Miami Dolphins 24. New York Jets 17. So how ironic was that ending? Former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington comes into town and puts the final nail in the coffin of the Jets 2008 season. Kind of fitting don't you think? You know Chad would not have wanted it any other way. It's amazing what can happen in a month's time in the NFL. On Thanksgiving, the Jets stood at 8-3 and were in the top 2 or 3 of everyone's power rankings. You were hearing talk all around New York of a Jets v. Giants Super Bowl. Well at least the Giants are still on track to be playing on February 1st.
So Brett Favre played on Sunday just like he has all season. He threw for 233 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Favre worked with what the defense gave him, which was not much. Miami was solid on "D" like they have been all season and kept Favre under control every time he dropped back. The offensive line kept Favre on his feet for the day, not allowing him to be sacked on the afternoon. But either way you look at it, Favre was outplayed by Pennington this season in almost every category, and Sunday was no different. Laveranues Coles had the best day among Jets receivers. He had four receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown. Dustin Keller was again a no-show with two receptions for 24 yards. Jerricho Cotchery also saw limited action on Sunday with two catches for 41 yards. Leon Washington led the team in receptions with six but for only 29 yards. Not many stats jumped out at you from the passing game, and that is just sad against the 25th ranked pass defense in the league.
New York's running game was also non-existent on Sunday. Thomas Jones, who came into the game as the AFC's leading rusher, was held to 23 yards on only 10 carries. The man has been the team's workhorse all season, so explain to me how he only gets 10 carries. Washington also had 10 carries in the game, but he was able to get 60 yards on those carries. All Jets fans have been saying that he needs to get more touches per game and on Sunday he finally did. On the Day, Leon ended up with 16 touches on offense for a total of 89 yards and a touchdown. The running game, which had been a strong point of the team during the middle of the season, just kept declining at the end of the season. This is one of the reasons the Jets lost 4 of those 5 games. You need to have a solid running game to win in the NFL. They had that earlier in the season, but they let it get away from them in December.
The Jets run defense had another poor performance on Sunday, their 4th in the last 5 games. They did not allow one player to gain over 100 yards, but on the day, the surrendered 126 yards on the ground to the Dolphins. Ronnie Brown led the team with 57 yards rushing on 11 carries. His teammate Ricky Williams ended up with 50 yards on 10 carries. The Jets defensive line just looked confused all day and did not know who to defend. Bryan Thomas registered the Jets only sack of the day, his first in 11 games, and that was basically the only pressure they got on Pennington all day. In the beginning of the season, the Jets pass rush was strong, being among the league leaders in sacks all the way into November. Over the Past 6-7 weeks, the pass rush has really slowed down.
The pass defense was nothing spectacular on Sunday either. They allowed Pennington to pass for 200 yards while completing 22 of his 30 passes. Chad did what he usually does, and that is short passes for first downs. And here is a usual Pennington stat, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. That is what Chad does best, he may not be flashy, but he knows how to win. Ted Ginn, Jr. was the Dolphins leading receiver with 71 yards. He had only two receptions, but one was for 44 yards and the other was for a touchdown. As usual the Jets had to deal with a good tight end in Anthony Fasano. He registered three catches for 39 yards and a 20 yard touchdown. All season the Jets had problems covering the TE, and Sunday was no different. The pass defense is something that needs to be addressed in the offseason in a major way, they were toward the bottom of the league all season.
The Jets looked lost all day on both sides of the ball. They had a hard time stopping the Dolphins when they were in their wildcat formation and let Pennington have his way the whole game. To me it came as no surprise with what Chad did in this game. He played with a chip on his shoulder all season and capped it off by beating the Jets, winning the division for the Dolphins. The Jets flaws were all exposed over the past month of the season and their offensive could not cover it up like it did during their five game winning streak. At one point in the season, the Jets looked like they could hang with any team offensively, and that changed dramatically in December. The rush defensive also began to struggle in December and that really hurt the team. The game on Sunday was a sad one in many aspects, but it is ironic to see the Jets get burned by good old number 10 in his return.