The Miami Dolphins are back to .500. Back from the depths of 1-7, back from a disastrous season, as my beard continues to grow. Soon I can play a young Santa as the Dolphins have won their sixth straight. This game may have been a gift, as the Dolphins started poorly, made several terrible mistakes, but due to the New York Jets and their continued ineptitude found a way to win the game 31-24.
I despise the Dolphins uniforms; they are not the aqua jerseys I grew up watching. I'm not too fond of the logo; it is not the classic dolphin with a helmet. When they wear the all-teal, it makes me feel queazy. The throwback is the perfect uniform, and I have not seen it enough this season. The Dolphins look like they are wearing hospital scrubs or pajamas when they are wearing the monochromatic teal nightmares. Pajamas would be appropriate as the Jets got off to a flying start taking an early 10-0 lead as the Dolphins went three and out on their first possession, and Tua Tagovailoa threw an interception on the next possession. Meanwhile, the Jets went down and scored with ease on their first possession, while the Miami defense held the Jets to a field goal after the interception.
The Dolphins' third possession was also terrible as they went three and out, with Tua looking lost as Jaylen Waddle, his favorite target, could not play due to COVID safety protocols. The Jets would also go three and out as the Dolphins' defense settled the game down. With Duke Johnson carrying the load, the Dolphins' offense began to get on track as the first quarter ended. Miami would get on the scoreboard with a touchdown by Johnson. The Jets answered with a touchdown to take a 17-7 lead. However, as the first half ended, the momentum began to turn as the Dolphins got a 24-yard field goal from Jason Sanders.
Trailing 17-10 at the half, the Dolphins got a three and out from the Jets and scored a touchdown to tie the game. Tua, helped by the running of Duke Johnson, began to find open receivers, completing a 27-yard pass to Isaiah Ford. He also had a 20-yard pass to Mike Gesicki to set up Johnson for a six-yard run. Duke Johnson, a veteran who has spent most of the season on the practice squad, rushed for 102 yards, the first Dolphins rusher to reach the century mark on the season.
As the Dolphins' defense began to get to Zach Wilson, the Jets' offense sputtered in the second half. Meanwhile, Miami took control of the game and took the lead as the fourth quarter began with Tua Tagovaioa connecting with Christian Wilkins on a one-yard touchdown pass. A defensive tackle who came in to load the line, Wilkins celebrated the touchdown with a Hard Rock leap that sent the front row scurrying away. He then went back on the field and did a worm, which was somewhat familiar.
The fourth quarter would see things get tight again, as the Dolphins did their best to give the game away in the spirit of the Holiday season. Following a strip-sack of Zach Wilson, the Dolphins messed up a fourth down and inches by trying a fake punt. The Dolphins' defense did not allow the Jets to get a first down, but the field position change set up a pick-six, with Brian Echols jumping the route and going 20-yard to tie the game 24-24.
The Dolphins had the perfect answer following the disastrous pass, driving 75 plays in four minutes, with DeVante Parker reeling in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Tagovailoa. A significant play on the drive was a 28-yard run by Myles Gaskins, as Miami has a season-best 183 yards on the ground. With Tua Tagovailoa throwing two interceptions and completing 16 of 27 passes for 196 yards, the Dolphins run game, which ranked 31st in the NFL, was essential for winning the game, as Duke Johnson provided the lot they needed.
The Dolphins' defense did the rest, as the Jets could not move the ball on their final two drives. Miami lost the turnover battle 3-1 but had six sacks of Zach Wison, with Jerome Baker leading the way with a pair of quarterback takedowns. The Dolphins now head into Christmas with a tiny bit of hope for the playoffs as they play next Monday night in New Orleans with a chance to go over .500 with a game against the Saints.