It was a late night for all of us Monday night and as a result the grades to the game did not make the Miami Herald's editions today. (It might have helped if I had done them faster.)
Anyway, I just got done watching the DVR version of the game so here are the grades to the game:
Running backs: The Dolphins ran 64 total offensive plays and Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown were involved in 39 of those, either in Wildcat, carrying the ball in the base offense, or as targetted receivers. These guys carried the team for most of the night, including the 2-yard winning TD run by Brown. By the way, fullback Lousaka Polite was an unsung hero. His blocking added to the physical nature of Miami's running game and he did convert a first down on one of his carries. The only negative here is that Patrick Cobbs tore the ACL in his left knee in the fourth quarter and he is out for the remainder of the year. Ricky Williams (ankle) is not a serious injury. GRADE: A.
Quarterback: The Dolphins coaching staff started out the night wanting to manage Chad Henne so as to avoid the game-costing mistake by the young quarterback. And then the Dolphins found themselves trailing in the fourth quarter, not once, but three times. And that called for an unleashing of the Henne. And Henne responded with a coming-out performance that undoubtedly boosts his confidence. Henne threw two fourth-quarter TD passes, got rid of the ball so as to avoid sacks, and made sure his passes were either completions or not -- no interceptions. Let me think for a second how one grades a player with a 130.4 QB rating ... OK, got it. GRADE: A.
Receivers: The Dolphins found players they had seemingly lost the first quarter of the season. Anthony Fasano, he of the four receptions the first four games, caught four passes and was targetted seven times. Embattled Ted Ginn Jr. actually showed his speed in getting behind the Jets secondary. It was the longest pass play the Jets allowed this season. And while Greg Camarillo and Davone Bess added only complementary plays, their blocking downfield was one reason the long screen pass broke out and a couple of bubble screens gained good yardage. Most importantly, no drops. GRADE: B.
Offensive line: First the bad news, which was that Jake Grove was called for a holding penalty and a false start. Now the good news, which was that the entire offensive line was more physical, more athletic and thereby more effective than the New York front. None of New York's different looks seemed to confuse the Miami front. And the linemen showed their versatility by blocking in tight spaces on runs, and blocking in space such as Miami's 59-yard screen pass. By the way, did you notice how much time Henne had to scan the field on the 53-yard pass to Ginn? It was a long time. GRADE: A.
Defensive line: The Jets averaged 4.6 yards per rush despite some great play by nose tackle Jason Ferguson. Randy Starks applied good pressure and actually collected a sack and three quarterback pressures. Kendall Langford and Phillip Merling have played better in the past and need to play better in the future. GRADE: C.
Linebackers: As heroics go, this group showed it. Joey Porter played with a tweaked (still) hamstring. Jason Taylor played much of the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury. And Channing Crowder was everywhere in both run stopping and pass coverage. But, frankly, the results from this group were inconsistent. GRADE: C-minus.
Secondary: There were various penalties, some questionable, by players on the back end that cost the Dolphins. The pass interference by Yeremiah Bell, the personal foul by Gibril Wilson, the illegal contact penalty on Will Allen and the pass interference on Allen all made Miami's defensive assignment more difficult. Then there were those looong completions to Braylon Edwards (34 yards) and David Clowney (53 yards). It continues to boggle that rookies Sean Smith and Vontae Davis are playing the best in this group. GRADE: D.
Special teams: They gave up first downs on two fake punts. The first one, a 26-yard rush by the punter, set up New York's first touchdown. The second one, a direct snap to receiver Brad Smith on which he gained 12 yards, extended a drive that gave the Jets a field goal. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. The Dolphins also had a holding call on a a punt return. Jets coach Mike Westhoff schooled Miami's John Bonamego this night. GRADE: F.
Coaching: The Dolphins answered New York's various defensive fronts with a base Wildcat formation, a jumbo Wildcat formation, and a couple of passing Wildcat plays. The Dolphins made adjustments on defense, though they did not work. Great clock management on the final drive. Only question: Why put a cold Pat White in the game at a crucial time? It worked, but talk about gambling. GRADE: B-plus.
Overall: On a night that Miami's stars were out, when the Dolphins were on the national stage, the team responded with an electric fourth-quarter comeback victory. But be not fooled, the Dolphins remain a lunch pail, blue collar group that can get results against even the most hyped team in the NFL. GRADE: A.