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Were the Dolphins Even Trying to Compete Last Night?

At the risk of saying something that Kevin Burnett will see and angrily respond to, I watched Jets 24, Dolphins 6 with much bewilderment Monday night: I know the Dolphins are bad, but were they even trying? I lost track of the dropped passes. Brandon Marshall appeared to be headed down the sideline for a score before losing his balance (?) and then running a tightrope and falling out of bounds. The Jets’ offensive line had been horrific of late, yet the Dolphins couldn’t generate a pass rush. It had to be one of the most flat performances – the game was unwatchable – of any team I’ve seen this year. And they had the previous week off!

As a guy who predicted the Dolphins would get the No. 1 pick back in May, I’ll say this about the Andrew Luck sweepstakes: Look for injuries to mysterious mount for Miami and Indianapolis as the season wears on. And while neither team is “tanking,” I’d say neither team is actively trying to win, either, not with Matt Moore and Curtis Painter at QB.

(Bonus note from Sunday: Pierre Garcon, what the hell was this?)

The Jets? A hideous first quarter and a half offensively. Brian Schottenheimer did finally show creativity in the offense – I liked the shovel pass to LT, I liked the direct snap to LT, and even though it failed miserably and I would have never called it on 3rd and 4, the halfback option pass idea was new. I also liked seeing Sanchez (14-of-25, 201 yards, one passing TD, one rushing TD) more in the shotgun formation. That’s all the good news. The bad news? Schottenheimer probably kept his job for a few more weeks (until the next three-game losing streak).

Positives:
Kenrick Ellis. The rookie’s first game of the season was impressive. He was a wrecking ball on the interior even though he only had two tackles.
Revis. Without him, the Jets are a 5-11 team. Really.
Calvin Pace was disruptive on defense (two sacks) and is quietly having a good season.
Wayne Hunter did a terrific job containing Cameron Wake.
Joe McKnight has become a threat on kickoffs and even caught two passes. His horrendous rookie year is behind him. He’s almost looking like a wise draft pick.
Aaron Maybin might have the best closing speed of anyone on the defense. Make him a designated pass-rusher. He had a sack and two forced fumbles.
The offense didn’t turn the ball over for the second straight game! Excellent!

Negatives:
Antonio Cromartie remains unimpressive.
Twice in six games the Jets have not been able to field the kickoff, and the opponent has recovered. That just can’t happen.
The safties still sink.

Overall takeaway: I wrote in the preseason preview that the Jets’ had fulfilled their potential and a correction was coming. Six games in, it feels like the Jets are on borrowed time. Two wins over the Jags and Dolphins (combined 1-10), and a lucky win against Dallas. New York has to play significantly better on offense to have a chance against San Diego next Sunday.

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