The New York Jets’ loss to Miami Dolphins featured some great individual performances
Nuance is often lost in the world of football analysis. If a team wins, everybody is awesome. If a team loses, everybody is awful. That’s just how it works in the reaction-driven society we live in.
The truth is that good and bad things can occur simultaneously on a football field. At the same time the New York Jets can lose in disappointing fashion to the similarly woeful Dolphins at home, numerous players can perform well – and the team has every right to come out of that game feeling good about those promising individual performances.
On that note, here are five Jets players who quietly played great games against Miami.
Defensive end Kyle Phillips returned to the field for his first game since Week 7 of the 2020 season and did not disappoint. The run-stopping maestro provided the same skills that helped him make the team as an undrafted free agent in 2019.
Phillips played 28 defensive snaps (39% of all snaps) and collected four tackles, three of those being stops against the run that held the ball carrier to a gain of two yards or less.
Pro Football Focus awarded Phillips with a run-defense grade of 78.5, the best mark of any Jets defender in the game.
Phillips’ edge-setting was a godsend for the Jets’ struggling run defense. He helped the Jets allow only 25 yards on nine Miami carries that were directed outside of the tackles. That’s a season-low 2.8 yards per carry on such runs.
Still only 24 years old, Phillips can establish himself as a key rotational piece on the Jets’ defensive line going forward. He is set for restricted free agency after the season, so the Jets have control of his future.
As game after game passes by and George Fant continues to stockpile snaps without allowing much of any damage, he is slowly progressing from a nice feel-good story to a major building block.
Fant protected on 43 snaps against the Dolphins and allowed only one pressure, which was a quarterback hit. He still has not allowed a sack this season. His total of 429 pass-blocking snaps without allowing a sack currently stands as the best mark among left tackles.
On the season, Fant has allowed 15 pressures on 429 pass-blocking snaps, a rate of 3.5% that ranks sixth-best among qualified left tackles.
Bryce Hall got back on track after a shaky couple of games against Indianapolis and Buffalo.
Hall dropped into coverage on 40 snaps against Miami. He was targeted five times and allowed four catches for only 21 yards (4.2 yards per target / 0.53 yards per cover snap) and zero touchdowns. None of those catches resulted in a first down.
This game also marked Hall’s seventh out of 10 outings this year in which he had zero penalties and zero missed tackles.
Quinnen Williams was a wrecking ball against Miami’s exploitable offensive line. He collected five pressures on 30 pass-rush snaps for a sublime pressure rate of 16.7% (more than double the IDL average), breaking himself out of a mini-slump without much pressure production.
Williams’ total of five pressures ties him for the most among interior defensive linemen in Week 11 prior to Monday Night Football. He also had a pass deflection and unfortunately had a solo sack wiped away by a Jason Pinnock holding penalty.
The Jets can still afford to give Williams more playing time. He played 44 snaps against Miami, making up 61% of the defensive plays, which is his exact average for the season. That number is lower than Williams’ fellow star 3-techniques, who play anywhere from 71% to 84% of their team’s defensive snaps on average.
John Franklin-Myers’ performance against Miami will be best remembered for a terrible roughing the passer penalty in the fourth quarter that gave the Dolphins a fresh set of downs in the red zone after a third-down stop.
While that was a bad mistake by Franklin-Myers that deserves heavy criticism, the Jets probably would not even be in a position to win the game at that point if not for his spectacular play throughout the afternoon. He could not be blocked.
Franklin-Myers collected a game-high seven pressures on 29 pass-rush snaps for a tremendous pressure rate of 24.1%. That total tied him with Joey Bosa and Robert Quinn for the most pressures among edge defenders in Week 11 prior to MNF.
Most notably, Franklin-Myers’ heat off the edge prompted Tagovailoa to toss an interception into the waiting arms of Ashtyn Davis in the first quarter.
To boot, Franklin-Myers got in on three tackles against the run that held the ball carrier to a gain of two yards or less.
Led by Franklin-Myers and Williams, the Jets’ defensive line had a strong outing, taking advantage of Miami’s porous front.
I know what you’re thinking: if the pass rush was so good, why did the Jets get zero sacks and allow Tua Tagovailoa to go off?
Well, give a boatload of credit to Tagovaiola for getting the football out quickly and staying poised in the face of the Jets’ pressure. The Jets’ defensive line did about everything it could to make Tagovailoa’s life miserable, but Tua held strong.
Tagovailoa tied for the NFL lead in Week 11 with two passing touchdowns under pressure and ranked second with 107 passing yards under pressure. Tua was a magician when it came to escaping pressure, tying for the league lead in most pressured dropbacks absorbed whilst not taking a single sack with 12.
Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the opposing quarterback.
In basketball, there is nothing you can do when you play lockdown defense and your man sinks a contested fadeaway jumper over your head. Under-pressure quarterbacking is the football equivalent of that.
If your defense creates relentless pressure but the quarterback still throws well in the face of it, there’s nothing you can do. The ability to affect a game in that way is why the quarterback position is the game’s most important. He can neutralize a great performance by the defense entirely on his own.
Within what they could control (outside of JFM’s brutal penalty), Franklin-Myers and Williams were back to being their dominant selves in Week 11.
Despite some ups and downs, Franklin-Myers’ numbers on the season remain strong. He is executing at a high level in his role as New York’s 4-3 left defensive end. Franklin-Myers is tied for fourth among edge defenders with 3.6 pressures per game off the left side of the defensive line:
- Maxx Crosby (6.0)
- Danielle Hunter (4.1)
- Rashan Gary (3.7)
- Joey Bosa/Leonard Floyd/John Franklin-Myers (3.6)
Next week, an interesting challenge awaits Franklin-Myers in the form of Texans right tackle Charlie Heck, who has allowed the ninth-lowest pressure rate among right tackles this season (4.0%).