After coming off a disappointing loss just one week prior, the Miami Dolphins righted the ship and nearly earned their second shutout against the New York Jets this season on Sunday, traveling to the Meadowlands and claiming a 20-3 victory behind the heroics of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and a strong defense.
We saw two teams on different sides of the spectrum as Miami is now right back in the thick of the AFC playoff race with the win, now currently in the No. 6 spot, and the Jets still must wait at least another week for their first win and drop to 0-11 on the season.
Jets Jump on Scoreboard Early, Dolphins Score 20 Unanswered
The Jets struck first in the game with a 38-yard field goal less than six minutes into the game in what looked to be a promising drive cut just short. However, it quickly turned into a nightmare performance as New York strung together just a handful more plays in the game that was noteworthy, but none together to again get into scoring position.
The Dolphins then responded with 1:12 remaining in the first quarter to tie the game up at three apiece going into the second quarter with a 54-yard field goal from kicker Jason Sanders.
Second Quarter Saw Miami Take the Reigns
Then the second quarter was all Miami.
Fitzpatrick threw a 13-yard touchdown to his favorite tight end Mike Gesicki six minutes into the frame to put his team up 10-3. He earned the start in place of rookie phenom Tua Tagovailoa due to a left thumb injury and Fitzpatrick did not disappoint in the win. After the touchdown pass, the Dolphin defense held the Jets scoreless in the quarter, and Miami’s offense was able to get Sanders into range again to tack on another 50-plus yard field goal (51) to go up 13-3 at the half.
Quiet Second Half Only Saw Game-Capping Fourth Quarter TD
The third quarter was uneventful overall in terms of scoring as both teams were held scoreless during the third 15-minute period, and while the fourth quarter was much like the third quarter, the Dolphins managed to put the game away with another touchdown with 6:54 left in the ball game.
Fitzpatrick worked his TEs again as he found backup Adam Shaheen from seven yards out to put Miami up 20-3 on the road. That score would hold as time would run out allowing the Dolphins to improve to 7-4 overall, one of their best starts in years.
“I thought Josh (Boyer) called a great game, mixing the coverages,” Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said during the postgame press conference. “We got some red zone stops, a big stop on fourth-and-one, turnovers. Oftentimes people give me too much credit, but I think Josh has done a great job the entire year.”
Miami Used Strong Defense, Depleted Jets Team Overall to Pick Up Seventh Win
The Dolphins were not rolling on offense totally, as they again had a strong defensive performance. They took advantage of a struggling Jets team who just got their starting QB back from injury and were missing a piece of their running back room. RB Frank Gore got a bulk of the carries after his committee partner La’Mical Perine was placed on injured reserve this week with an ankle injury.
Miami kept the Jets from reaching the end zone and limited New York QB Sam Darnold to a 16-for-27 day for 197 yards and two interceptions. The Dolphins defense also held Gore to 74 yards on his 18 carries.
For Miami, Fitzpatrick went 24-for-39 for 257 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Dolphins Forced Key Turnovers in Victory
Turning the ball over proved to hurt the Jets at the end of the game more despite both teams coughing up the ball.
“Turnovers are such a big part of this game,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s momentum, it’s field position, it’s confidence overall. We don’t take that for granted on offense. It’s difficult to do and they’re been really good at it. It’s been great to be on the bench, looking at the tablet and someone handing you your helmet saying ‘X (Xavien Howard) got another interception.’”
DeAndre Washington, DeVante Parker: Team Leaders
In the receiving game, it was no surprise that Fitzpatrick returned to his 2019 favorite targets in WR DeVante Parker and Gesicki as they finished one-two on the day. Parker corralled eight of his 14 targets for 119 yards while Gesicki was second on the team with 35 yards and a score on two catches (five targets). Additionally, 10 Dolphins caught passes on Sunday for a season-high.
For New York, it was WR Breshad Perriman who led the way, hauling in four passes (eight targets) for 79 yards.
Miami Goes for the “Great Eight” Beginning with Three-Game Homestand Next Week
The next game for the Dolphins will be next Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals as Miami kicks off a three-game homestand. This game could feature a duo of backup QBs as the Bengals recently lost rookie Joe Burrow to a season-ending ACL/MCL injury and Tagovailoa’s thumb injury currently has no timetable for return. Regardless, the Dolphins will look to move to four games above .500 at 8-4 overall and kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. eastern.
Kayla Morton contributed to this article.