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Braylon Edwards made a splashy Jets debut, helping an offense that seemed unable to make big plays before his arrival. Now someone just needs to show up to help the Jets defense. The much-lauded unit struggled to stop the Dolphins all night long and was the primary reason why the game wound up as a 31-27 loss.
The Dolphins scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a two-yard run by Ronnie Brown with six seconds to play that gave the home team a victory. It capped off a wild final 15 minutes that saw 35 total points and five lead changes, ending with the Dolphins on top and the AFC East standings looking a lot different than they did two weeks ago. At that point the Jets were 3-0, the Patriots were 2-1 and the Dolphins were 0-3. At the close of the fifth week, the Jets and Pats are at 3-2 and the Dolphins, resurgent since Chad Pennington's injury, are 2-3.
Things will continue to get worse for the Jets if the rest of the league uses the Dolphins game plan as a blueprint going forward. Using heavy doses of the Wildcat formation and its direct snaps to Brown and Ricky Williams, the Dolphins rolled up 413 total yards and stymied a Jets defense that will be getting a lot less praise in the face of this game than they did following last week's loss to the Saints.
Rex Ryan will also be hearing some criticism for his failure to take a timeout on the final Dolphins drive, leaving his offense no time to come up with one final answer following Brown's touchdown. He may have been convinced that Miami would settle for a field goal, but that showed a faith in his defense that they never earned while giving up three fourth quarter leads on Monday night.
The pass rush was slowed by the use of the Wildcat, which gave Chad Henne time to throw effectively throughout the fourth quarter. The biggest hit was a 53-yard touchdown to Ted Ginn, a sign that the Dolphins playcalling kept the Jets on their heels and took the teeth out of the defense.
It's a shame that the unit couldn't do its part because the game set up nicely to make the trade for Edwards look like a masterstroke. He had five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown, and drew a long pass interference that set up the final Jets touchdown of the night. He looked every bit the game changer that the Jets hoped he would be when they swung a trade for him last Wednesday and helped Mark Sanchez in position to lead the team to a victory. The rookie was far from perfect, but he was very good in the fourth quarter and showed little hangover from his brutal performance in Week 4.
Sanchez's bubble bursting in New Orleans was to be expected, but this kind of performance from this defense comes as a total and unwelcome shock. It's a short week, and the Jets are going to have to spend most of it fixing what they thought couldn't be broken to stay in the mix atop a division that just got a lot more interesting.