News & Analysis

NFL Week 9 PFF ReFocused: Miami Dolphins 26, New York Jets 18

Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins won their first game of the season on Sunday, beating the New York Jets, 26-18.

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Final Score

Miami Dolphins 26, New York Jets 18

Miami Dolphins

It was a breakout afternoon from the Dolphins’ 2019 first-round selection out of Clemson, Christian Wilkins. He muscled his huge frame into the backfield to pressure Sam Darnold and laid waste to leverage advantages against the run. While Miami has a very long way to go toward fielding a competitive defense, Wilkins is an excellent building block at the foundation of that construction.

Easily the most surprising performance from the Miami defense came from rush linebacker Vince Beigel. The former fourth-rounder out of Wisconsin feasted on the left side of the Jets’ offensive line (LG Alex Lewis and LT Chuma Edoga). Utilizing stunts to run circles around their assigned blockers that left Darnold out-of-sorts throughout the game.

Ryan Fitzpatrick showed some of his infamous magic Sunday. With a lack of a run game, the Dolphins leaned on Fitzmagic through the air, and he didn't disappoint. The gunslinger threw all over the Jets, as he consistently fit passes into tight windows and moved the ball with ease.

Two of Fitzpatrick's top targets were tight end Mike Gesicki and receiver Preston Williams. Gesicki proved to be a mismatch for the Jets' linebackers, as he constantly found ways to get separation on the outside and over the middle. Williams made several contested catches, especially over the middle.

New York Jets

The Jets came out of the gate running, feeding the rock to Le’Veon Bell and throwing quick strikes to Jamison Crowder. That all changed with 54 seconds remaining in the first half at the Miami two-yard-line. Darnold found himself within the clutches of Dolphins linebacker Raekwon McMillan and made the decision to blindly toss the ball toward the left pylon, where it was picked off Jomal Wiltz. The offense stalled beyond explanation throughout the remainder the game.

If we placed a spotlight on Bell’s performance from Sunday afternoon, we’d see the same elite, multi-dimensional weapon he put on film during his years in Pittsburgh. Was he perfect against Miami? No, he gave up a pressure and voluntarily abandoned one clean gap. Bell, however, did everything within his abilities to find yardage on the ground, but the blocking in front of him did not match his tenacity.

The Jets' front-seven made the Dolphins nearly completely abandon the run. Folorunso Fatukasi was one of the most disruptive players up front for New York. He especially showed off his power late in the third quarter when he bull-rushed center Evan Boehm into running back Mark Walton for a loss of three yards on 3rd-and-three at the Jets' three-yard line.

Cornerbacks Nate Hairston and Darryl Roberts were under siege throughout the game. Even though they were constantly picked on, they didn't go down without a fight. They contested many of the passes thrown their way. However, no matter how tight they made the window, Fitzpatrick found a way to fit the ball in.

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