Miami Dolphins Week 13: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
In what was arguably their most complete performance of the 2013 season, the Miami Dolphins dominated the New York Jets 23-3 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Ryan Tannehill passed for a pair of touchdowns while the Dolphins' defense held the Jets in check for the entire day.
With the win, Miami remained tied for the final wild card spot in the AFC at 6-6. What was a six-team tie for that spot entering the week is now a two-way tie between the Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens, who do hold the tiebreaker over Miami. In their last five trips to East Rutherford to face the New York Jets, the Dolphins are now 4-1 thanks to Sunday's victory. Miami also moved into sole possession of second place in the AFC East behind the New England Patriots.
The Dolphins will look to win consecutive games for the first time since their 3-0 start as Miami visits the Pittsburgh Steelers next week. The Miami Dolphins are back to .500 on the season and looking back at a much-needed victory on Sunday, here were the good, bad and ugly for Miami against the New York Jets:
Ryan Tannehill hit the 300-yard passing mark for the second straight week going 28-for-43 with 331 yards passing and two touchdowns while throwing just one interception. Sunday's effort was the fourth 300-yard game of the season for Tannehill making him the first Miami quarterback to throw for 300 yards four times in one season since Dan Marino in 1998. Tannehill went over the 3,000-yard passing mark for the season. The Miami quarterback was also sacked just a single time on Sunday, the fewest allowed by the Dolphins' front five this season. Tannehill was able to help aid the running game as well going for 22 yards on the ground on just three carries.
It was a solid day all around for the Miami ground game as the Dolphins rushed for 125 yards against a team that entered the day as the best in the NFL against the run. Lamar Miller led the way for Miami with a game-high 72 yards on a career-high 22 carries.
Brian Hartline had a big receiving day for the Dolphins going for a season-high 127 yards on a season-high tying nine receptions. Hartline also scored his first touchdown since the third week of the season which gives him three on the season to tie a career-high.
After just one touchdown reception in his first 10 games as a Dolphin, Hartline's partner in crime, Mike Wallace, found the end zone for a second straight week. Wallace finished with 82 yards receiving on seven catches which included a 28-yard touchdown grab. Tight end Charles Clay also added seven catches for 80 yards.
As a team, the Dolphins put up a season-high 453 yards of offense while the Miami defense allowed a season-low 177 yards to the Jets. Miami also held the Jets to 2-for-12 on third down, a 17 percent conversion rate.
Three different Miami receivers had more yards than the Jets had passing as a team. Miami held New York to 78 net passing yards and forced Jets' head coach Rex Ryan to pull starting quarterback Geno Smith after just a half.
Miami finished the day with four sacks and was led by defensive end Olivier Vernon, who had a career-day with 2.5 sacks. Koa Misi also added a sack for the Dolphins.
The Dolphins also recorded a pair of interceptions and forced three total turnovers. Cornerback Brent Grimes is now tied for the team-lead with four picks on the season while linebacker Dannell Ellerbe came up with his second interception of the year. Ellerbe has more interceptions this year than all Miami linebackers combined for a season ago.
After allowing over 100 yards on the ground in five straight games, Miami also put that streak to rest on Sunday as the Dolphins held the Jets to 99 yards rushing on 22 carries. Aside from a 32-yard run by Jets' running back Chris Ivory, New York averaged just over three yards-per-carry on the afternoon.
Miami possessed the ball nearly 18 minutes longer than the Jets and New York held the football for less than six minutes in the first half. The three points scored by New York was the fewest yielded by Miami all season long and the 20-point win was the largest margin of victory for the Dolphins since December 16th of last season when they topped the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-3.
Kicker Caleb Sturgis missed another very makeable field goal on Miami's opening drive on Sunday pushing a 41-yard attempt to the right. Since making his first 10 kicks this season, Sturgis is 13-for-20 on field goals.
While Ryan Tannehill was outstanding on Sunday, he was intercepted by Antonio Cromartie in the second quarter. The pick marked Tannehill's fourth straight game with an interception thrown and the Dolphins' seventh straight game with at least one turnover.
The Miami Dolphins squandered numerous scoring opportunities in the first half on Sunday despite statistically dominating the game. The Dolphins had a missed field goal, an interception and two turnovers on downs including one at the Jets' 1-yard-line in the first half. Although Miami accounted for 241 yards on its first five drives, the Dolphins managed just three points before an interception late in the first half set up the second of Caleb Sturgis' three field goals.