The Miami Dolphins and New York Jets have finished their Week 17 AFC East showdown, with
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 backLamar 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 endDion 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 Trusnikrecovering 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.
Where the first half opened with Landry returning a ball only to the Miami 10-yard line, the second half began with Owusu returning the ball for the Jets all the way to the Miami 12-yard line. The 87-yard kick return would go for naught, however, as the Miami defense forced a turnover on downs as New York attempted to pick up a first down on 4th-and-3 from the Miami 3-yard line.
It took just one play for Miami to show the Jets their folly, with Miller breaking out a 97-yard touchdown run. The play also pushed Miller over 1,000 yards rushing for the season.
The Jets would only need three plays to put up their own touchdown on the next possession. After picking up seven yards on an Ivory run, then losing one on a second-down Ivory carry, Smith found Decker for a 74-yard touchdown pass. The score pulled the Jets back to within three at 24-21.
After a touchback, Miller gained six yards, then Tannehill threw incomplete to Landry. On 3rd-and-4, Tannehill connected with Hartline for 33 yards, moving down to the Jets' 41-yard line. The drive stalled there, though, and Miami prepared to punt when the Jets gave them five free yards after being caught with 12-men on the field. Miami instead attempted to convert the fourth down, but Tannehill and Landry could not connect and Miami turned over the ball.
The Jets took control at their own 36-yard line and again looked to Decker for big plays. He delivered, catching a 3rd-and-9 pass for 50 yards. After a questionable non-interception call on 3rd-and-5, when the ball appeared to bounce off Geno Smith's foot on a trick play from New York and into Jimmy Wilson's arms, the Jets retained possession and kicked a game tying field goal.
Miami was then forced to punt, only to see New York again drive down the field for a three-point kick. This drive was highlighted by a Jeremy Kerley 33-yard reception, and pushed New York into a 27-24 lead.
The Dolphins would attempt to put together a scoring drive of their own after the Jets field goal. Working through the air, Tannehill would move Miami down to the Jets' 35-yard line. Facing 4th-and-10, Miami attempted a 53-yard field goal, but it would tail wide right and Miami would come away with no points.
After trading punts, the Jets looked like they were going to have to punt again. Instead, a fake punt gained 38 yards and a 1st down. The Jets would then score again, as Smith found Jeff Cumberland on a 23-yard touchdown pass, extending the lead to ten.
Tannehill would take the ball on the next possession and look to put together a drive, but would be under constant pressure on every single play. On just that possession, he was sacked three times, hit nearly every play of the nine snaps, and would eventually fumble the ball, essentially sealing the game and Miami's 8-8 record. Tannehill would set a team record for completions in a season during the game, surpassing Dan Marino's 385 in 1994, as well as become the only Dolphins quarterback not named Dan Marino to throw for more than 4,000 yards. Marino last did the feat in 1992.
The Jets would add a field goal with 39 seconds left, making the final score 37-24.
The Dolphins, with the loss, continue a streak of six straight seasons without a winning record. They now head into the offseason looking to figure out what went wrong, going from a record of 7-5 and the playoffs in front of them to 8-8 and a bunch of question marks.
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