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Week 12 Game Recap: Miami Dolphins 20, New York Jets 38


What you need to know

Miami Dolphins

After a myriad of injuries in his career, and always being undersized, it appears some of the shine has come off Brent Grimes. He was dusted by Brandon Marshall on Sunday, and if the Dolphins can’t get more consistent play from their supposed shutdown corner, the entire secondary may have difficulty stopping the pass altogether. Zac Taylor, the interim offensive coordinator was on Mike Sherman’s staff at Texas A&M when Ryan Tannehill was there. He’s easily known him the longest of any coach on the staff at this point, but beyond that, there’s not much anyone knows about Taylor.

New York Jets

• With the season seemingly on the line, the New York Jets played their best game in nearly two months. Ryan Fitzpatrick was very efficient, throwing for 277 yards and four touchdowns while Chris Ivory looked explosive for the first time in nearly a month. Fitzpatrick hit the ‘trifecta’ by throwing a touchdown pass to each of his starting wide receivers. While Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall regularly hit pay dirt, Devin Smith scored his first touchdown right before halftime. With just seconds remaining, Smith ran a tight post route and Fitzpatrick delivered a strike for a 16-yard touchdown. This scoring play gave New York a 14-0 halftime lead, but more importantly, Fitzpatrick showed a lot of trust in the rookie by targeting him in a high leverage situation. After weeks of drops and poorly run routes, it was encouraging to see Smith haul in this touchdown pass.

• Sans Darrelle Revis, New York’s defense completely dominated Miami’s offense, allowing just one third down conversion in the first three quarters. Miami’s offense lost Rishard Matthews and Mike Pouncey to injuries early in the game, but Ryan Tannehill was once again befuddled by New York’s blitz schemes.

Miami Dolphins

QB Ryan Tannehill, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 33 - 58 - 351 - 3 TD / 1 INT
It turned out to be a good day, fantasy wise, for Ryan Tannehill, on Sunday against the Jets. It was a low-scoring game as neither offense couldn’t really find much rhythm early on. After the Dolphins were gifted with fantastic field position on each of their first 3 drives (own 40 or better), it was largely disappointing to see no ball movement. The Dolphins lost Rishard Matthews on the first drive, but the bigger early game loss was Mike Pouncey, who was forced out of the game with a foot injury. Pouncey’s replacement was starting RG Jamil Douglas, who shifted left one position, leaving Billy Turner to come in and play right guard. It looked like Douglas hadn’t ever really taken snaps at center in practice as numerous times during the game he botched snaps. Two ended in incomplete passes, and one other ended in a sack; however, he made a handful of other snaps difficult for Tannehill, affecting his ability to throw. However, it was not a pretty first half from Tannehill regardless. He missed some throws and there doesn’t seem to be any new creativity in the play-calling. He was late on a sideline out-route to Kenny Stills and Marcus Williams stepped in front for Tannehill’s only interception of the day. While he still isn’t getting much help from his offensive line (especially without Pouncey), there could be changes coming. With Bill Lazor getting fired on Monday morning, the word is that Tannehill will finally be allowed to make audibles at the line of scrimmage.

While the atrocious snapping continued in the second half, the Dolphins were able to move the ball (entirely through the air) because the Jets went up by 2-3 scores and called off the dogs. Tannehill repeatedly fed Jarvis Landry, but also mixed in some Jay Ajayi and DeVante Parker as Miami was desperate not to be completely embarrassed by the Jets. Each of Tannehill’s TDs came on solid, if unspectacular plays. The first was to Landry; a simple quick hitting out route that Landry took to the pylon after he set the Dolphins up in the red zone with a big play. The second was probably Tannehill’s most impressive, as on a 4th and goal play, he hit Greg Jennings n a slow-developing crossing route in the back of the end zone. His final TD pass came as regulation was expiring, as he hit DeVante Parker on an intermediate out near the sideline, and Parker cut back to do the rest. While the only truly difficult game for the Dolphins is at home for the Pats in Week 17, it looks like another lost season in Miami. However, it looks like the interim coaching staff is itching to get new offensive pieces involved. With a struggling defense, Tannehill may be able to pad some numbers down the stretch and build chemistry with the like of Jay Ajayi and DeVante Parker.

