After a week of back and forth trash talking, the Miami Dolphins did their talking on the field and there really was no contest. The Dolphins left New York after a 30-9 rout of the rival Jets to improve their record to 4-3 and remain in second place in the division. The Jets fall to 3-5 and find themselves in the AFC East basement.
Miami's start to the game wasn't exactly encouraging as rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill limped off the field with the Dolphins holding a 3-0 lead following a sack by Calvin Pace. With the fan base holding their collective breaths and expecting the worse, backup Matt Moore entered the game in a situation extremely similar to last season. Tannehill did not return and it was later revealed that he suffered a quad contusion, however he is optimistic to play next week.
After a 33 yard Dan Carpenter field goal opened the scoring, the Dolphins aggressive play calling continued as they successfully recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. Although the recovery didn't result in any points, Miami's special teams unit came up big later in the quarter as Jimmy Wilson blocked a Jets punt which was recovered by rookie Olivier Vernon in the end zone. The touchdown gave Miami a 10-0 advantage.
On the next Jets' possession, Mark Sanchez couldn't avoid the blitz, getting strip sacked by Nolan Carroll and Paul Soliai recovered putting Miami in prime field position at the New York 32 yard line. With Moore at the helm, the Dolphins only needed six plays until Daniel Thomas found pay dirt for the score and a 17-0 Dolphins lead. Carpenter drilled his second of three field goals in the game, this one from 39 yards out to make it 20-0. With the Jets threatening to score points before the half, Olivier Vernon blocked a 35 yard Nick Folk field goal attempt to keep New York off the board. The miss was Folk's first of the season.
It look over two quarters but the Jets eventually recorded points as Folk split the uprights with a 38 yard attempt. Miami quickly put an end to any momentum New York generated by capping a 6 play, 40 yard drive with a 4 yard touchdown pass from Moore to Fasano in the back of the end zone, extending the lead to 27-3. A Chaz Schilens 5 yard touchdown was as close at the Jets would get as the 2 point conversion and onside kick both failed. With the game already out of reach, the Dolphins coaching staff sent Carpenter out for a third time in what is believed to be an attempt to increase his confidence from early season misses. The 42 yard kick was good, sealing the 30-9 victory.
Matt Moore's numbers of 11-for-19 passing for 131 yards and 1 touchdown are not eye popping but the veteran quarterback was impressively able to manage the game and put Miami in a position to win without turning the ball over. Bush and Thomas saw equal work as Bush finished with 59 yards on 14 carries and Thomas totalled 42 yards on the ground on 15 attempts. While Bush has yet to regain his early season form, his performance today was an improvement over recent weeks. Jabar Gaffney had one reception for 30 yards in his Miami debut and Brian Hartline finished with 4 catches for 41 yards. The Dolphins defence prevented the Jets from finding a rhythm all game long as they came up with four sacks, one interception and one forced fumble. A lot of credit belongs to Miami's special teams coach Darren Rizzi who dialled up a successful onside kick, a blocked punt, blocked field goal and a 57 yard kickoff return all in a single game.
After a 1-3 start to the season, the surging Dolphins have reeled off three straight victories to split the season series with the Jets. The win also means the Dolphins who are currently the 5th seed in the AFC keep pace with the division leading New England Patriots and remain a half game back. Up next, the Dolphins travel to Indianapolis to take on the 4-3 Colts looking to keep their momentum going.