The Miami Dolphins hosted the New York Jets Sunday afternoon in the second meeting between the two AFC East rivals this season. The game was a lot closer than it needed to be, but the Dolphins held on at the end.
The win moves Miami back to .500 on the season at 7-7. It also extended their winning streak to six games and keeps them in the middle of the AFC playoff picture.
Jets 24 - Dolphins 31
The Dolphins received the opening kickoff, starting at their own 25-yard line after a touchback. Miami did nothing with the ball, turning to running back Duke Johnson on the first two plays, picking up three- and four-yards on the runs. On 3rd-and-2, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Johnson failed on the exchange, with either Tagovailoa holding the ball too long on the run-pass option read or Johnson not taking the handoff properly, and Tagovailoa had to jump on the loose ball. Miami punted on the three-and-out possession.
That was not a great start, which is odd for Miami this year. Usually, their first possession is great, then they fall off some. Johnson picked up some good yardage in his first start, but the fumbled handoff obviously crushed the drive.
Running back Michael Carter started the drive for the Jets with a six-yard run, moving the ball out to the Jets’ 23-yard one. Quarterback Zach Wilson took over from there, throwing for 55 yards on five pass attempts as the Jets moved down the field. Tevin Coleman picked up 12 yards on two carries on the drive, while Braxton Berrios picked up 10 yards including a two-yard touchdown run. Jets 7-0.
That was too easy for the Jets. Wilson was effective and the Dolphins defense has to tighten up quickly. For a Miami team that usually starts hot, then has to fight to keep the rhythm later in the game, this is not a great start for either the offense or the defense.
On 1st-and-10, Tagovailoa looked deep to tight end Mike Gesicki, but the ball was picked off by Ashtyn Davis.
No. No. No.
The Jets began their second drive at the Miami 25-yard line. Carter picked up two yards before Wilson threw short to Tyler Kroft who turned it into an 11-yard gain. Carter picked up another three yards, with the Jets trying a throw-back pass from Keelan Cole to Wilson, but defensive lineman Zach Sieler recognized the play and ran toward Wilson, making himself as large as possible to break up the pass. After a Wilson throw away under pressure on 3rd-and-7, the Jets extended their lead with a 27-yard field goal. Jets 10.
At least the defense held a little. New York had not led any game by 10 points this season, and Miami immediately spots them a 10-point lead.
The Dolphins came out looked to get into a rhythm, but a Johnson run for no gain and two incomplete Tagovailoa passes - both of which were nearly intercepted - and Miami punted on another three-and-out drive.
The Dolphins flat out got luck on that drive. Both of Tagovailoa’s passes were tipped into the air and, really, should have been picked off.
Miami’s defense stepped up on the Jets drive, shutting down an Austin Walter run after just one yard, then forcing two incomplete passes, including a nice pass breakup from Byron Jones. The Jets punted on the three-and-out.
Okay, the defense seems to have awakened. Now it is time for the offense to show up.
Tagovailoa opened the drive with a five-yard pass to DeVante Parker, then Myles Gaskin picked up four yards. Johnson added 10 yards, followed by two Tagovailoa passes, one to Gesicki for one yard and one to Albert Wilson, who caught the tipped ball and turned it into a nine-yard gain. The first quarter ended after the catch.
Not at all what Miami needed in the first period. They have to execute better on both sides of the ball.
After the break, Miami caught the Jets with a single-coverage safety on Parker, with Tagovailoa connecting on the 37-yard gain down to the Jets’ two-yard line. After a one-yard run from Johnson, the running back was able to punch it in for the score on 2nd-and-Goal. Jets 10-7.
That was a little better, but still felt forced rather than an offense in rhythm.
New York picked up five yards on first down thanks to a Carter run, then saw 15 free yards when Andrew Van Ginkel hit Wilson a step too late on the 2nd-and-5 pass attempt. Now at their 45-yard line, the Jets picked up three yards from Carter, then six yards on a pass from Wilson to Jamison Crowder. Miami then got caught with 12 players on the field. The Jets broke out another trick play, with a back pass to Wilson, who was flushed and nearly sacked but got away and found Griffin for a 23-yard gain. From the Miami 17-yard line, the Jets ran Coleman three times, picking up five-, seven-, and four-yards on the plays. On 2nd-and-Goal from the one, Wilson scored on a quarterback sneak. Jets 17-7.
The Jets have averaged 16 points a game over the last several weeks. They have 17 early in the second quarter. Miami needs to wake up right now.
