Dolphins overtake run-happy Jets
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Miami Dolphins found the right formula to stay in the AFC playoff race: Simply let the Jets run the ball all night, and wait for New York to make mistakes.
It worked effectively in an old-fashioned — some might say dull — slugfest.
Caleb Sturgis' third field goal, from 26 yards with 1:57 remaining, gave Miami (7-5) a comeback 16-13 victory over its archrival.
New York (2-10) rushed for 277 yards on 49 carries, but made enough key errors in the second half to lose. The Dolphins remained a factor in the wild-card race thanks to special teams; rookie Jarvis Landry's eight receptions; Lamar Miller's 4-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter; and plenty of defense when the Jets needed to pass.
New York's Geno Smith threw only 13 times, fewest in the NFL this season, and gained 49 yards. The usually reliable Nick Folk missed two field goals.
All of that offset a season high on the ground as Chris Johnson had his best performance for the Jets with 105 yards.
"We had to draw a line in the dirt. No more," Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake said of his team's stinginess after halftime. "We came out in the second half scheme-wise the same, but guys played the way they're supposed to play."
Sturgis also made field goals of 43 and 44 yards.
"Can't believe we're 2-10," Jets coach Rex Ryan said, shaking his head and pausing. "It's a joke."
After trailing most of the way, Miami tied it on Miller's run with 10:24 remaining. That brought the loudest cheers of the night; thousands of Dolphins fans at MetLife Stadium braved the wet, windy conditions.
Jets problems with penalties on special teams hurt them all night, and a holding call against Saalim Hakim set up the Dolphins at New York's 39 on the tying drive. On the winning possession, backup tight end Dion Sims had catches of 18 and 17 yards.
The Jets kept pounding the ball effectively. They even got into field goal position after Miami made it 13-13. But Koa Misi's sack pushed New York back to the Miami 27 and Folk missed wide left for the second time. Folk had made 18 of 20 entering the game.
That's the way the Jets' season has gone, of course.
"I feel sick," Ryan said. "We can't buy a win."
Early on, Greg Salas, with his fourth team in four pro seasons, scored his first career touchdown. But the receiver didn't get it through the air, instead scoring on a well-conceived reverse on which the Dolphins had no one close to him until he reached the 2. He dived into the end zone to cap an 85-yard drive, but that ended his night; Salas hurt a hamstring.
Sturgis missed a 43-yard field goal on the next possession for Miami, further boosting New York's confidence. The Jets took the ball into Dolphins territory for the third successive series, and got more points on Folk's 40-yard field goal.
As New York kept grinding away on the ground — it had 210 yards rushing in the opening half — it also ate up the clock. But Folk missed from 48 yards and Miami took advantage on Sturgis' 43-yard field goal to end the half.
Sturgis added his 44-yarder to start the second half, and Folk followed with a 45-yarder that bounced off the crossbar and through, making it 13-6.