Brian Flores made it clear that the Dolphins were not going to take the winless Jets gingerly despite coming off a double-digit victory.
“I’m not taking anyone lightly,” Flores said. “That’s going to be my message to the team. That’s how we should approach every game.”
For once, the odds were on Miami’s side, as they were favorited in a game for the first time in the Flores era. And they earned that right, dismantling an already lifeless team in their 24-0 shutout win over New York.
Of the Dolphins’ three wins this season, this one appeared to be the easiest. Here are five reasons why.
1 — Defensive line set the tone early.
During the Jets’ first two offensive drives, quarterback Joe Flacco was unable to complete a single pass. That’s thanks to the defensive line, which forced Flacco to throw three of his four passes under pressure.
The Dolphins’ defensive line continued their dominance throughout the match, as the unit recorded three sacks, six tackles for loss and eight QB hits. They also took the Jets out of field-goal territory twice. First, as they capitalized off a bad snap and brought down Flacco on 3rd and 12 for a six-yard loss which would put New York on the MIA 40-yard-line and force a punt.
With the ball on the MIA 24 late in the third quarter, Shaq Lawson rushed Flacco and forced him into an intentional grounding, resulting in a 4th and 14 at the MIA 37. That led to a 55-yard missed field-goal by Sam Ficken.
2 — Defense prevailed on third downs.
Coming into the match, the Dolphins were ranked No. 7 in the NFL in third-down defense with a 38.0 conversion rate. They were nearly perfect in that category on Sunday, as the Jets finished 2-17 on third downs.
In addition to the defensive line, the secondary picked apart the Jets, as they batted down a season-high nine passes. Cornerback Xavien Howard also reminded defenses to not throw at him, as he garnered his four interceptions in just as many games. Howard is tied with Washington’s Kendall Fuller with a league-lead four INT’s this season.
“The ball finds me, man,” Howard said.
3 — Myles Gaskin doing what he does best.
Myles Gaskin had his best outing as a Dolphin, and it’s not just because the Jets are in the top 10 for most opponent rushing yards allowed. The second-year running back rushed for 91 yards on 18 carries (5.1 YPC), and also caught four passes for 35 yards.
Gaskin ranked No. 3 in the league in missed tackles with 17 prior to the match, and he continued to utilize his shiftiness and speed to create holes and solid gains.
Gaskin leads Miami in rushing with 340 yards on 82 carries, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. He’s also been Ryan Fitzpatrick’s main target on screen passes and check-downs, as Gaskin’s 27 catches for 182 yards are the second-most receptions on the team.
As the former seventh-round draft pick continues to find his identity in the NFL, he could become Miami’s main running back for the future.
“I am very thankful the coaches have put trust in me but I think I can do better,” Gaskin said. “I need to keep growing. I’ve been learning.”
4 — The Dolphins’ offense had more than enough opportunities to score.
The Jets were forced to punt 10 times on Sunday, which made up for Miami’s poor offensive execution, as they were repeatedly handed the ball back throughout the match.
New York also registered seven penalties for 80 yards, one of which was a face-mask call that gave the Dolphins good field position and led to a Fitzpatrick touchdown in the second quarter. Miami’s third touchdown in the first half was guided by a 30-yard punt return by Jakeem Grant.
Miami’s offense wasn’t good against New York, they just took advantage of the opportunities handed to them. The Dolphins were 1-9 on third downs, and the one came during Tua Tagovailoa’s garbage-time reps. Fitzpatrick threw for just 191 yards and had two bad interceptions.
So while the scoreboard may look pretty, the Dolphins offense that lit up the 49ers for 30 points in the first half last week was not present versus the Jets.
5 — The Jets are just bad.
It’s safe to say that it doesn’t get any worse than the Jets. The Dolphins outmatched them in every single category, but so would every other team in the league.
The truth of the matter is that the Jets are the most beatable team in the league, which must be noted by Miami as they prepare for a Broncos team that recently upset the Patriots.