For Dolphins, half equals hole in 26-14 loss to Jets

November 02, 1992|By Orlando Sentinel

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Given the time of year, some people might say that the Miami Dolphins were beaten by the ghostly performance of Ken O'Brien. The reality is that the Dolphins were beaten by something much scarier.

Themselves.

The Dolphins lost their second consecutive game, this time dropping a 26-14 decision to the New York Jets at Giants Stadium yesterday. The image of what was once a promising, undefeated season is now quite faint. The Dolphins are tied for first place with the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East at 6-2, and they're losing on style points.

"Our style of losing has been very ugly," said center Jeff Uhlenhake, also referring to the Dolphins' five-turnover loss to the Indianapolis Colts last week. "It hasn't looked like a first-place team out there."

That's a fair way to put it. The Dolphins didn't commit the same obvious mistakes as against the Colts. But the specter of the first half was horrific. The Jets (2-6) built a 23-0 lead as the Dolphins played horribly.

O'Brien, who returned to the lineup because of an injury to starter Browning Nagle, completed 21 of 29 passes for 240 yards.

"The running game, it stunk," Uhlenhake said. The Dolphins had 83 yards rushing, 15 on runs by quarterback Dan Marino. They failed on eight third-down conversion attempts, in part because they were long-yardage situations.

Miami's biggest play of the first half was a 42-yard reception by Keith Jackson that ended in a fumble. The defense was awful. Troy Vincent was burned for a 20-yard touchdown by Rob Moore with 21 seconds remaining in the first half.

For the game, the Dolphins allowed 160 yards on the ground. Fullback Brad Baxter accounted for 103 yards, going over the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career.

"We have to play solid everygame," Marino said. "We can't just throw our helmets out there and expect to win."

Jackson's 42-yard catch was the only time Miami crossed midfield in the first half. The more important play was a first-quarter safety.

Marino said he committed a gaffe that led to the first safety of his career. On a third down at Miami's 8, the Jets called a blitz. Offensive tackle Richmond Webb had to take an inside rusher, leaving defensive end Marvin Washington unblocked.

Marino made the mistake of trying to look at one side of the field and then come back to the other side. Washington got to him for the safety, a 9-0 lead and a free kick from the Dolphins. On the ensuing possession, the Jets held the ball for 7:58 and scored on a 5-yard touchdown pass from O'Brien to Al Toon to make it 16-0.

It appeared that Webb made the error, but he is supposed to take the inside rusher because it takes longer for the outside man (Washington in this case) to get to the quarterback.

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