1. Reggie Bush’s 19-yard plus 15-yard penalty on Antonio Cromartie, first quarter: It was obvious there was a lot of tension in the air at MetLife Stadium, and the Dolphins were the beneficiaries of tempers flaring up right from the start. On their first drive, Reggie Bush broke loose on a second-and-10 run and got into the open field. Now, the truth is his stiff-arm of Cromartie was more like a punch to the face and he probably should have been flagged himself. Cromartie didn’t like the move — and it’s tough to blame him — but after falling out of bounds, he got back up and shoved Bush, which earned him a 15-yard roughness penalty. Tacked on to the end of Bush’s 19-yard run, it became a 34-yard play that gave the Dolphins the ball at the Jets 33 and set up a field goal that opened the scoring. Maybe it also set the tone.
2. Jimmy Wilson’s punt block, first quarter: It was too bad that the Dolphins offense couldn’t do anything after successfully pulling off a surprise onside kick, so the special teams just took it upon themselves. One play after sacking Mark Sanchez on third down, Wilson came free when he looped behind the line of scrimmage and gave punter Robert Malone no chance. In fact, Wilson was so close to Malone when he blocked the kick that he was able to bat it straight down as opposed to straight ahead. As a result, the ball took a nice, soft hop right into the waiting arms of Olivier Vernon for a ridiculously easy touchdown and a 10-0 lead.
3. Paul Soliai’s fumble recovery, first quarter: The Jets barely had time to recover from that blow when the Dolphins sent Nolan Carroll on a blitz and he blindsided Sanchez to jar the ball loose. The ball actually never hit the ground before it was corraled by Soliai for what was ruled a fumble recovery. Regardless of how it was scored, the turnover gave Miami the ball at the Jets 32-yard line, and they cashed in on the opportunity when Daniel Thomas bulled his way from 3 yards out on third-and-goal. Just like that, it was 17-0 and the game was practically over.
4. Olivier Vernon’s field goal block, second quarter: After managing exactly two first downs on their first six possessions, the Jets offense finally got something going after getting the ball with 2:43 left. With the Jets getting the ball to start the second half, a touchdown here — maybe even just a field goal — would give New York some momentum and perhaps turn the game around. But after watching the Jets marched to their 17, the Dolphins defense stiffened and a blitz on third down forced an incompletion. To cap a beautiful first half, Vernon got through the line of scrimmage and tipped away Nick Folk’s 35-yard field goal attempt to preserve the 20-0 lead.
5. Marcus Thigpen’s 57-yard kickoff return, third quarter: Again, the Jets got some life when former Dolphin Clyde Gates returned the second-half kickoff 47 yards and they were able to parlay that into a field goal that cut the lead to 20-3 and gave them some kind of momentum. But Marcus Thigpen swung it right back in the Dolphins’ favor by taking the next kickoff 57 yards all the way to the Jets 40-yard line. Six plays later, Matt Moore hit Anthony Fasano in the back of the end zone for a touchdown that made it 27-3. Ballgame.