After an unbelievable win on the road versus the Lions in NFL Week 1, the Jets faced the Miami Dolphins. Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold had a chance to continue to build off the previous victory against Detroit.
As the 1st quarter was winding down, Darnold threw to Quincy Enunwa but was intercepted by Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald at the Jets 45 yard line. McDonald was tackled at the Jets 15 yard line. Three plays later, Miami converted the turnover into a Kenyan Drake touchdown up the middle to give them a 7-0 lead over New York.
In the 2nd quarter on play action, Robby Anderson caught a pass from Sam but LB Kiko Alonso came from behind and forced the ball to come out. Linebacker Raekwon McMillan recovered the fumble at the Jets 48 yard line. A few plays later, Dolphins receiver Albert Wilson caught a pass at the Jets 24 yard line on a crossing route. Cornerback Buster Skrine mistackled him at the Jets 18 yard line, allowing Wilson to run down the left sideline for the touchdown. The Jets trailed 14-0 with under 5 minutes to play in the 2nd quarter.
After New York punted the ball back on their next possession, Miami’s offense was helped by a Jets mistake. On 3rd down & 6, Jets corner Morris Claiborne got a penalty for holding on Danny Amendola. The flag negated a sack on quarterback Tannehill at the Jets 38 yard line. Afterwards, with no pressure on Tannehill for 3 seconds, he threw a TD to tight end A.J. Derby. Although kicker Jason Sanders missed the extra point wide right, the Dolphins still led 20-0.
The Jets offense had a chance to get on the scoreboard with 1 minute remaining in the 2nd quarter. But they squandered away a golden opportunity. From the Dolphins 14 yard line on 1st & 10, Enunwa was wide open on the right side of the end zone with no defenders around him. However, Darnold threw the ball away out of bounds as Enunwa stretched for the ball. Sam did not see him all alone as he saw the receivers were all covered by the defense. With 10 seconds left before the break, Darnold passed to Chris Herndon at Miami’s 2 yard line. Safety Redshad Jones tackled the tight end immediately and Chris was stopped short of the goal line. Time ran out and the first half ended with New York trailing by 3 scores.
The Jets offense finally clicked to begin the 3rd quarter. A drive of 7 plays and 75 yards ended with Darnold throwing to running back Powell at the Dolphins 18 yard line. Bilal outran McMillan, who was in coverage, for the touchdown. Kicker Jason Myers missed the extra point wide left, keeping Gang Green behind 20-6.
On the Dolphins next possession, Jordan Jenkins got in Tannehill’s face on play action. The ball slipped out of Ryan’s right hand as he tried to pass the ball to a receiver and Jenkins recovered the fumble at the Dolphins 12 yard line.
After the turnover, Darnold threw to Terrelle Pryor in the back of the end zone but cornerback Xavien Howard intercepted the pass. The Dolphins got a touchback & started at Miami’s 20 yard line.
Dolphins center Daniel Kilgore mishandled the snap & the ball hit his left foot. Jets linebacker Avery Williamson recovered the fumble at the Jets 41 yard line. During the Jets drive, 2 consecutive false starts by guards Brian Winters and James Carpenter pushed the offense back to 1st down & 20 at the Dolphins 35 yard line. Sam”s pass was overthrown over Pryor’s hands between 2 defenders on 3rd down & 22, forcing Myers to kick a 55 yard field goal. New York’s offense would continue to struggle on their next possession ending with Myers barely making a 41 yard field goal, keeping the Jets behind 20-12 in the 4th quarter.
With 6 minutes remaining in the game, Gang Green would not get the ball back again as their defense allowed RB Kenyon Drake to run for a 20 yard gain and a Frank Gore catch for 20 yards. The final nail in the coffin was Tannehill running for the 1st down on 3rd down & 6 with the Jets out of timeouts. Three Miami kneeldowns later, New York lost 20-12.
In his 2nd NFL start, Darnold was 25 of 41 for 334 yards and a touchdown. His passes were erratic and nowhere near his receivers. His 2 interceptions shattered the drives as the offense was moving down the field. He lamented his mistakes afterwards.
“Just missed opportunities. I think that goes for every game where you look at all the plays you wish you could have back.” Darnold said.
When New York was able to get into scoring position, they did not take advantage of it. The offense converted zero attempts of the 2 tries in Miami’s redzone while the Dolphins were 2 of 3 in the Jets territory.
“We turned the ball over in our red zone. We had a turnover in their red zone that led to points. We have to make sure we take care of the football.” head coach Todd Bowles said.
To make matters worse, not only did Darnold have a terrible game passing the ball but Gang Green had no semblance of a running game. The team had 42 rushing yards compared to Miami’s 135 rushing yards. With the 3 turnovers that the Jets committed in the game, it was no wonder that they scored 12 points. The rookie quarterback had too much to bear on his shoulders, causing him to struggle throughout the 4 quarters. With a primetime game coming up in a few days, Darnold had not much time to dwell on this loss.
“Short week, got a game Thursday and we’ve got to right back to it tonight.”