The Jets lost in the most Jets way possible in a stunning 27-23 defeat to the Miami Dolphins.
The fact the Jets (3-6) lost to the Dolphins (4-4) wasn’t the shocking point, although Gang Green had enjoyed recent success playing in Miami. It was how New York managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Neither team played as if they wanted to win this game, as the contest was marred by penalties and questionable play calling. But when the Dolphins needed to make a play and snatch this win out of the Jets’ hands, they found a way. It was a weird game with little ebb and flow, as neither squad was able capitalize on the other’s mistakes — particularly in the fourth quarter.
A microcosm of the afternoon came midway through the final stanza. New York quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was picked off in the end zone with seven minutes remaining in the game on a misread third-down attempt with only rookie Robbie Anderson in the area. Surprisingly, the erroneous throw didn’t hurt Gang Green, as the Dolphins went three-and-out on the ensuing series, which culminated in punter Matt Darr’s flubbed catch on the snap on the very next play at Miami’s 18-yard line. It set up Jalin Marshall’s first career touchdown, two plays later — an 18-yard grab with 5:42 remaining, which gave Gang Green hope they’d escape with a win.
It seemed the Jets were primed for its third-straight win and maybe get back into the AFC’s Wild Card race. But Jets things happened on the ensuing kickoff, as rookie Kenyan Drake went 96 yards for the eventual game-winning touchdown following an offsides penalty against safety Antonio Allen on the previous kickoff attempt.
The Dolphins got a new lease on life, Drake took it to the house and it essentially buried the Jets’ hopes of making an amazing second-half playoff surge. Linebacker Julian Stanford sealed Gang Green’s fate on the next Miami possession with a pass interference call while guarding backup tight end Dominique Jones on third-and-one near midfield, with the Jets clinging to minimal hope.
Metro takes a look at other mishaps and events that caused such a heartbreaking defeat.
What we saw:
1. The magic is gone
Fitzpatrick may still be the best option for the Jets at quarterback, but with the season likely already over, it may be time for head coach Todd Bowles to consider getting one of the two kids ready. Bryce Petty briefly entered the game when Fitzpatrick suffered a knee malady in the second half and went 2-of-2 for 19 yards. But judging by Bowles’ postgame declaration that he’s still “sticking with” the veteran journeyman, Jets fans will still have to wait to see either Petty or rookie Christian Hackenberg on the field. But Fitzpatrick (17-of-28, 193 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions) is dangerously teetering on being benched, especially after tossing his league-leading 12th and 13th interceptions, so it shouldn’t be too much longer.
2. Red-zone woes continue
Wideout Brandon Marshall noted after the game that the inefficiencies “falls on Fitz and I,” but the lack of production in the red zone has been a team effort. The Jets went 0-of-4 in the red zone before Jalin Marshall’s score. And Fitzpatrick leads the league in red-zone interceptions with five. The inability to put sevens on the board instead of threes was a primary reason why the sloppy Dolphins were always able to stay within striking range. The Jets now have a league-high seven field goal attempts from inside the 6-yard line.
3. The Ajayi affect
The Jets came into the game ranked No. 1 against the run, yielding just 74 yards a game. And it looked like they were going to put the clamps down on the Dolphins’ newly-found franchise back Jay Ajayi, as he was held to minus-8 yards on his first three carries. But the Boise State product stayed poised and patient and was able to grind out a solid stat line of 111 yards on 23 carries, including a 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Ajayi only had 23 rushing yards on 10 carries in the first half, meaning he eventually wore down Gang Green’s front and got better as the game extended.