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Unease Amid Dominance: Miami’s 34-13 Victory Over Jets
Unease Amid Dominance: Miami’s 34-13 Victory Over Jets
May 22, 2024 11:31 PM

On the heels of Thanksgiving, the NFL debuted its first-ever Black Friday showdown at MetLife Stadium between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins. The holiday feast may had concluded, but the Dolphins exhibited an insatiable hunger to get back to 8-3. As soon as Miami won the coin toss and elected to defer, confidence soared among fans for good reason. The Dolphins’ defense, statistically superior to the struggling Jets’ offense in every aspect on paper, promised an advantage. This was because the Jets were starting undrafted free agent quarterback Nick Boyle who was thrown into the starting QB role after QB Zach Wilson was benched the week prior. And when the Dolphins defense forced a punt on the Jets’ first possession, Dolphins fans knew that New York’s offense would be the least of their problems throughout the game.

And things were going well for the Dolphins, that was until Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa threw his second pick-six of the season with under 2 minutes left in the first half when the score was 10-0. And the narrative that the only thing that could stop this Dolphins team was self-inflicted wounds resurfaced in the classic Dolphins way. Miami would go back on offense with under a minute left in the half after throwing that pick-six, in a half where they should have shut out the Jets. Nevertheless, clinging to a narrow 10-6 lead (Jets missed the PAT, lol), they fervently sought a redemptive offensive drive, with under 60 seconds in the second quarter; aiming to head into halftime without a sour taste in their mouth.

It only took a couple of first downs, up to midfield, with seconds to go when Tua threw his second interception in under 60 seconds. The Jets would take over on their 49-yard line with 2 seconds left in the half.

And if it weren’t for the Jets being the Jets, or perhaps Jevon Holland channeling his inner Wide Receiver from his high school days in Oakland, California, the Dolphins would have carried a ‘disappointing’ 10-6 lead into halftime (at best). But Dolphins safety Jevon Holland had other plans. The Jets weren’t content with trailing merely 10-6 heading into halftime; they craved more. This led the coach of an underwhelming team, failing to meet season expectations, to resort to a Hail Mary attempt from midfield, seeking to spark some unforeseen magic.

And boy, did that plan backfire.

Tim Boyle dropped back and executed the Hail Mary, sending the ball soaring into the end zone where Holland positioned himself perfectly, waiting for the ball to descend right into the breadbasket. And from the Dolphins’ one-yard line, Jevon Holland snatched the ball and dashed 99 yards in the other direction, with the clock hitting zero seconds as he raced down the field.

The Dolphins entered halftime with a 17-6 lead in a defensively charged game. As some fans reveled in Miami’s longest interception return since 2002, others remained uneasy with the offense’s performance and their quarterback, who had already tallied two interceptions by halftime, a marked difference from the 2022 season where he threw only eight interceptions the entire season.

But in the second half, Miami’s defense took full advantage of every opportunity against the Jets’ offense. Only managing to secure a single touchdown in garbage time, the Jets struggled as the Dolphins defense flexed its muscles. With 7 sacks and 3 turnovers on the day, including one resulting in a touchdown, the Dolphins’ defensive performance clearly dictated the course of the game.

However, fortune favored the Dolphins only until the moment 3rd year standout LB Jaelan Phillips was carted off with an Achilles injury in the fourth quarter. Phillips, who had been delivering a season akin to an All-Pro, will be a monumental loss for the Dolphins defensive as his injury likely means he’s done for the season.

So perhaps it was the Phillips injury that left fans unsettled despite a double-digit win over a division rival on the road. Still, it’s worth noting that Miami outscored any other team against the Jets this season. Notably, both Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle combined for 200 yards, while running back Raheem Mostert scored two touchdowns on the ground.

Perhaps it’s worth extending some leniency to the Dolphins’ offense. After all, they had to contend with one of the league’s elite defenses, despite facing a Jets offense that ranks among the bottom five in the NFL.

However, it’s evident that there’s room for improvement. Whether it was Tyreek Hill’s dropped touchdown on fourth and 1 at the beginning of the game or Tagovailoa’s two interceptions, one of which resulted in a pick-six, these are the areas that demand refinement.

For the Dolphins to realize their deep postseason aspirations, one thing remains clear–they must address these concerns while also managing to mitigate injuries to key players.

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