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2023 NFL season, Week 12: What We Learned from Dolphins' win over Jets on Black Friday

Miami Dolphins
2023 · 8-3-0
New York Jets
2023 · 4-7-0


  1. Dolphins outclass Jets in first Black Friday affair. A desperate, yet rejuvenated energy filled the air at MetLife Stadium, where the Jets were out to preserve their season with a new quarterback in Tim Boyle leading the way. They were appropriately dressed in black, but by the end of the contest, their attire was only fitting for a funeral. New York learned rather quickly that its offense was still a mess, and even after a defensive score brought them within four points, the offense found a way to wipe out that impact via a 99-yard pick-six by Jevon Holland to close the half. The final two quarters weren't any better for the Jets, who watched their division rival dominate them in nearly every department. Even New York's stingy defense eventually folded after spending more than 32 of the game's first 45 minutes on the field. Miami, meanwhile, stuck to what works best, overcoming the strong initial resistance of New York's defense to piece together three scoring drives in the first three quarters (plus the defensive touchdown). And by the time the fourth quarter arrived, Miami poured it on, scoring twice via Raheem Mostert touchdown runs. This is what Miami was expected to do against a Jets team that packs no offensive punch, and they took care of business.
  2. Jets' change at quarterback produces little change at all. After weeks of ignoring the cries of pained Jets fans, head coach Robert Saleh finally made the switch for which New York's faithful were clamoring, benching Zach Wilson for Boyle. As soon as the news became public, the explanation was a simple one: Boyle doesn't bring much more to the table than Wilson, but at least it's an effort to try something else, especially after Wilson had failed so dramatically while directing the league's worst offense. The final result, though, was incredibly discouraging. Boyle completed 27 of 38 passes for 179 yards and one touchdown, but most of those numbers came in a meaningless fourth quarter. Prior to the final period, the Jets had run just 22 plays. Boyle had completed 8 of 12 passes for 43 yards and an interception. They didn't break 100 net yards until the fourth quarter. And even after Boyle led a touchdown drive (which ended in a scoring toss to Garrett Wilson), it was obvious he didn't provide much more than Wilson had. New York is in a terrible spot at quarterback without Aaron Rodgers, and after falling to 4-7, it's increasingly unlikely Rodgers will try to pull off an improbable comeback this season. These are dark days in Gotham.
  3. Miami still needs to clean up the little things. The Dolphins cruised to victory on Friday with a complementary display of stout defense and a few efficient offensive possessions, but the glaring stat that most might choose to ignore is the turnover total. Miami finished with three giveaways -- Tua Tagovailoa threw two INTs. It's been a somewhat consistent theme of these Dolphins, who have covered up the mistakes by racking up huge yardage and points totals, forcing folks to conveniently forget they're not taking care of the football because, hey, they won by double digits again. The same takeaway can come from this game, and we can all just point to the Jets' stingy defense as the cause of these mistakes. But the Dolphins also turned it over two-plus times against the other New York team (the Giants), the Chargers, the Bills, and the Patriots, and one crucial turnover proved to be the difference in a one-score loss to the Chiefs. Miami is overcoming these mistakes in most games, but when the games end up mattering more in the postseason against fellow top-tier contenders, the Dolphins won't have as much of a margin for error. They better fix this trend before those games arrive.
  4. It's a shame the Jets are wasting this defense. New York made life rather difficult for the high-powered Dolphins in the first half, who held a 10-0 lead just before the break. It was a hard-earned 10 points as nothing came easy against the Jets. They stopped the Dolphins on fourth-and-goal and sent a message with the stand, leading to the Dolphins settling for a field goal later in the half. This unit proved its legitimacy once again. But it's entirely unfair to expect any defense to hold up after spending the majority of the first 45 minutes on the field. It's no secret that the Jets' offense has been failing the defense all season, and as the Dolphins pulled away against a gassed unit in the fourth, it became clear Friday was just another example of it.
  5. This felt like a game that foreshadows a January housecleaning. Much of the 2023 season's difficulties have been chalked up to the Jets losing Rodgers just minutes into the season-opener, and it's a fair explanation. But New York's front office shouldn't be clear of criticism. The Jets willingly proceeded with a quarterbacks room headlined by Rodgers, and backed up by Wilson and Boyle, with the naive belief they wouldn't need to turn to those behind Rodgers, and if they did, perhaps osmosis would make Wilson a better quarterback. That effort failed them in dramatic fashion, and now the Jets are paying the price. New York is one of the worst watches in the NFL on a weekly basis, equipped with an offense that isn't producing anywhere near the level fitting the talent surrounding their quarterback. The offensive line has shuffled plenty and hasn't been good enough, and quarterback play has been dreadful. With each week, the slog grows more painful. There are six games left for these Jets, and based on what we've seen so far, none will be easy to watch. When seasons devolve in such a fashion, it usually means changes are coming. Those changes could involve much more than the recent quarterback switch.

Next Gen stat of the game: Dolphins S Jevon Holland traveled 124.4 yards on his 99-yard INT return for a TD off a Jets Hail Mary attempt, the most distance traveled by a ball carrier on a scrimmage play this season.

NFL Research: With nine catches for 102 yards and a touchdown, Tyreek Hill became the second receiver in NFL history to record 1,300-plus receiving yards and 10-plus receiving touchdowns in a season before December, joining the Rams' Torry Holt (achieved in 12 games in 2003). 

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