Football in the Meadowlands was a tale of two contrasting stories this week, as the Jets picked up their second victory of the season to improve to a record of 2-3, while the Giants fell to the Dolphins and now sit at the bottom of their division with a 1-4 record.
The teams had two drastically different matchups this week, as the Jets took on the Broncos, one of the worst teams in the NFL this season, while the Giants took on the Dolphins, who have been off to a historically good start.
New York Jets Conquer Broncos in a 31-21 Victory Led by Breece Hall and the Defense
Coming off of an exceptional game last week against the Chiefs, Zach Wilson and the Jets looked to remain hot and pick up their second win of the season against one of the worst teams in the league.
This game was much more to the Jets than an easy victory against a sub-par team, as the two teams had a history between them that had been brewing since last year. Specifically, Jets running back, Breece Hall, who tore his ACL against the Broncos just a year prior, ending his phenomenal rookie season. Though, he was not the only one with a deep emotional connection to this game, since Jets offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, had been the Broncos head coach last season and was berated by current Broncos head coach, Sean Payton, in interviews for his poor performance last year.
The Jets, looking to make a statement to Sean Payton, came out and immediately showed why they were the better team, recovering a fumble on a punt return, just a few minutes into the game. This resulted in a field goal and the Jets were quickly up 3-0. However, a Russell Wilson 22-yard touchdown struck fear into the hearts of Jets fans, as this game seemed poised to be much more competitive than hoped.
Following the touchdown drive, the Jets responded with a punt, having seemingly lost all of their momentum. But the Jets defense did what they do best and put the game right back within reach with a safety, now making it a 7-5 game.
The rest of the first half consisted of punts and field goals, giving the Broncos a 13-8 lead going into halftime, but the real game had just been getting started. After a quick Broncos punt to start the second half, Breece Hall ran for a 72-yard touchdown, reminiscent of the 62-yard touchdown he scored last year against the Broncos before tearing his ACL.
After another phenomenal defensive showing, the Jets tacked on three more points with a field goal to make it an 18-13 lead for the team from the Meadowlands. The Jets seemed poised to finally put this game out of reach with another defensive stop, but a disastrous mistake by rookie Xavier Gipson, who fumbled a punt, gave the Broncos a great opportunity to score. Luckily, the Jets defense pulled through again and recovered a fumble that led to another field goal expanding their lead to 8.
Another Jets field goal made it a two-score game and a Jets win seemed imminent, but Russell Wilson responded with one of his best drives of the game to make it a 24-21 game, though one more touchdown drive from the Jets would still seal the game. Unfortunately, after getting into field goal range, Zach Wilson threw his first interception of the game and now gave the Broncos the opportunity to win the game with a touchdown.
The Broncos seemed to be picking up steam with a 20 yard pass to Jerry Jeudy to get them near midfield. The Broncos were now just a few first downs away from sending this game to overtime, but as had been the case all game, the defense came up huge, yet again. A fumble forced by Quincy Williams and recovered by Bryce Hall led to a Jets touchdown and officially sealed the Jets win.
New York Giants Fall to Miami Dolphins by a Score of 31-16
Both the Giants and Dolphins were coming off tough losses in Week 4, looking to get back on track and set themselves up for success for the duration of the season. Unfortunately, only one team can walk away with a victory, while another will be put in an even bigger hole.
The clear favorites entering the game were the Dolphins, who were just one game removed from scoring 70 points in a historic win against the Broncos. It was easy to see why they were favored, as the game started off with a Giants punt followed by a Dolphins touchdown. Though, only being down 7-0 after a quarter to the Dolphins was not the worst possible outcome for the Giants.
A missed field goal from their kicker wasted a perfect opportunity for the Giants to put points on the board, but just as had been the case with the Jets, the defense came up big, forcing a fumble and giving the offense the ball back. However, the offense punted the ball away and the Dolphins immediately took advantage with a 76-yard touchdown by Devon Achane.
A Giants field goal made it a 14-3 game, but the game still seemed nowhere within reach. After nearly two quarters of no touchdowns from the Giants offense, the defense took matters into their own hands when safety, Jason Pinnock, got a 102-yard pick-six to cut the Dolphins lead to just 4. A field goal before the end of the half made it 17-10, but put the Giants in a much better situation than they were in a few minutes ago.
The Dolphins immediately took away any momentum the Giants were gaining with a 69-yard touchdown reception from Tyreek Hill and a collection of punts and field goals mixed in with another Dolphins touchdown saw the Giants down by 18 points. The game had already not gone in favor of the Giants, but after Daniel Jones exited the game with an injury, fans stopped caring about the game and more about their quarterback’s health.
The Giants tacked on another 3 points towards the mid-way point of the fourth quarter, officially ending the scoring for the game, which resulted in a 31-16 victory for the Dolphins.
What This Means Heading Into Week 6
Next week, the Jets will take on the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles, hoping to hand them their first loss of the season. Despite already playing teams such as the Bills and Chiefs, this may prove to be their hardest task yet. Though, if they are able to ride the momentum given to them by this win, an upset victory is not off the table.
The Giants will be facing yet another tough AFC East opponent in the Buffalo Bills and with the possibility of both their starting quarterback and running back being out with injury, the odds are not in their favor. The Bills are coming off a surprising loss to the Jaguars and could be feeling less motivated as a result. One New York team already beat the Bills, so let’s hope that the other can do the same.