With rumors that head coach Rex Ryan will likely be fired, the Jets showed up to play for their head coach Sunday, backing up that this team has not quit despite their horrid record.
The Jets improved to 4-12 with a 37-24 road win over the Dolphins, the second straight year that the Jets have ended their season in Miami with a win.
For much of the game Sunday, it looked like yet another Jets loss, especially in the early minutes after halftime. A 97-yard touchdown run by Lamar Miller at the beginning of the third quarter – this after the Jets went for it on fourth down from the Dolphins 3-yard line – put Miami in clear control with a 24-14 lead.
- Celebrity deaths 2018: All the stars we lost too soon 45 Pictures
- 10 finalists for TIME Person of the Year 2018 11 Pictures
To their credit, the Jets battled back via an 84-yard long touchdown pass between quarterback Geno Smith and wide receiver Eric Decker and then two Nick Folk field goals gave the Jets a 27-24 lead with 14:12 left in the fourth quarter.
Twice in the first half the Dolphins overcame a deficit with a touchdown score, the second time when quarterback Ryan Tannehill hit tight end Charles Clay for a 23-yard touchdown, a play that happened due to do busted coverage.
Late in the fourth quarter after the Jets faked a punt to get the first down, Smith connected with tight end Jeff Cumberland for a 23-yard touchdown for a 34-24 lead to secure the win.
Smith finished the game 20-for-25 for 358 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. It was the quarterback's best passing performance of the season.
After some shaky moments in the first three quarters, the Jets defense settled down to put in a rather solid performance, including accumulating seven sacks.
Three Things That Went Right in the Jets Win:
Oh Wow Owusu: It was a big day for the Jets unheralded wide receiver, who made a statement that he could be a part of the team's core moving forward. A first quarter touchdown for Owusu came off a pitch where the young wide receiver scampered around the right side of the offensive line and went untouched into the endzone. The score put the Jets up 7-3 late in the first quarter, answering back after the Dolphins went up on a field goal on their opening drive. Five players earlier on that Jets touchdown drive, quarterback Geno Smith linked up with Owusu for a 36-yard gain. Owusu came into Sunday's game with 42 yards of total offense COMBINED over the past two seasons and he had 59 yards in the first two series and added an 87-yard kickoff return at the start of the second half. Not a bad day.
Curtain Call?: In theory, this should be Geno Smith's last game as the starting quarterback of the Jets as the former second round pick has baffled through 30 starts. He had moments of brilliance Sunday, including a big pass play to Chris Owusu in the first quarter and a nifty shovel pass to tight end Jace Amaro in the second quarter. Then there was the stupidity, such as poor ball control on a quarterback keeper out of the read option. That turnover led to a Dolphins touchdown as they took a 10-7 lead. Inconsistencies have plagued Smith for two years, but it is hard to forget moments such as his 41-yard pass to Eric Decker in the second quarter or his 74-yard connection over the top in the third quarter for his second passing touchdown of the game. This game showed both sides of Smith's development.
He's a No. 1: Eric Decker was the big name signing of the Jets offseason, the prized free agent inked by outgoing general manager John Idzik.. The knock on Decker was that he wasn't a true No. 1 wide receiver and his numbers this year weren't tremendous, in large part due to inconsistent quarterback play. But Decker showed up on Sunday and finished with a season-high 10 for 221 yards with a touchdown, including some gutsy plays. It shows another building block in place for this team for next year.