RB Lamar Miller, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 2 - 0, Rec: 3 - 11 - 0 (4 targets)
Similar to a few weeks early in the season, Lamar Miller was a bust against the Jets in Week 12. While the New York run defense is no slouch, the 58-9 pass-to-run ratio was mind-numbing. It probably ended up getting Bill Lazor fired too. It’s obviously not Miller’s fault, the Jets have a fierce run defense. He did catch a 17-yard pass early in the game, but proceeded to give all of those yards back on a screen later in the game. With Miller headed toward a free agent year, it will be interesting to see how high his usage is with interim offensive coordinator Zac Taylor. With Ajayi having a checkered injury past, and the possibility that chronic knee issues could shorten his career, the Dolphins will have to figure out if they want to resign Miller and have a committee-based attack. While he’s not the slam dunk RB1 for the rest of the season that he was even just 3 weeks ago, Miller will remain the starter, and with a favorable schedule down the stretch, should be able to post some decent numbers.

RB Jay Ajayi, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 6 - 0, Rec: 4 - 52 - 0 (6 targets)
Jay Ajayi again outshone Lamar Miller on Sunday against the Jets. While neither could get anything going on the ground, and (in his final game as offensive coordinator) Bill Lazor called a decidedly heavy passing game, Ajayi flashed his game-breaking pass-catching ability and overall explosiveness with the ball in his hands. Whether it’s catching the ball in motion or at a standstill, Ajayi looks like he is shot out of a cannon. He falls forward, fights for extra yards, and finishes his runs. The Dolphins may not want to push him too hard with the medical red flags he had coming out of Boise State, but with another lost season looking very likely, it will be interesting to see how they allocate snaps over the final month of the season. Miller and Ajayi split series on Sunday, with Damien Williams sprinkling in as a change of pace. It’s something to watch for with interim offensive coordinator Zac Taylor.

WR Jarvis Landry, 64 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 13 - 165 - 1 (16 targets)
Jarvis Landry remained one of the lone bright spots for the Dolphins during the 2015 season with another big performance on Sunday. While he saw huge volume (over 25% of Tannehill’s 58 passes went his way), he made the most of it, consistently breaking tackles to move the chains, as the Dolphins abandoned the running game. While nearly all of his production came on quick curls and comebacks, he did get loose down the left sideline for a 40-yard gain to set up the first Miami touchdown, which he also scored. With Darrelle Revis out, Landry got open at will against Buster Skrine, Marcus Williams, and whoever else Todd Bowles threw at him. His ability to get open in the short area allowed him to show off his slippery after-the-catch moves, which picked up numerous 1st downs for the Dolphins as they attempted to at least play for some pride in the second half. His touchdown came on another short route near the goal-line, where he beat Buster Skrine and Tannehill found him. He showed good body control by finishing the play and laying the ball inside the pylon to complete the touchdown. He even recovered an onside kick, despite looking to be a hair too early on the recovery. While Sunday will very likely go down as his season high for both catches and yards, he will undoubtedly remain a key part of the offense for the remainder of the season and going forward.

WR DeVante Parker, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 80 - 1 (10 targets)
DeVante Parker finally saw the field consistently on Sunday against the Jets. With Rishard Matthews limping off early, Parker was forced into a large role with the Dolphins down two scores or more for most of the game. There were good and bad elements to his performance, but he definitely flashed some of the ability that caused Miami to spend a high first-rounder on him. Early in the game, he struggled a bit, not going strong to the football, which saw two 15-20 yard plays broken up. Those issues may have simply come down to a lack of live game reps against true competition. However, he made a beautiful toe-tapping sideline catch in the second half. After going silent for most of the rest of the game, he beat Antonio Cromartie on an intermediate out route as the clock was ticking down in the 4th quarter. Not content with going out-of-bounds, Parker turned upfield, split the defenders and found the end-zone. For anyone who had forgotten or hadn’t seen DeVante Parker on the football field yet, it was a reminder of the talent that he possesses. With Rishard Matthews not returning to the game, and the Dolphins looking at a hopeless season, Parker’s chances should rise. If anything, it would help make the coaching opening attractive to an offensive minded coach.

