It was uglier than it needed to be most of the afternoon against a Jets defense that came in last in the NFL overall and scored defense, No. 31 in passing defense and 29 in rushing defense.
But nonetheless, the Miami Dolphins went into MetLife Stadium and won a road victory in AFC East, 24-17, over the New York Jets Sunday afternoon.
Miami (4-7) won a third game in a row after victories over the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens, and expanded on the mid-season momentum that really came to fruition with the Baltimore Rebellion on Thursday night, November 11th.
In their first of two against the Jets (2-8), the Dolphins equalized their division record, 2-2, after winning the opening in the New England Patriots and being swept by the Buffalo Bills.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had a remarkably effective performance with 27 of 33 for 273 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He only threw an incomplete pass in the second half.
With 10:15 left, Tagovailoa found running back Myles Gaskin with a pass to the finish line for a 5-yard touchdown that ended a 14-game, 75-yard drive that eroded 7:44. It was extended after New York got a scheduled third-down stop, but was called to screw the ball close to the goal line.
Gaskin had 23 carries for 89 yards. Receiver Jaylen Waddle went to eight receptions and 65 yards plus a rushing touchdown. Tight-end Mike Gesicki had five catches for 50.
Miami sealed it with yet another time-consuming drive as it took the lead. The Dolphins ate up 6:53 with 12 games over 44 yards, taking the game down within two minutes and bringing the Dolphins two ball possessions as kicker Jason Sanders joined a 24-yard field goal. New York ran down again for a field goal, but the Dolphins regained the ensuing onside kick with 14 seconds left.
Tagovailoa loosened a 65-yard touchdown pass that mostly went through the air to Mack Hollins early in the second half to bring the Dolphins up 14-7. Hollins finished with 72 yards.
The Jets responded later in the third quarter as rookie-wide receiver and Broward County product Elijah Moore fired Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones for a 62-yard touchdown in single coverage while Miami brought an extra rusher. Out of position, Jones dued to try to break the pass, and Moore had no one between him and the goal zone when the ball reached him.
Jets veteran quarterback Joe Flacco, in his first start of 2021, went 24 of 39 for 291 yards and two touchdowns.
Miami opened Sunday with an 11-game, 83-yard drive that burned the first 5:56 off the clock. Tagovailoa was 6 of 6 for 61 yards in the opening series, finding chunk plays for open tight-ends Gesicki and Adam Shaheen. The scoring drive was completed by a Waddle 1-yard touchdown run on a sweep from a pass from Myles Gaskin out of the Wildcat formation.
On the initial drives of the two halves, Tagovailoa was 7 of 7 for 126 yards and a touchdown. Although he did not react in the rest of the first half after the opening series, he came in the second half with it to another important goal.
As impressive as Tagovailoa was in the opening series, he turned the course on the Dolphins’ second possession. He missed high on a throw to Waddle, who was intercepted by Jets safety Ashtyn Davis at the Dolphins’ 40-yard line.
The turnover led to a Jets touchdown that equalized the match to 7 in the first quarter. Flacco found Jamison Crowder open in the end zone on fourth-and-goal on the 2-yard line, after a 39-yard Michael Carter run got New York in scoring position.
The Jets drove again early in the second quarter, but Miami got a red zone stop when Brandon Jones crushed Flacco with a shot from blind sides, forcing a fumble that Christian Wilkins regained. He even fumbled with the ball on the return, but safety Jevon Holland was there to retain possession of the ball for the Dolphins.
The teams went into the break draw at 7 because each had late-first-half-drives end in missed field goals knocking out of the goal posts. Sanders hit right upright on an attempt from 32 yards out as time went on after Jets kicker Matt Ammendola made one from left upright on New York’s previous series.
The Dolphins return home to face Carolina Panthers and quarterback Cam Newton in a week.
This story will be updated.
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