The Miami Dolphins faced a New York Jets team that was short on the offensive side of the ball on Sunday. New York was able to overcome missing the team’s best offensive player, just barely, as it squeaked out a 22-21 victory with a game-winning field goal as time expired.
“It was a tough way to lose. I think more than anything right now, I’m proud of our guys. I’m proud of our locker room,” Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “The amount of guys we had go down and just trying to figure things out on the fly with some personnel issues in the second half. That was a really difficult game.”
New York controls ground game despite Bell’s absence
Jets’ (5-8) starting running back Le’Veon Bell was ruled out of the contest on Saturday, leaving a familiar backup, Bilal Powell, to face Miami again. He worked in tandem with RB Ty Montgomery to get New York over 100 yards rushing on the day. Powell, the ninth year back out of the University of Louisville, rushed 19 times for 74 yards. Montgomery added nine carries for 31 yards.
It wasn’t pretty, but Darnold did enough to earn win
Furthermore, for New York, QB Sam Darnold added two more TDs to his season total to help push the Jets to victory. He finished 20-for-36 for 262 yards, the two TDs and one interception. His first score went to wide receiver Robby Anderson for 26 yards, and his second went to Demaryius Thomas for 14 yards. Despite finding the end zone twice early in the game, New York could not sustain second-half drives. It found itself trailing in the fourth quarter despite Miami only kicking FGs on the day.
Dolphins kicker makes history (again)
“I think he did a great job all day. Seven is a pretty remarkable number of field goals in a game. Every time we really needed it, he kept hitting them, especially that last one. That was a great kick,” Fitzpatrick said.
The moment that changed the game
After Sanders hit his seventh FG of the game to put Miami up 21-19 with 1:33 remaining in the game, it was in the hands of Miami’s defense to come up big and make a big stop. Unfortunately, a controversial overturned pass interference call ultimately ended up sinking it.
Darnold lined up at the Dolphins 46-yard line and threw an incomplete pass to wideout Vyncint Smith, but the Jets argued that Miami’s defensive back Nik Needham interfered with the receiver. New York challenged the play for pass interference and officials reversed the initial no-call and said Needham wrapped his right arm around Smith’s right shoulder and committed the foul. This kept the drive alive, as they play converted a third-and-17 into an automatic first down.
Two plays later, Montgomery caught a 12-yard pass that got the ball to Miami’s 26-yard line, and Jets’ kicker Sam Ficken lined up for the 44-yard FG and nailed it for the win.
“Yeah, it was a tough game, hard-fought by our team. I’m proud of the way our guys played. They played hard. We had some guys go down, we had guys step in (and) make plays. We just didn’t make enough plays to win,” Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said.
Miami will get another crack to pick up a win in the Meadowlands as it takes on the 2-11 New York Giants on Sunday at 1 p.m.