Miami came out running on their next possession. The first 10 plays of the drive included nine runs, counting scrambles from Tagovailoa. Johnson picked up 23 yards on four carries, Gaskin accounted for six yards on two carries, and Tagovailoa picked u 13 yards on two scrambles. Tagovailoa found Parker for 15 yards on the second play of the drive, then found Gesicki for 12 yards and Durham Smythe for four yards before two incomplete passes forced the team to settle for the 24-yard field goal to end a 14-play, 69-yard drive. Jets 17-10.
That was a much better possession for the Dolphins, though it was odd for them to go so heavy on the run. The Dolphins are among the most pass-happy teams in the league, so to see them run so much on one drive was unexpected. They went away from the run at the end, however, and it forced them to settle for the field goal. Jacoby Brissett came into the game for two handoffs to Johnson, setting up the possibility of a quarterback sneak based on Brissett’s size compared to Tagovailoa.
Carter was stuffed by Wilkins on first down, dropping the running back for a five-yard loss and setting up a 2nd-and-15 play for the Jets. After an incomplete pass, the Jets broke out another gadget play, with Wilson throwing short to Crowder, who continued his slant route before throwing the ball back to Berrios who was alone near the line of scrimmage. Berrios picked up 22 yards on the play. Wilson was sacked on the first-down play, pulled down by Jerome Baker, then threw an incomplete pass. After an 11-yard run from Walter on 3rd-and-19, the Jets punted.
The defense wants to shut down the Jets offense. They are just a little off.
Miami knelt after the punt to kill the clock.
This is not at all what should be happening today. The Dolphins need to take care of business if they want to stay relevant in the AFC playoff picture, and they are not doing that right now. Miami has to wake up and start playing like they did in the five weeks before the bye - a stretch that included beating this Jets team.
The offense is out of sync. The defense is close but not there yet. The Dolphins have to fix this during halftime and come out firing in the second half.
Tua Tagovailoa is struggling, throwing 7-for-12 for 83 yards with a pick and a fumble/fumble recovery. Duke Johnson is the highlight for the offense right now, picking up 42 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. DeVante Parker has three receptions for 57 yards.
The Jets began the second half with the ball, but the Miami defense showed up on the possession. Coleman ran for no gain on first down, with linebacker Elandon Roberts and Sieler stuffing him at the line of scrimmage. After a sack from Emmanuel Ogbah on second down, Wilson was forced to scramble for a four-yard gain, setting up a Jets punt on the three-and-out.
Okay, the defense showed up. Now the offense needs to do something.
Starting at their own 22-yard line, Miami picked up four yards on a Johnson run. After Tagovailoa slid for a zero-yard sack, he came back to find Isaiah Ford for 27 yards on a gorgeous dime dropped into the receiver’s hands. Tagovailoa then threw a delayed screen pass to Johnson, who turned it into a 20-yard gain, with Jets safety Elijah Riley injured on the play. Albert Wilson took the end-around for one yard before an incomplete pass from Tagovailoa who had to throw the ball away on another screen attempt. On 3rd-and-9, Tagovailoa connected with Gesicki who turned upfield for a 20-yard gain. With the ball at the Jets’ six-yard line, Johnson powered forward, stretching the ball out at the end for the score. Tied 17-17.
Riley’s injury was ugly. He had to be carted off with his head secured to a stretcher after running into a teammate. The good news was he was moving his arms as he was carted into the locker room. As for the drive, that is exactly what the Dolphins needed. Effective execution, with Tagovailoa hitting some good passes. Johnson is showing he needs to be a bigger part of this offense the rest of the season.
The Jets began their drive with an incomplete pass, followed by a six-yard run from Carter. On 3rd-and-4, the Dolphins had a clear shot at Wilson, but somehow the quarterback avoided Justin Coleman’s blitz, and his second attempt at the tackle, got around Christian Wilkins, cut back between two more defenders, and converted with a six-yard scramble. Miami’s defense decided that was enough, however, as they recorded a sack on first down, with Brandon Jones getting to Wilson, and on third down, with Andrew Van Ginkel getting him. In between there was a nine-yard pass to Crowder, but it was not enough to keep the drive alive and New York punted.
The defense is getting home now. This looks more like what we should have seen in the first half.
Miami started with an incomplete pass on first down, but then found their rhythm again. Gaskin picked up six yards, then Tagovailoa ran through his progressions to find Isaiah Ford for the first down. Tagovailoa then scrambled for nine yards before Johnson converted the first down with a three-yard run. Johnson then picked up another seven yards followed by a Gaskin run for two yards, then no gain. Brissett came back into the game to convert the quarterback sneak for a first down on 4th-and-Inches, with Johnson then picking up 11 yards and the quarter ended.
