Miami opened the game receiving the kickoff, but things started badly and stayed there during the first possession. Wide receiver and kick returner Jarvis Landry received the kickoff deep in the endzone, and decided to return it. After he was brought down at the 10-yard line, Miami's offense could not get anything going. On first down, running back Lamar Miller gained one yard, then Tannehill was sacked back at Miami's 1-yard line on second down. After a third down incomplete pass from Tannehill, the Dolphins were forced to punt.
Starting at the Dolphins' 43-yard line after a nice return, the Jets appeared to be in great field position. Moving the ball effectively on the ground, the Jets would reach the Dolphins' 21-yard line before a Randy Starks sack of Geno Smith dropped New York back six yards and into a fourth-down. On the field goal attemp, Nick Folk hit the upright and the team came away with no points.
The Dolphins' second possession was more effective, moving the ball down the field through the air and on the ground. Tannehill found wide receiver Brian Hartline, who did not have a reception in either of the Dolphins' previous two games, twice on the drive for a 16-yard gain and a 15-yard gain. Miller was able to pick up 10 yards on the drive, while Damien Willimas came out of the backfield to pick up 11 yards on a Tannehill pass and tight end Dion Sims added 9 receiving yards of his own. The drive would stall at the Jets' 19-yard line, however, and Miami would settle for a 37-yard field goal from Caleb Sturgis.
New York would also find some rhythm on their second drive, quickly moving from their own 22-yard line to Miami's 23-yard line. Chris Owusu would put two highlights up on the drive, picking up 36 yards on a pass from Smith to start the possession, then ending the drive on a 23-yard run for a touchdown.
After Miami moved the ball just across midfield and into Jets territory, the Dolphins would punt, pinning the Jets at their own nine-yard line.
As the second quarter began, the Jets, having lost a yard on the last play of the first period, would gain five yards on a Smith to Eric Decker pass, then six yards on a Smith to Jace Amaro flip. On first down from their own 19-yard line, Miami safety Reshad Jones would force a fumble on a scramble from Smith, with linebacker Jason Trusnik recovering the loose ball and setting up Miami at the Jets 21-yard line.
After a Tannehill to tight end Charles Clay pass for seven yards, Miami ran twice with Miller picking up two yards and ten yards. A short pass to Daniel Thomas gained a yard on 1st-and-Goal from the two yard line, before Thomas punched into the endzone on second down for a 10-7 Miami lead.
That lead would not hold up for long. New York marched 79 yards in seven plays to retake the lead when Miami's defense suddenly appeared to stop playing. Decker beat cornerback Cortland Finnegan on the fifth play of the drive for a 40-yard gain, then, on the eight-yard touchdown pass from Smith to running back Chris Ivory two plays later, the Miami defense was no where to be seen and Ivory walked into the endzone.
Both teams would be forced to punt after picking up a single first down on their next drives.
The Dolphins would effectively move down the field on their next drive, picking up chunks of yards through the air, with Tannehill finding Jarvis Landry, Brandon Gibson, Brian Hartline, and Damien Williams as they moved to a 1st-and-Goal from the Jets' 23-yard line. On that play, Tannehill would again drop back to pass, finding a wide open Clay for the score and a 17-14 halftime lead.
The Jets get the ball to start the second half.