The Miami Dolphins came into their Week 12 contest against the New York Jets looking to rebound after failing to show up for most of last week’s loss to the Denver Broncos. Miami also comes into the game with Ryan Fitzpatrick back as the starting quarterback after a practice injury to rookie Tua Tagovailoa’s throwing hand during the week’s practice. The Dolphins, 6-4 on the season, needs the win to keep themselves in the hunt for both a Wildcard position and the AFC East division title.
The Jets came into the game simply looking to win. At 0-10 on the season, New York has been unable to compete for much of the year. They did see the return of Sam Darnold, who reclaimed his role as the starting quarterback after missing the previous two weeks.
This was an ugly game for most of the day, with both offenses struggling to find a rhythm. The Dolphins pulled away at the end, but it was not a feel-good win like some of the contests earlier this season.
Dolphins 20 - Jets 3
First Half Recap
The Jets received the opening kick after Miami won the toss and deferred the decision until the second half. The immortal Frank Gore came out strong on the first drive, picking up 15 yards on the ground, plus a reception for six yards. Darnold, returning to the field, was three-for-three for 59 yards on the drive, but was sacked by Brandon Jones on 3rd-and-3, forcing a field goal attempt. Jets 3-0.
Miami looked to answer, but started the drive with a false start penalty from Robert Hunt, backing them up to a 1st-and-15. Fitzpatrick, making his first start for the Dolphins since Miami’s Week 6 game against the Jets, spread the ball around on the drive, finding Durham Smythe, Mack Hollins, and Malcolm Perry for 34 yards, while also targeting DeVante Parker and Adam Shaheen on the drive. Matt Breida, starting for the first time with the Dolphins, picked up eight yards on two carries. Miami initially looked like they were going to try to convert on a 4th-and-2 play from the Jets’ 38-yard line, but they got caught with 12-men on the field and punted on 4th-and-7.
New York found no rhythm on their next possession, with Darnold going 1-for-2 for six yards, plus picking up five yards on a rush. Gore carried twice for three yards on the possession. The Jets punted after the six-play possession.
The Dolphins started with the ball at their own 29-yard line, then quickly moved into Jets territory as Fitzpatrick threw for a five-yard gain to Durham Smythe, Breida added three yards on the ground, then Fitzpatrick looked deep to Mike Gesicki for a 22-yard gain. Fitzpatrick then connected with Jakeem Grant for five yards before throwing two incomplete passes and setting up a 54-yard field goal attempt from Jason Sanders. Tied 3-3.
The Jets started their next drive with a 19-yard pass from Darnold to Denzel Mims, but then saw the drive stall. Gore picked up six yards on two carries, followed by a Darnold incomplete pass. New York punted.
Miami came out in more of a rhythm on their third possession, finally starting to put together a strong drive. The drive started with a three-yard run from DeAndre Washington. Fitzpatrick then continued to spread the ball around the offense, finding Parker for 11-yards, then Hollins for seven yards, then he targeted Gesicki, but the incomplete pass was negated by an illegal contact penalty on Jets safety Marcus Maye. Miami continued the air assault, with Fitzpatrick throwing to Washington for six yards, then again for five yards. The quarterback then dropped a pass in to Parker for a 19 yard gain on a play that probably should have been called incomplete but, even after a replay challenge from Jets coach Adam Gase, it was ruled a completed pass and a fumble out of bounds. Fitzpatrick went right back to Parker on the next play, picking up another 17 yards. Washington then ran up the middle for four yards before losing two. Fitzpatrick then floated a jump ball into the endzone for Gesicki , who came down with the 13-yard touchdown. Dolphins 10-3.
New York responded with a three-and-out.
The Dolphins started at their own 31-yard line, with Fitzpatrick and Parker starting right where they left off with a 19-yard gain. Fitzpatrick continued to gunsling, throwing to Breida for 13 yards, then again for four yards. After an incomplete pass, Fitzpatrick was sacked for no loss, leading to a 51-yard field goal from Sanders. Dolphins 13-3.
Gore took it the Dolphins on the next drive. He picked up one yard for the Jets on the first play, then ran for no yardage on the next play, but finished the drive with 32 yards on the ground and six yards receiving. Other than Gore, the only other player on the drive to have any production was Jamison Crowder, who caught a pass for nine yards. The Jets looked to Sergio Castillo for a 29-yard field goal, but he pushed it wide right as the half ended.
First Half Immediate Reactions
The Dolphins offense through two drives seems just slightly off. Fitzpatrick is moving the ball, 7-for-11 for 66 yards in those drives, but the team just sort of stalls out. It just does not feel like they have the energy turned up yet.
Wow. The Dolphins got the benefit of a questionable ref call. I do not know how that Parker catch was not ruled an incomplete pass. The tuck of the football was clearly a football move, but it does not appear that he completed it or that he had possession the entire time.
