East Rutherford, N.J. (SportsDirect Inc.) — With quarterback Ryan Tannehill sidelined by an ACL and MCL sprain in his right knee, the Miami Dolphins have little choice but to turn the keys over to veteran Matt Moore in their drive to end an eight-year playoff drought.
The 32-year-old Moore will make his first start in five years on Saturday night as Miami begins a stretch of three straight games versus AFC East opponents with a visit to the New York Jets.
“My heart breaks, man. I know how much (Tannehill) just puts his heart and soul into this and hard work,” said Moore, who went 3-for-5 for 47 yards to lead Miami to a game-winning field goal in Sunday’s 26-23 triumph over Arizona.
While the Dolphins reside on the wrong end of a tiebreaker for the final wild-card spot, the Jets’ destination is all but assured as they have made themselves comfortable in the cellar of the division.
New York snapped a four-game losing skid in impressive fashion on Sunday, however, as Bilal Powell exploded for 179 yards and two touchdowns on 34 touches in a 23-17 overtime win versus San Francisco.
Powell could receive the bulk of the work against Miami’s 30th-ranked rush defense (133.8 yards per game) with veteran running back Matt Forte nursing a knee injury.
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network. LINE: Dolphins -2.5. O/U: 38
ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (8-5): While Moore is known as a bit of a gunslinger, coach Adam Gase likely will look to take pressure off the veteran quarterback and lean on Jay Ajayi and the ground game as it targets a Jets team that was gashed for 193 rushing yards by Carlos Hyde on Sunday. Ajayi amassed 111 yards in Miami’s 27-23 victory over New York on Nov. 6 but has struggled to get untracked of late with 154 yards on 50 carries over his last three games. Ajayi recorded back-to-back 200-yard performances with Mike Pouncey in the lineup, but the Pro Bowl center was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with an ailing hip.
ABOUT THE JETS (4-9): Quarterback Bryce Petty has enjoyed quite the connection with promising wideout Robby Anderson, with the pair hooking up on a 26-yard reception to set up the winning touchdown in overtime Sunday. The 23-year-old Anderson has converted 23 targets over the last two games into 10 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown. By comparison, veteran wide receiver and former Dolphin Brandon Marshall (team-leading 56 catches, 744 yards) matched his season low with three receptions for 33 yards versus San Francisco.
1. New York placed S Marcus Gilchrist and RT Breno Giacomini on injured reserve, raising the team’s total to 12 players on IR.
2. Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry (team-leading 79 receptions) was limited to a season low-tying three receptions for 33 yards against the Jets.
3. New York has a league-worst minus-18 turnover differential this season.
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