The New York Jets dominated in every aspect of a 27-14 dismantling of the Miami Dolphins on Sunday morning for all of 50 minutes before a late rally made the game close in the final minutes. Chris Ivory rumbled to 166 yards and a touchdown on 29 rushing attempts while Brandon Marshall hauled in seven receptions for 128 yards, which helped the Jets to a 27-7 lead that was too much for the Dolphins to overcome in London.
Slow starts are nothing new for Miami. Even in the team's only win of the season, the Dolphins were shut out in the first quarter against Washington before finally scoring enough to win in the fourth quarter. A 10-0 start for the Jets extended those opening quarter woes to 37-3 on the year.
But the bleeding didn't stop for the Dolphins until it was too late. The first score of the game for Miami came after a pair of pass interference calls against the Jets set the team up close enough for Ryan Tannehill to find Jake Stoneburner for an 8-yard touchdown with Quinton Coples breathing down his neck.
The penalties were two of 14 on the day for the Jets, who finished with a total of 163 penalty yards, which wasn't far off from the 226 yards of offense tallied by the Dolphins, mostly coming in the fourth quarter. Dan Fouts captured the mood early in the game:
By the time the Dolphins found enough offense to capitalize on a pair of shifty punt returns from Jarvis Landry and drive 37 yards for another touchdown pass by Tannehill, the Jets already rumbled to 27 points thanks to a career day from Ivory.
The running back entered Sunday with just five games with more than 100 yards rushing in his first 33 appearances for the Jets after signing a three-year contract with the team in 2013. His 166 yards against Miami represents a career-high, edging the 158 yards he racked up in a game during his rookie season with the New Orleans Saints.
One final chance to cut the Jets' lead to one score with a touchdown in the fourth quarter was spoiled when a pick play was penalized, which nullified a touchdown for Landry. It was followed by a Darrelle Revis interception just a few plays later. One more Dolphins drive ended with another interception and the Jets preserved the lead.
3 things we learned
Ryan Tannehill's running for his life. The Dolphins have weapons and one of the reasons why the team was in position to make the game close near the end was Jarvis Landry's special type of wiggle. Landry even ran the ball for 29 yards on two attempts, but finished with just four receptions against the Jets. That's mostly because Tannehill hardly ever had time to throw the ball downfield.
Instead, the Dolphins' quarterback was under consistent pressure from a Jets' defensive line that ate the Miami offensive line's lunch all day. That has plenty to do with the talent of a defensive line that features multiple first-round picks, but it's also an indictment of the quality of a Dolphins offensive line that is a large reason why the team is 1-3.
Ryan Fitzpatrick does just enough. There was nothing remarkable about Ryan Fitzpatrick's 218 yards, one touchdown and one interception, but the veteran quarterback managed to convert third downs and even ran for 34 yards while doing just enough to keep the Jets' offense efficient and effective.
Whether or not Fitzpatrick can push the ball downfield well enough to make the Jets a legitimate contender remains to be seen, but it has been enough to get the Jets to 3-1 and that's just fine.
This could be the end of the line for Joe Philbin. On Saturday there was a report that many Dolphins players were close to "throwing in the towel" for 2015 thanks to the team's rocky start and frustrations with the head coach. For most of Sunday morning, it looked like the Dolphins already did.
Philbin came to the Dolphins as an offensive genius who led the Green Bay Packers to five straight seasons in the top 10 in total offense, but the Dolphins look as inept as ever on that side of the ball despite having a young, ascending quarterback and plenty of talent to work with. With a Week 5 bye on the way, this is as logical a time as any for Miami to part ways with a head coach who isn't doing much to inspire hope for a salvaged season.
Sorry Dolphins fans, Philbin can't just be left at the airport, though.