The Miami Dolphins-New York Jets clash featured little offense and a pair of statistically horrendous quarterback performances, so it seems fitting that we proclaim a punter as the most valuable player from this contest.
Dolphins punter Brandon Fields had an all-time great performance Sunday in the 10-6 win. He averaged 56.4 yards on 10 punts, which a check of Pro-Football-Reference.com showed is the best punting average by any punter with that many punts in a game since the NFL-AFL merger (1970).
Fields, a fifth-year punter out of Michigan State, averaged 49.6 net yards, as the Jets managed 68 punt return yards. Fields bailed the Dolphins out of potential field-position trouble numerous times. He punted from inside his own 15-yard line, five times, and on four of them, his punt went more than 60 yards, including a season-long 69-yarder when punting from his own seven-yard line. By punting standards it was a brilliant effort.
Consider this: the maximum number of yards that Fields could have gotten, if every punt reached the end zone, was 821. He ended up getting 69 percent of the potential yardage available.
Fields was much more efficient than either passer in this contest. Chad Henne won for the Dolphins despite going 5-for-18 (27.7 percent), the lowest completion percentage by a Miami quarterback in a win since David Woodley (26.7 percent) in 1980 (minimum 15 attempts).
Mark Sanchez was 17-for-44 and his 38.6 completion percentage is the lowest by a Jets quarterback who threw at least 40 passes in a game since Joe Namath in 1965 (he was also 17-for-44).
Miami won despite only 131 total yards and three turnovers. It's only the third time in the last 40 years a team has won with 131 or fewer total yards and three or more turnovers. The Chicago Bears were the last team to do it, in 2006 against the Vikings.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Feely is the first kicker to rush for a touchdown since Tim Seder for the 2001 Cowboys. He’s the fourth kicker in the last 40 years to rush for a touchdown, and he tied a career-high with five field goals. Amazingly, he was responsible for six consecutive scores in a 43-13 win over the Denver Broncos, the Cardinals' biggest win since 1993. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Feely is the first player to have five field goals and rush for a touchdown in the same game.
Feely is now 20-for-22 in field goal tries this season and could have his most accurate year since 2007, when he was 21-for-23 for the Dolphins.