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Week 9 Game Recap: New York Jets 18, Miami Dolphins 26


What you need to know

New York Jets

There’s no two ways about it – the Jets are a train wreck. The offensive line can’t block, the quarterback has regressed to his Pop Warner days, and none of that matters anyway as the playcalling is largely inept. Jamison Crowder is catching the ball more, so in a PPR league he has value, but the juggernaut of sadness that is the Jets offense has even worn Le’Veon Bell’s value down to nothing. This is bad and won’t get better.

Miami Dolphins

It took 9 weeks, but the Miami Dolphins finally got their first win of the season. Their win came against a reeling Jets team that has struggled all season. Ryan Fitzpatrick marched the offense up and down the field and held the lead for almost the entire game after a dominating 2nd quarter where they put up 21 points. There were a few moments where you may have thought they would pull a Miami and blow their lead. A bad safety in the 2nd quarter and big touchdown catch by Jamison Crowder early made it look like the Jets had a fighting chance. The defense stepped up this week with 3 sacks and an interception but also seemed to be in Sam Darnold’s face all game. The defense registered 9 quarterback hits and knocked down 2 passes in the air in their most complete performance of the season. The only real down side to this victory is it takes them out of the #1 overall pick spot and with the way things are going in Cincinnati, they may not get it back. Miami will travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts next week as they look for their second win of the season.

New York Jets

QB Sam Darnold, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 39 - 260 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0
It was another awful performance by Darnold, who at one point had guard Brian Winters yelling at him. Things actually went well on the first drive, as the Jets drove down the field and Darnold connected with Jamison Crowder on a 15 yard pass where the receiver was wide open as he entered the end zone. Darnold and Crowder actually connected four times on that drive alone. After that nice start, however, things went downhill in a rapid fashion. The low points – and there were ample to choose from – were the mishandled snap that resulted in a safety and his goal line interception. On the safety, Winters thought he saw Darnold signal to snap the ball and motioned for the center to do so. Darnold was not ready, and ball sailed past him into the end zone. On the interception, the Jets were on the three yard line of the Dolphins, and Adam Gase called a pass play. The Dolphins easily got through the offensive line, and pressured Darnold who made an ill-advised throw to the end zone where it was picked off. By now, Darnold should know to either throw the ball out the back of the end zone or just take the sack and so his continued inability to make smart decisions under duress – which, admittedly he is under a lot – is a huge concern as this season has been one of massive regression for him. He was sacked just three times Sunday, but the offensive line isn’t giving him much help, and the playcalling is not putting him into positions to succeed.

RB LeVeon Bell, 63 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 66 - 0, Rec: 8 - 55 - 0 (9 targets)
Bell finally saw a decent amount of touches, but it wasn’t terribly consistent and the offensive line play is so bad, even he is wearing down to the point of irrelevance. He may have struggled in part due to a knee injury his coach said the team was unaware of. His only decent run was a 14 yard play late which came in part because the Dolphins were content to sit back and play deep on a 3-and-22 for the Jets offense. The nature of his injury remains unknown as of Monday night.

RB Bilal Powell, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 16 - 0
Powell once again saw almost no work, though he did have a nice ten yard run in the second quarter, where both of his carries took place.

WR Jamison Crowder, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 83 - 1 (9 targets)
This was the week where Crowder and Sam Darnold connected, doing so four times in the very first drive, which was capped off with a 12 yard touchdown pass to Crowder. On the play, Crowder lined up inside, and crossed underneath to the outside. The coverage appeared to get caught in the crowd, allowing the receiver to get wide open on his way into the end zone for a simple reception. He also made a very nice catch on a throw later in the quarter, when Darnold had to throw off his back foot, and Crowder reached back to make the catch. The two seem to be on the same page now, and that could mean good things for Crowder going forward.

WR Robby Anderson, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 33 - 0 (4 targets)
Anderson saw very little work, again mostly because Sam Darnold has no time to throw, and appears to have some tunnel vision even when he does, locking onto Jamison Crowder and Le’Veon Bell. The Dolphins don’t have the corners to cover deep, but the Jets don’t seem to give enough time to their quarterback to throw it deep either, and despite a good matchup ahead in the form of the Giants, it doesn’t look like Anderson will see too many targets going forward.

WR Demaryius Thomas, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (3 targets)
Thomas had a really nice catch to convert on a fourth down but was otherwise absent from the gameplan.

WR Vyncint Smith, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 20 - 0 (3 targets)
Smith had an unreal kick return of 78 yards where he flashed some speed, great balance and a nice stiff arm. Unfortunately, the Jets – down 21-7 at the time – couldn’t convert on that drive as Sam Darnold threw an ill-advised pass for an interception, killing the momentum Smith had kicked off. Smith saw a few targets on the Jets’ final drive, catching one for a nice 20-yard gain but also missed on one several plays later.

