By: Brandon Liguori
Filling in for Tua Tagovailoa, who was inactive due to a left thumb injury, Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins took care of business on the road Sunday afternoon against Adam Gase and the winless New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, 20-3. Fitzpatrick, who last started in Miami’s 24-0 victory vs. these same Jets Oct. 18, finished with 257 passing yards and two touchdown scores, too, putting the Dolphins back in the AFC playoff conversation.
In two games against the Jets in 2020, Brian Flores’ unit out-scored Gase’s unit, 44-3. “I thought Ryan played well. He made enough plays to help us win the game. He spread the ball around to a number of different receivers,” Flores said. Miami’s defense did not have to worry about veteran Joe Flacco this time around, as the former USC product Sam Darnold took the nod under center in the second meeting.
Darnold, taking three sacks, threw two interceptions, one at the hands of Xavien Howard, who pulled down his league-leading seventh interception in the fourth quarter. Miami trailed early, 3-0, but 20 unanswered points sealed the deal, as the Dolphins completed the two-game season sweep of their division rival for the second time in the last three seasons.
“I felt like I missed a couple throws out there. Obviously made two bad decisions which led to the two picks, so I’ve got to be better from that standpoint,” Darnold said, who drops to 1-4 in five career meetings against Miami.
There were certain moments in the game, most notably the third quarter, where the Dolphins were playing sloppy football, but give credit to Josh Boyer’s unit for keeping Darnold and company out of the end zone. When a media member had asked Gase about why his team has struggled to score points against Miami, Gase’s response, a pretty interesting one, was this: “Because they have one of the top defenses. They’re tough. Those corners are tough. They do a good job of mixing up their fronts and their defenses. We just didn’t take advantage of any opportunities. When we had guys open, we didn’t hit them. When we made some good throws, we didn’t finish the play. They’re a tough defense to go against. You have very, very small window of error.”
Flores’ group has a perfect opportunity to improve to 8-4 next Sunday, as the 2-8-1 Joe Burrow-less Cincinnati Bengals pay a visit to Hard Rock Stadium, who suffered a close 19-17 loss Sunday vs. the New York Giants.
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