That pass to Gesicki for the touchdown was perfectly placed and the tight end went up to get it. A great play that Miami needs to do more often.
Second Half Recap
Miami opened the second half with the ball, but two incomplete passes and a sack of Fitzpatrick for a six-yard loss led to the three-and-out drive.
New York started at their own 38-yard line after the punt. Josh Adam started the drive with a one-yard gain before Darnold looked deep to Perriman for a 27-yard gain. Gore picked up two yards before Darnold looked deep down the sideline for Mims, but Xavien Howard was in a better position and would have picked off the pass if not for Mims climbing up his back. After the offensive pass interference penalty, Gore picked up 10 yards. Darnold rolled out to his right on 3rd-and-8, looking deep for Crowder, but threw a perfect pass to Nik Needham for the interception.
The Dolphins opened with an incomplete pass before Fitzpatrick looked deep to Parker for 25 yards. After two incomplete passes, however, Fitzpatrick was sacked, with guard Jesse Davis able to jump on the fumbled ball, and Miami was forced to punt.
The Jets picked up 12 yards to start the drive with a Darnold to Perriman pass. After that, however, Darnold was only able to throw to Mims for three yards, Perriman for three yards, and Ty Johnson for one yard. New York punted.
Breida opened the Miami drive with a 12-yard gain, then followed that with a two-yard gain. An incomplete pass brought up 3rd-and-8, with Jakeem Grant coming away with the 10-yard reception. Breida then picked up five yards before being stuffed in the backfield for a three-yard loss and a fumble, which the Jets recovered.
Gore started the drive with a one-yard gain before two deep Darnold passes fell incomplete, leading to a three-and-out.
Miami started the drive with an incomplete pass then Fitzpatrick threw to Antonio Callaway for seven yards, then Parker for seven yards. Fitzpatrick was sacked on the 1st-and-10 play, losing four yards. After an incomplete pass, Patrick Laird took the handoff on a draw, picking up 11 yards before fumbling, with the Jets recovering.
The Jets then started with a two-yard run from Gore before the end of the third quarter. Darnold was sacked on second down, with Kyle Van Noy and Raekwon Davis breaking through the line Darnold threw a short pass to Mims on 3rd-and-16, with the receiver weaving his way to a 15-yard gain. On 4th-and-1, the Jets handed the ball to gore, but Elandon Roberts stuffed him for a one-yard loss.
Miami took over at their own 18-yard line, with Washington running for a three-yard gain. Fitzpatrick threw an incomplete pass targeting Parker on second down, then threw a quick slant to Parker on 3rd-and-7, picking up six yards. Miami punted.
New York came back and mirrored Miami’s three-and-out, starting with a seven-yard loss on a sack from Raekwon Davis and Jerome Baker. An incomplete pass and an eight-yard pass to Jeff Smith led to a punt.
Washington picked up 16 yards on first down to start getting Miami’s offense in gear. Fitzpatrick targeted Parker on the next play, with the ball falling incomplete but a flag coming in for defensive pass interference and a 12-yard penalty. Miami went back to the same play on the next snap, with Parker catching the pass for a 15-yard gain. Washington appeared to pick up eight yards, but a holding penalty on Ereck Flowers backed up the Dolphins. Fitzpatrick threw incomplete on 1st-and-15, then threw deep toward Grant, with a defensive pass interference giving Miami a free 30-yards and moving the Dolphins to the Jets’ 12. Washington picked up four yards on the next play, followed by a one-yard run. On 3rd-and-5, Miami scored on a pass over the middle to Shaheen. Dolphins 20-3.
A 35-yard kickoff return set up New York with the ball at their own 34-yard line. After a Johnson run for two yards, Darnold threw a pass toward Perriman that Xavien Howard picked off.
Washington picked up two yards to start the drive, then picked up four yards on second down. On 3rd-and-4, Fitzpatrick ran an option play for a 12-yard gain. Washington picked up three yards on the 1st-and-10 play at the Jets 22-yard line. Washington then added another yard. On 3rd-and-6, Miami went back to Breida, who picked up eight yards and took the clock down to the 2-minute warning. On 1st-and-Goal, Washington ran for five yards. Fitzpatrick then knelt to kill the clock.
Second Half Immediate Reactions
The Jets are loving the bubble screen. It feels a lot like a 2016-2018 Dolphins offense.
The second half feels stale from both teams. The Dolphins got lucky the Jets did nothing with the fumble recovery - but the Jets were also lucky the Dolphins did not come away with a pick on two bad passes from Darnold on the three-and-out possession.
This is so odd. The Dolphins are still winning 13-3, but it feels like a beat down right now. The offense is just trying to give away the game. The defense is just holding on as hard as they can right now.
Miami struggled all game, especially on offense, but they did enough to keep the Jets behind them.
Pick! Howard snags another and now is the sole leader in interceptions this year!
The Dolphins got the result they needed this week, even if it was not pretty.