a 24-0 win. The Jets average drive start was on their own 42-yard line and had a plus-three giveaway/takeaway ratio.
- The Jets held the Miami running game to 37 yards. The last time the Jets defense held an opponent to 37 yards or less was against Houston (11/26/06) where they held the Texans to 25 yards.
- The Jets running game picked up 163 yards on the ground. The last time the Jets ran for at least 163 yards was 12/3/06 at Green Bay where they gained 178 yards.
- Three of the Jets fourth-round draft picks: Brad Smith (chosen 103rd overall in the 2006 NFL Draft), Leon Washington (117th overall in the 2006 NFL Draft) and Kerry Rhodes (123rd overall in the 2005 NFL Draft) all contributed to the Jets victory over Miami.
- Washington finished the day with two rushing touchdowns, a season-high. He rushed 10 times for 68 yards. Washington finished the day with 10 carries for 68 yards and two touchdowns. He also added two receptions for 35 yards.
- Smith scored his second receiving touchdown of the season and the second of his career on a 19-yard pass from Clemens in the second quarter. His first career touchdown came on a 16-yard catch at New York Giants (10/7). Smith finished with one reception for 19 yards and one touchdown. He added three carries for six yards.
- Rhodes intercepted John Beck with 1:25 remaining in the second quarter at the Jets nine-yard line and returned it 36 yards for his team-leading fourth interception of the season and the ninth interception of his career. It was his third interception in as many weeks and the longest interception return of his career.
- Rhodes had his third game in a row with an interception. The last Jets player to have three interceptions in three consecutive games was Ty Law during the 2005 season. He had a pick vs. Tampa Bay (10/9), at Buffalo (10/16) and at Atlanta (10/24).
- Justin McCareins caught a 51-yard pass from Kellen Clemens in the second quarter. It was his longest reception of the season and longest since he caught a 50-yard pass from Chad Pennington at Minnesota (12/17/06).
- Darrelle Revis intercepted John Beck with 8:12 remaining in the second quarter for his second interception of the season and the second of his career. Revis' first interception came at Buffalo (10/28) when he picked Trent Edwards for a gain of 19 yards. The pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage by David Bowens.
- Drew Coleman had his first career interception with 13:46 remaining in the fourth quarter.
- The Jets recorded three sacks in the third quarter giving them 13 sacks in the last three games after posting nine sacks through the first nine games.
- C.J. Mosley sacked Beck in the third quarter, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Dolphins’ tackle L.J. Shelton. Mosley now has 2.5 sacks on the season and 6.5 for his career
- Bryan Thomas sacked Beck in the third quarter, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Victor Hobson. Thomas now has 2.5 sacks on the season and 16 sacks for his career. Hobson leads the team with two opponent fumble recoveries.
- David Harris sacked John Beck with 4:21 remaining in the third quarter, forcing a fumble that he recovered. He now has three sacks on the season.
- Mike Nugent had a career-high four field goals and a career-high 16 points. Nugent has made 10 consecutive field goal attempts and 17 of his last 18 field goal attempts (Only miss, 54 yards). He is now 22-for-27 on the season (81.5%).
- Wallace Wright recorded his second NFL reception for 10 yards in the first quarter. His first reception came vs. New England (9/9) in the season opener.
- Chris Davis had his first career reception on a gain of three yards in the first quarter.
- Marques Murrell made his game debut as a Jet as he made an appearance on special teams.
UP NEXT: The Jets face the Cleveland Browns at home next Sunday for a 4:15PM game.