“When he threw it in the air, I just thought it’s kind of like a long field goal, like drop. So, I’m a punt returner, and people don’t know that, but I am a punt returner,” Holland explained to Amazon Prime Video’s Kaylee Hartung after the game. “When I caught it, I seen the heavy lineman. I was like, ‘Alright, let me keep it straight,’ kind of, you know, throw him off, I know I got guys to my sideline … and then shoutout to my defensive lineman, my individuals out there blocking for me. I couldn’t have done it without y’all.
“Yeah, I had to get busy. I had to, you know what I’m saying, show a little sugar or whatever like that. And I just got into the zone, man. I could smell it, and then once I made that cut, I knew I was there, and then I had to make it happen.”
According to the official play log, Holland covered 99 yards on the pick-six. Next Gen Stats revealed he actually traveled 124.4 yards on the return, shaking Boyle and beating Garrett Wilson to the goal line for a devastating defensive touchdown to close the half.
It was the latest example of a Dolphins defense that is coming together, holding opponents to 13 points in consecutive games and recording interceptions that proved crucial to their victories.
“I think it’s just getting in our groove, it really is,” Holland said. “It kind of takes a little while to understand a defense and kind of get into the groove, but I think right now we’re trending upward. And we’re really enthusiastic about it. We’re excited about it, and Vic (Fangio) is a helluva defensive coordinator, and we’re just excited to go out there and play ball. And every week we come in, we got a script. We make sure that we execute that, and we want to play for each other. We want to make each other proud, so I think that is what the biggest difference is. We trust each other, and we’re trending upward.”
As the Dolphins ascend, the Jets continue their descent into darkness. In a span of 60 seconds, the Jets went from being right back in a game to wondering what they’d done to upset the football gods in 2023. Coach Robert Saleh tried to put on his professional face for his halftime interview, but he couldn’t hide his despondence, answering questions with a positive tone, while wearing the look of someone who’d just had the wind knocked out of him.
The Jets had the wind taken from their sails a while ago. The Dolphins, meanwhile, were happy to keep cruising into the night as victors, thanks in part to Holland’s heroics.
“That was crazy. I don’t think I’ve seen something like that before, to end a half,” Tagovailoa told reporters after the game. “Normally, the guy either goes down, takes it to the half, or, you know, he’ll return it to a certain point and then get tackled, but to see Javon take that. I mean, that was definitely game-changing, too. And that was very good that we could end it with points in that sense going into the half knowing we got the ball.”
After the loss of edge rusher Jaelan Phillips to an Achilles injury — the severity of which has yet to be determined — during Friday’s 34-13 win, Holland and the Dolphins have even more reason to keep pushing forward.
“He’s everything to us. You know what I mean? We value each and every one of us,” Holland explained. “We’re all a piece of the puzzle, so we’re going to rally around him, as I think everybody in the team is going to, and we’re going to uplift him. We’re going to keep him around, make sure that he knows he is loved and missed. But we’re going to go out there, and we’re going to ball for him. That’s even more motivation to go out there and do what we got to do.”