One of the big storylines going into the game was that the Jets rushing attack was going to be facing a virtual wall in the Miami front seven and true-to-form, the Jets did their best to stick with the passing game to collect their yardage. While the Steelers provided a blueprint for other teams in that mugging the Jets could lead to getting the upper hand, the Jets did stay with the plan to pass the ball and gather what yards they may.
Via George Bretherton of the New York Times:
Despite being under pressure by Miami’s defensive front for most of the game, especially in the first half, Sanchez never stopped going to his wideouts. The reward was that Sanchez finally broke through with big plays.
From midway through the second quarter to the end of the game, Sanchez completed 13 passes to his wide receivers for 236 yards (18.2 yard average). Most were for big gains, including the 38-yard completion to Holmes in overtime that set up Nick Folk’s winning 33-yard field goal.
Sanchez’s steadfastness in staying with the vertical attack may not have helped his completion percentage (46.7, on 21 completions in 45 attempts) but it led to a big day for Holmes (9 completions for 147 yards) — even with Miami cornerback Richard Marshall draped all over him.
Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.comIn addition to what Bretherton lays out above, the Jets gained even more yards and first downs through penalties. The Dolphins were hit with five defensive coverage (pass interference, holding or illegal contact) related penalties. Four of those penalties were taken by the Jets with the lone play the Jets didn’t accept being the long Santonio catch that netted more yards than the actual penalty.
No one is going to argue that the game was hideously ugly, but credit Sparano and Sanchez for sticking with the pass in the face of pressure and physical coverage in the Dolphins secondary that could have led to even more mistakes in the passing game. Sparano stuck with what he thought would work best, even if the results don’t look pretty. While it worked by the skin of their teeth yesterday for the Jets, I worry about how that approach will play against teams with much superior defenses. We’ll find out soon enough.