EAST RUTHERFORD (CBSMiami/AP) — When Monday night’s game at MetLife Stadium reached halftime, the Miami Dolphins knew that adjustments had to be made.
The Dolphins were tired of the New York Jets running all over them.
Whether it was Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory or even wide receiver Greg Salas, the Dolphins couldn’t stop them on the ground. So, Miami waited for New York to make mistakes — and then took advantage.
“We had to draw a line in the dirt. No more,” Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake said after Miami’s 16-13 win Monday night. “We came out in the second half scheme-wise the same, but guys played the way they’re supposed to play.”
So, despite the Jets rushing for 277 yards — 210 in the first half — Miami made the plays it needed in the second half to rally for a comeback victory that kept the Dolphins (7-5) right in the middle of the AFC playoff race.
“Scratch, claw, bite, kick,” Wake said. “Whatever you have to do to make a play and win.”
Caleb Sturgis hit a 26-yard field goal with 1:57 remaining to put the Dolphins ahead, and Reshad Jones’ interception of Geno Smith’s pass to Jeff Cumberland sealed the victory.
“It’s December,” Dolphins rookie receiver Jarvis Landry said. “The only thing that matters is winning, no matter how you get it done.”
Smith threw only 13 times, fewest in the NFL this season. The usually reliable Nick Folk missed two field goals for the Jets (2-10).
“I feel sick,” coach Rex Ryan said. “Our guys just played great, for the most part, in a lot of areas. Dang. We can’t buy a win.”
After trailing most of the way, Miami tied it on Lamar Miller’s touchdown run with 10:24 remaining. New York got into field-goal range after Miami made it 13-all, but Koa Misi’s sack pushed the Jets back to the Miami 27 and Folk missed wide left for the second time. Folk had made 18 of 20 entering the game.
That’s the way the Jets’ season has gone, of course.
“I can’t believe we’re 2-10,” Ryan said, shaking his head and pausing. “It’s a joke.”
Here are a few other things to know from the Dolphins’ comeback win over the Jets:
RUN, JETS, RUN: The Jets, who ran for 218 yards at New England on Oct. 16, went into the game wanting to control the time of possession and keep Ryan Tannehill and Miami’s offense off the field.
Johnson had his best performance with the Jets, running for 105 yards. Salas put the Jets on the scoreboard first with a 20-yard end-around for his first NFL touchdown — and then left the game with a hamstring injury.
“It’s easy to sit back and say we didn’t throw the ball this much now, but we wanted to run the football against them,” Ryan said. “That gave us the best opportunity to win the game, both on offense and defense.”
EFFICIENCY UNDER CENTER: Tannehill finished 25 of 35 for 235 yards, marking the fifth straight game he has completed at least 70 percent of his passes.
On the winning drive that led to Sturgis’ 26-yarder, Tannehill converted on third-and-7 with a 17-yard pass to backup tight end Dion Sims. He has thrown for 2,817 yards with 20 touchdowns and just nine interceptions, with a 92.0 quarterback rating.
“The one thing about this team is no matter what the situation is at halftime,” Tannehill said, “we feel like we can come out and play well to finish the game.”
NOT-SO-SPECIAL TEAMS: The Jets had two missed field goals by Folk, including a 45-yarder with 5:42 left that would have put New York ahead. He wasn’t alone, though.
The Jets had four penalties on special teams, including a holding call against Saalim Hakim that set up the Dolphins at the New York 39 on the tying drive. Ryan Quigley also had a punt blocked for the second straight game.
“I don’t get it,” Ryan said. “We got outplayed on special teams.”
STRUGGLING SMITH: After starting Michael Vick the previous three games, the Jets turned back to Smith — but he had just seven completions as New York focused on running the ball.
“It has zero to do with us not having faith in our quarterback,” Ryan insisted.
New York introduced the offense before the game — but didn’t announce Smith’s name. The second-year quarterback said it was his decision not to come out with the rest of the starters, not because he was worried about a rude reception from the fans.
“I just wanted to run out with the team,” Smith said. “I wanted to run out with the guys.”
WHERE IS EVERYBODY? The paid attendance was 78,160, but MetLife Stadium was about half-empty at kickoff as rain pelted the area.
There were several thousand Dolphins fans in the stands early on, and many good seats remained available on some ticket sites about an hour before the game. The combination of the lousy weather and the team’s lousy record clearly kept many away — even though the Jets inducted fan favorite Wayne Chrebet and late owner Leon Hess into their Ring of Honor at halftime.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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