WR Kenny Stills, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (10 targets)
It was another lost day for Kenny Stills on Sunday against the Jets. Despite Rishard Matthews leaving the game early, and the Dolphins falling in a major hole, Stills did not have efficient day. He did see 10 targets, but the majority of those ended up being throwaways by Ryan Tannehill from poor snaps. He did make an acrobatic catch on the sideline in the second half, but he was out of bounds when he caught it. On the final drive for the game, Tannehill threw an accurate deep-ball to Stills, but he let it hit off his hands in the end zone. With the impending ascension of DeVante Parker, even if Matthews misses extended time, Stills will likely remain just the #3 receiver, and with Landry, the RBs, and Parker/Matthews likely to dominate targets, there usually will not be 10 targets for him.

WR Greg Jennings, 19 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 9 - 1 (3 targets)
Greg Jennings made a cameo appearance for the Dolphins, catching a touchdown on a 4th and goal play in the fourth quarter of their loss against the Jets. Jennings was the clear #5 receiver, as when Rishard Matthews was hurt on the third offensive play of the game for Miami, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills both picked up the slack at receiver over Jennings. The veteran saw some burn though, catching his touchdown on a back-of-the-endzone crossing route. It was a consolation touchdown for the Dolphins, as it brought them within 3 scores at the time, late in the 4th quarter. Even if Matthews misses some time, Jennings is very unlikely to see a bump in snaps, let alone a jump in production.

WR Rishard Matthews, 3 offensive snaps (1 targets)
Rishard Matthews took a nasty shot on the third offensive play of the game and did not return to the game. On pass that was thrown a little behind, which probably could’ve been deemed uncatchable, Matthews took a shot in the back from Calvin Pryor. He was immediately ruled out with chest and rib injuries. The only notable player to step up in Matthews’ absence was rookie DeVante Parker, who started making some plays. While Matthews has broken out this season, he’s fallen off the pace a bit over the last few weeks. With the Parker ascension officially on, Matthews has probably seen his best days this season.

TE Jordan Cameron, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (3 targets)
It was another low target, low production game for Jordan Cameron on Sunday in New Jersey. Despite Ryan Tannehill throwing a whopping 58 times, just 3 of those passes went towards Cameron. It’s as if the athletic tight end has been slowly fazed out of the offense as the season has worn on. He’s beginning to lose snaps to Dion Sims, and any chemistry that was built between him and Tannehill in training camp and early in the regular season is nonexistent. While it’s highly unlikely interim offensive coordinator Zac Taylor can make Cameron a productive player (and usable fantasy TE) over the final 5 weeks of the season, it will be up to the new coaching staff to figure out how to properly utilize him. His talent will continue to go to waste until then.


New York Jets

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 37 - 277 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 21 - 0
Amidst a ‘quarterback controversy’ after two poor performances, Ryan Fitzpatrick silenced any doubters by turning in a four-touchdown, turnover-free outing. Still playing with a brace on his left hand, Fitzpatrick’s passes were much crisper than prior weeks. Fitzpatrick attacked Miami’s defense with his arm and legs, throwing caution to wind when scrambling and diving ‘head first’ for first downs. Fitzpatrick took turns picking on Miami’s corners, singling out Brent Grimes, Jamar Taylor and Brice McCain at different points during the game. Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall abused Grimes throughout the game, utilizing Marshall’s larger frame to win one-on-one and jump ball situations. Fitzpatrick and Marshall hooked up for two touchdown strikes, once during the first quarter and a second time during the fourth quarter. During the first quarter, Marshall ran a corner route and Fitzpatrick lobbed the ball in for a 16-yard score. Later in the fourth quarter, Marshall ran a slant route and hauled in a 3-yard touchdown. Marshall easily won at the catch point, making the scoring plays seem somewhat routine. Devin Smith scored his first touchdown right before halftime, running a tight post route and catching a strike from Fitzpatrick for a 16-yard touchdown. Fitzpatrick showed a lot of faith for targeting Smith in a high leverage situation—and Smith cashed in. Eric Decker found the end zone for the 7th time this season, running a slant route and hauling in a 2-yard touchdown pass during the third quarter. Credit Quincy Enunwa for clearing out the defenders and Fitzpatrick for instantly recognizing that Decker was wide open. Fitzpatrick proved that, without a shadow of a doubt, he gives this team the best chance to win games.