Miami may have really found something with Johnson getting more carries. They are picking up chunks of yards with a much more balanced attack than we usually see from this team. Johnson has 73 yards on 15 carries, just shy of five-yards per carry, and Miami has 115 yards rushing for the game. This from the 31st ranked rushing team this season.
Starting the quarter with the ball at the Jets’ 11-yard line, Johnson picked up three yards. Tagovailoa was forced to throw away the ball on second down as Bryce Hall interfered with Parker in the endzone, setting up Miami at the Jets 1-yard line. Tagovailoa then faked the handoff and looked to Wilkins, again lined up as a fullback, in the endzone for the touchdown. Dolphins 24-17.
Touchdown! Dolphins lead! Wilkins!— The Phinsider (@thephinsider) December 19, 2021
Great execution on the drive. Beautiful touchdown from Wilkins! Miami back in the lead and now needs to put this away.
Kroft picked up 24 yards on the first down play for the Jets, taking a short pass around the end as the closest defender fell down. Coleman then picked up 20 yards straight up the middle of the defense. After that, however, the defense decided enough was enough, with Zach Sieler sacking Wilson and stripping the ball, while Emmanuel Ogbah recovered the loose ball for Miami.
Two chunk plays were frightening, but the defense did exactly what they needed to do to get the ball back for the offense. Time to lock this down.
Starting with the ball at their own 39-yard line, Miami began with a two-yard run from Johnson. After an offensive holding penalty backed Miami into a 2nd-and-18 play, Tagovailoa threw to Ford, who committed the holding foul, for 17 yards. Gaskin took the Wildcat snap, but did not pick up anything. On 4th-and-1, Miami either tried a fake punt and Clayton Fejedelem did not know it, or else a bad snap hit the safety in the face and the Jets were able to fall on the fumble.
Needed to get something there to eat clock. Not sure which way that punt/fake punt was supposed to be, but the defense has to step up now. Rough ask given the Jets are starting at the Miami 45.
Carter was stuffed for a two-yard loss on first down, then an incomplete pass from Wilson on second down. Facing 3rd-and-12, Wilson was sacked by Jerome Baker for a 10-yard loss and a three-and-out.
The defense attacked and got it done. Jaelan Phillips just missed the sack on third down, but he flushed Wilson straight into Baker and Ogbah.
Starting at their own 20-yard line, Johnson picked up three yards for the Dolphins. Johnson picked up 24 yards on the next play, but a holding penalty negated the play. On 2nd-and-14, Tagovailoa floated a ball toward Hunter Long on an out-route, with Brandin Echols picking off the pass and returning it for the touchdown. Tied 24-24.
That was a bad pass from Tagovailoa. He stared down Long, then threw a floating pass out there, just asking for the pick.
Miami started at the 25-yard line after the touchback, beginning with a nine-yard pass from Tagovailoa to Gesicki. They returned to the ground game after that though, with Johnson picking up eight yards, then Gaskin adding 32 yards, then Gaskin for four yards, followed by a 12-yard gain from Johnson. After a one-yard run set up 2nd-and-9 from the Jets’ 11-yard line, Tagovailoa looked to Parker in the endzone. A slant pass on 3rd-and-9 to Parker ended with the receiver in the endzone. Dolphins 31-24.
That was a much better drive. This ground game has finally found itself and it is causing all kinds of problems for the Jets. Johnson is over 100 yards. Tomorrow marks one year since the last time Miami has had a 100-yard rusher.
The Jets went three-and-out, picking up one yard on the possession. The good news for New York on the possession was the punt was a 63-yarder, setting up Miami at the 14-yard line.
The defense is shutting down the Jets completely at this point.
Miami began their possession with a one-yard pass from Tagovailoa to Gesicki, taking the clock to the two-minute warning. After the break, Johnson picked up four yards, with the Jets calling timeout. An incomplete pass on a slant toward Parker ended the drive and led to a Miami punt.
The Dolphins needed to use so much more time on that possession.
After the punt, the Jets started at their own 37, but a holding penalty backed them up 10 yards. Two incomplete passes were followed by a 10-yard pass from Wilson to Crowder. On 4th-and-10, Wilson threw to Cole for nine yards, giving the ball back to Miami on the turnover on downs.
The defense did just enough to end the game.
Miami knelt to kill the clock and get the win.