NFL Wire News

Jets-Dolphins: What we learned


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Neither the New York Jets, nor the Miami Dolphins are headed to the playoffs.

The winning team, the Jets, faces an offseason full of uncertainty regarding its general manager, coach, quarterback and a slew of others.

The losing team, the Dolphins, had already decided to retain its head coach but now limps into the offseason on a down note.

That was the scene on an odd day.

The Jets, likely playing their final game under coach Rex Ryan, rallied from a 10-point third-quarter deficit to upset Miami 37-24 on Sunday afternoon at Sun Life Stadium.

“I’m not going to get into my situation,” Ryan said when asked about his job status. “It’s not about me. I’m proud to be the head coach of this team.”

Ryan, in his sixth season as Jets coach, is expected to be fired by Monday after a disappointing 4-12 season. The Jets, who missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season, are also expected to fire general manager John Idzik.

The Dolphins (8-8), who have not made the postseason since 2008, finished with the same record as last season. However, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross announced last week that coach Joe Philbin will be retained for next season.

“The Jets deserved to win,” Philbin said after New York reached its season high in points. “They outplayed us, and they outcoached us.”

Jets quarterback Geno Smith, who grew up just a few minutes from Sun Life Stadium and played for Miramar High School, passed for 358 yards and three touchdowns.

“Things haven’t gone our way this season, but we finished strong,” Smith said. “I believe in myself. But consistency is what I’m working on.”

Jets receiver Eric Decker caught 10 passes for 221 yards and one touchdown. The yardage was seven short of Don Maynard’s team record.

Dolphins running back Lamar Miller ran 19 times for 178 yards, including a 97-yard touchdown run that is the longest in franchise history. Miller, who needed 79 yards to go over 1,000 for the first time in his three-year career, finished well ahead of the milestone.

Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill passed for 259 yards and one touchdown. Tannehill also broke Dan Marino’s 1994 record for most completions in a season.

The third-year veteran from Texas A&M also joined Marino as the only passer in Dolphins history to pass for more than 4,000 yards in a season.

That was of little solace to the Dolphins, however, and Tannehill was stripped of his deep threat, wide receiver Mike Wallace, who did not play in the second half due to an unspecified coach’s decision.

The Jets were leading 27-24 with 4:19 left in the game when they executed a 38-yard completion from punter Ryan Quigley to third-string tight end Zach Sudfeld on a fake punt.

That led to a 23-yard TD pass from Smith to tight end Jeff Cumberland, giving New York a 34-24 lead.

What the Jets said:

“Everybody in this locker room loves Rex. We love playing for him.” — LB David Harris on the rumors that coach Rex Ryan will get fired.

What the Dolphins said:

“It’s very disappointing. When you have a 10-point lead, you expect to keep that lead.” – DT Jared Odrick, on the loss to the Jets.

What we learned about the Jets:

1. WR Eric Decker can be a big-time receiver in New York. Decker put up staggering numbers in Denver the past two years, but that was with Peyton Manning at quarterback. He has struggled with some nagging injuries in New York. Mostly, though, he struggled with awful quarterback play. Despite that, Decker caught 10 passes — he was targeted 11 times — for a career-high 221 yards on Sunday against Miami.

2. Don’t trust Geno Smith. He said after the game that he aims to be consistent, but he has been anything but that in his two years as the Jets’ quarterback. He was brilliant on Sunday, completing 20 of 25 passes for a career-high 358 yards and three TDs. But he also had four games this season in which he passed for less than 100 yards. The Jets will surely make a change at QB next year.

–QB Geno Smith had the best performance of his two-year NFL career. He completed 20 of 25 passes for a career-high 358 yards and three touchdowns. He was not intercepted and his passer rating was perfect — 158.3. Smith was only 2-10 as a Jets starter this season and his future is very much in doubt, but he finished strong.

–WR Eric Decker was targeted 11 times in Sunday’s season-ending 37-24 win over the Miami Dolphins and came up with 10 receptions for a career-high 221 yards. The 10 catches tied a career high. Decker finished the season with respectable numbers: 74 catches for 962 yards and five TDs. He had some nagging injuries this season that kept him out of one game and at less than 100 percent in some others. He also had to deal with the Jets’ mess at quarterback. If he gets healthier next season and has a better QB, he may take off. Remember, in Denver for two years playing with QB Peyton Manning, Decker averaged 86 catches for 1,176 yards and 12 TDs.

–RB Chris Johnson ran 10 times for 20 yards on Sunday. He is a prime example of why NFL running backs have a short shelf life. He ran for more than 2,000 yards in his second season as a pro, 2009. And he was still a 1,200-yard back in 2012. But his yardage totals have decreased in each of his past two seasons. He had averaged 3.9 yards per rush with Tennessee in 2013. And this season, with the Jets, is his first ever below 1,000 yards. Johnson is only 29, but his best days are almost certainly behind him. He finished this season with 663 yards.

–TE Jace Amaro had three catches for 34 yards on Sunday. Amaro has been a major disappointment this season. A second-round pick, Amaro set an NCAA record at Texas Tech for reception yards by a tight end. That has not happened in New York, where he missed two games with injuries, had one game where he was not targeted with a single pass and had two more in which he did not catch a single pass. That’s five games in which Amaro, who is not a strong blocker, disappeared. In six other games, he caught passes for less than 25 yards.

What we learned about the Dolphins:

1. The Dolphins were hasty in announcing last week that they were bringing back coach Joe Philbin. What was the rush to make that choice with one game left in the season? As it turns out, the Dolphins finished 8-8 for the second straight season. In addition, they finished out of the playoffs for the sixth straight season.

2. WR Mike Wallace is a diva. Apparently upset that he was targeted just once in the first half — no catches — Wallace threw a fit. The coaches opted not to play him in the second half, which is not exactly the way you want to end the season

–QB Ryan Tannehill, who entered Sunday just 214 yards shy of 4,000 for the season, reached the milestone by passing for 259 yards. Dan Marino is the only other Dolphins QB to reach that milestone, and he did it eight times. Tannehill also broke Marino’s 1994 record for most completions in a season.

–RB Lamar Miller, who entered Sunday needing just 79 yards to reach 1,000 yards for the first time in his three-year NFL career, ran 19 times for 178 yards, including a 97-yard touchdown run that is the longest in franchise history. For the season, Miller averaged 5.1 yards per carry, an impressive figure. He had 1,099 yards.

–WR Brian Hartline had five receptions for a season-high 94 yards on Sunday against the Jets. Still, he suffered through a down season. After two straight 1,000-yard seasons, Hartline was minimized in the Dolphins offense this year due to the emergence of rookie WR Jarvis Landry. Hartline finished the season with 39 catches for 474 yards and two touchdowns. He is a strong candidate to get released in the coming months because his production this season did not match his salary. Before the 2013 season, he signed a five-year, $31 million deal with $12.5 million guaranteed.

–DE Cameron Wake, voted last week to his fourth Pro Bowl in six NFL seasons, continues to amaze. He is undersized for the position (235 pounds) and went undrafted out of Penn State. Yet he continues to put up stellar sack totals, including 14 in 2010, a career-high 15 in 2012 and 11.5 this season. Wake turns 33 next month, but he is still going strong.

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