RB Chris Ivory, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 87 - 1, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (2 targets)
Chris Ivory was largely contained by Miami’s run defense, but looked much more explosive than he did in prior weeks. Ivory’s explosiveness was on full display during New York’s first snap on offense; Ivory ripped a 16-yard run off left tackle and carried a few defenders for extra yardage. Midway through the fourth quarter, Ivory busted loose for a 31-yard touchdown scamper. Credit New York’s offensive line, which added Nick Mangold back into the fold, for opening running lanes and letting Ivory cruise into the open field. With Ivory and Bilal Powell seemingly healthy at the same time for the first time in two months, Ivory out-snapped Powell 3-to-1. This was an encouraging sign and bodes well for his upcoming match-ups.

RB Bilal Powell, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 28 - 0, Rec: 2 - 7 - 0 (5 targets)
Bilal Powell spelled Chris Ivory throughout the game and caught a few passes on third downs. New York’s controlled the clock and the game flow for nearly the entire game, so his opportunities were somewhat limited.

RB Stevan Ridley, 5 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0
Stevan Ridley saw limited snaps and was unable to establish himself. Ridley received one red zone carry, but was stopped for a 2-yard gain.

WR Brandon Marshall, 71 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 131 - 2 (11 targets)
Miami’s decision to leave Brent Grimes in one-on-one situations against Brandon Marshall proved to be costly. Marshall used his size and tactical route running ability to beat Grimes at will. Marshall caught nine of his 11 targets, which included touchdown receptions during the first and fourth quarters. During the first quarter, Marshall ran a post route and easily caught a back-shoulder throw from Fitzpatrick to complete a 16-yard scoring play. For whatever reason, Grimes looked befuddled on the play and Marshall-Fitzpatrick connected for a relatively easy pitch-and-catch. During the fourth quarter, Marshall hauled in his second touchdown pass, a 3-yard strike to give New York a 28-7 lead. Marshall dominated Grimes in both meeting this season, proving that he is extra motivated when playing his ex-teammates.

WR Eric Decker, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 62 - 1 (9 targets)
Another week, another solid performance by Eric Decker. Decker caught his seventh touchdown pass of the season, running a quick slant and completing a 3-yard scoring play in the third quarter. New York stacked Decker and Quincy Enunwa in the slot and utilized Enunwa to clear out the defenders. Decker was open at the catch point and did a nice job of looking the ball in to finish the scoring play. Outside of the scoring play, Decker dominated Brice McCain in one-on-one situations. Decker ran his normal route tree, utilizing his size and strength to win on shallow crossing routes and come back routes. Decker could have padded his stat line with an additional touchdown, but dropped an easy touchdown during the first half.

WR Devin Smith, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 33 - 1 (3 targets)
It’s been a frustrating rookie season for Devin Smith, but his road to redemption started in the second quarter. Right before halftime, Smith ran a tight post route, won inside position against Jamar Clark, and hauled in a strike from Fitzpatrick to complete a 16-yard scoring play. Given the time remaining on the game clock, it was a totally ‘trust throw’ by Fitzpatrick and an exceptional individual effort by Smith to finish the scoring play. After Smith scored, his teammates rushed to congratulate him knowing that it’s been a tough season for the rookie from Ohio State.

WR Quincy Enunwa, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 29 - 0 (6 targets)
Quincy Enunwa did a great job of blocking on the edge and setting up opportunities for his teammates, but had a limited impact as a pass catcher. Enunwa secured both of his catches during the second quarter on shallow crossing routes and generated yardage after the catch. Enunwa and Fitzpatrick were unable to connect on a few deep passes, but their timing is still a work-in-progress.