TE Ryan Griffin, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 50 - 0 (8 targets)
Griffin had a decent day as Chris Herndon was out once again, and could have had an even better day had he been able to hang on to a ball late in the second quarter. Unfortunately, the play was reversed upon review and then Sam Darnold threw an interception on the next play.


Miami Dolphins

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 36 - 288 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 2 - 0
It was a banner day for Fitzpatrick and the Miami offense. The passing game was the only thing that seemed to work for the Dolphins as the rushing attack averaged just over 2 yards per carry, but that did not matter with Fitzpatrick finding the end zone 3 times in the 2nd quarter. His first touchdown pass went to Preston Williams for 12 yards and was simply a blown coverage by the Jets. Williams ran a skinny post and both the corner and safety went to cover the running back leaking into the flat rather than Williams. It was an easy pitch and catch for the score from there and Fitzpatrick had a clean pocket and there was not a defender within 5 yards of Williams. The second touchdown capped off a 12 play 77-yard drive with a 17-yard pass to DeVante Parker. Fitzpatrick made a beautiful back shoulder throw to Parker right at the pylon for the score. It was a dangerous play as Fitzpatrick stared down his receiver and never looked in any other direction, but Parker used his body to box out the corner in coverage and make sure no one else could make a play on the ball. The third touchdown again went to Williams for a 5-yard score. It was a quick 1-step drop and throw to Williams running a slant. The ball found him between 2 defenders and was not contested. This drive was fueled by a 34-yard bomb to Mike Gesicki down deep down the right side line that could have gone for a touchdown had he not been tripped up by his man in coverage at the last second. Fitzpatrick had an ugly safety where he tried to get out of the end zone and ended up falling right on the goal line and was sacked 4 times for a loss of 22 yards. This performance should keep his job safe from Josh Rosen for a while longer, but with the Dolphins actively tanking this year there is no knowing what they will do.

RB Mark Walton, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 29 - 0, Rec: 3 - 12 - 0 (4 targets)
For all of the success that Fitzpatrick and the passing game had, the rushing attack struggled this week. Walton was given the keys to the back field when the team traded Kenyan Drake, but he was unable to do anything with them this week. He averaged just 2.4 yards per carry on 12 carries and made a minimal impact as a receiver. Miami combined to rush for just 50 yards on 24 carries and the longest run of the day was by Walton for 14 yards. Nearly half of his yards came on that single carry and the rest he was tackled at or near the line of scrimmage for minimal gains. The Jets did not have to respect the run at all this week and Miami had no luck with play action passes. The team clearly liked Walton enough to ship off their incumbent starter but he is going to have to do a lot more if he wants to keep the job the rest of this season and into next.

WR Preston Williams, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 72 - 2 (9 targets)
After quietly meddling away as the best receiving option on a very bad team, Williams finally had a true break out game. Williams caught 5 of his 9 targets for 72 yards and found the end zone twice this week. He had the second longest play for either team with a 26-yard reception and was a reliable source for big chunks or yards and first downs this week. His first touchdown catch went for 12 yards and was a blown coverage by the Jets defense. Williams ran a skinny post and saw both the corner and safety jump into the flat to try and cover the running back as he leaked out of the back field. Williams was standing all alone in the end zone in the exact place the safety should have been. IT was an easy pitch and catch from there for the score. His second touchdown went for 5 yards and was a quick hitting slant route. Williams stutter stepped off the line and cut to the inside and Fitzpatrick delivered a strike to his chest between 2 defenders for the touchdown. Williams has been one of the lone bright spots for the Miami offense so far this season and this was his best game by far. Unfortunately, he suffered an ACL tear and is out for the season.

WR DeVante Parker, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 57 - 1 (6 targets)
If Parker continues to play like this, he may actually have a chance to find a decent new home in the off season. He continued his solid run by catching 4 of his 6 targets and a very impressive touchdown. His longest play of the game was his 17-yard touchdown catch in the 2nd quarter that put Miami up 14-7 at the time. Fitzpatrick stared Parker down as soon as the ball was snapped and delivered a beautiful back shoulder ball the he caught right at the pylon. Parker used his body to box out the corner and made an amazing one-handed catch for the touchdown. The rest of his catches went for short to intermediate gains and helped keep drives alive for Miami. Parker has done a lot to improve his stock this season while playing on one of the worst teams in the NFL. HE can only hope to finally get out of Miami in the off season.

TE Mike Gesicki, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 95 - 0 (6 targets)
It has been a long time coming for Gesicki, but he finally lived up to the potential hype of where he was drafted. The big tight end led the team in receiving for the first time this week and did just about everything but score a touchdown. He caught all 6 of his targets for just under 100 yards. His longest play of the game helped to setup the third touchdown and went for 34 yards down the right side. HE simply blew past his man and Fitzpatrick hit him in stride down the side line. He needed just one more step and he would have sprung free for the touchdown, but he was taken down by a diving defender from behind. Gesicki has endured poor quarterback play and people questioning his abilities all season long. This game should go a long way towards proving his doubters wrong and the beginning of his development towards the potential they saw when they drafted him.