Earlier this week, I wrote an article previewing the Dolphins game against the Jets in MetLife Stadium. I had three key elements that I believed would lead to a Miami victory. One of those elements was a Dolphins’ Special Teams spark, whether it be a great Marcus Thigpen kickoff or punt return, a blocked punt, etc.
The Phins Special Teams Unit not only provided a single spark, but they put on a fireworks display in MetLife Stadium.
After driving on the first series of the game, Miami kicker Dan Carpenter punched in a 33 yard field goal to give Miami an early 3-0 lead (Carpenter was perfect on the day with kicks from 33, 39, and 42 yards). On the ensuing kickoff, Joe Philbin shocked the Jet’s kickoff return team as Carpenter executed a perfect onside kick, recovered by Jason Trusnik in Jets territory. The onside kick could not have caught the Jets more off guard, and while it did not lead to any points, it kept the Jets offense off the field and sparked the Miami Special Teams for the rest of the game.
The onside kick was just the beginning. Two Jets offensive series later, after a Jimmy Wilson sack on third down, Wilson stayed in on fourth down and blew past Tim Tebow on punt coverage to block Jet’s punter Robert Malone. The kick bounced up in the air where Miami’s Olivier Vernon fielded it in the end zone for a touchdown to further the lead to 10-0. Vernon would later block a field goal by Jets kicker Nick Folk right before the half.
Miami’s Special Teams continued to make big plays throughout the game, including a 57 yard kickoff return by Thigpen that put the Phins in great field position. In fact, besides a 47 yard kickoff return by former Dolphin Clyde Gates, the Special Teams played nearly perfect football. Wide receiver Brian Hartline sealed the deal by fielding a high bouncing onside kick by the Jets‘ Nick Folk deep into the fourth quarter.
I want to take time to mention Miami’s punter Brandon Fields. In my opinion, Fields has been the most consistent player not only on the Special Teams unit, but possibly the entire Miami Dolphins team. Field was spectacular yet again today, pinning the Jets deep in their own territory no matter where he was on the field. Fields drilled a punt that should have been downed at the NYJ one yard line but ended up crossing into the end zone for a touch back after Marlon Moore fell and failed to down it. Fields finished the game with 6 punts, averaging 46.7 yards a punt (a long of 58) and managed to pin the Jets inside their own twenty yard line 4 times. He gave the Miami Dolphins defense an advantage time and time again.
While the blocked punt for a TD and Carpenter’s 3 field goals were enough to beat the Jets, overall the Dolphins put up a total team effort. Plain and simple they dominated the Jets in all aspects of the game. I can’t help but get excited for the rest of the season when the Dolphins put up such a promising performance as they did against the Jets. PHINS UP!