In a game that had the feeling of a heavyweight fight rather than a pro football game, the Miami Dolphins defeated the New York Jets by a final score of 27-23 and extended their win streak to a season best three games. The win improves Miami to 4-4 on the year, and for the time being, puts the ‘Fins in second place in the AFC East.

The victory also snapped the Jets’ three-game win streak over the Dolphins and marked the first time that the ‘Fins successfully defended home-field in their head-to-head series since January 2012. This was a typical slugfest game between these old bitter rivals, and as expected, a single score was the differential.

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Offense: B+

The biggest story coming into this game was Jay Ajayi’s historic quest. However, much like his three predecessors, the Dolphins’ running back would fall short of his mark in an attempt to become the first player ever to rush for 200 yards in three straight games.

Going up against the NFL’s top rushing defense, Ajayi rushed for 111 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. Meanwhile, quarterback Ryan Tannehill didn’t have a great game, but once again did just enough to get the job done, connecting on 17-of-28 passes for 149 yards and a score for a quarterback rating of 86.8.

As a team, Miami tallied 20 first downs with nine coming through the air, seven on the ground and four via penalties. Tannehill & Co. went 5-for-11 on first downs, 0-for-1 on fourth downs and racked up a total of 274 yards. The Dolphins ran 62 total plays, which averaged out to 4.4 yards per play. Other Dolphin standouts on the offensive side of the rock included Dominique Jones (3 catches, 42 yards, TD) and Jarvis Landry (3 catches, 33 yards).

Defense: A-

Defensively, Miami’s resistance answered the bell with a bend-but-don’t-break effort. They limited the Jets to 17 first downs, out of which, 10 came through the air, three times on the ground and four thanks to penalties committed by Miami. The Dolphins defense also allowed 330 yards (140 rushing yards and 190 passing yards) on the afternoon, but lived up to their NFL-best third-down ranked defense by holding Gang Green to just 2-for-11 in crucial spots.

Miami’s defense also helped win the turnover battle, 2-0, picking off Ryan Fitzpatrick twice, including a crucial red zone interception by Bobby McCain that put an end to the Jets’ hopes of a comeback. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has to be particularly pleased with the work done by Miami’s front-four, as they sacked Fitzpatrick three times and pressured him all afternoon long. The Dolphins’ Week 9 defensive standouts include Cameron Wake (2 sacks, 2 tackles), Ndamukong Suh (sack, 5 tackles), Jordan Phillips (tackle, pass defended, INT) and the aforementioned Bobby McCain (3 tackles, pass defended, INT).

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Special Teams: A-

From a specials teams standpoint, Miami was very fortunate not to let a crucial mistake cost them the victory. With the game on the line in the fourth quarter, punter Matt Darr (3 punts, 40 yards average, 2 inside opponent’s 20-yard line) mishandled a long snap that led to the Jets recovering the football inside the Dolphins’ 20-yard line. New York would go on to score a touchdown on the ensuing drive, which put them ahead, 23-20 with less than six minutes to go in the ball game.

Luckily, kick-returner Kenyan Drake (2 kick returns for 123 yards) would pick up his teammates, returning a kick 96 yards all the way to pay-dirt, putting Miami back on top for good, 27-23.  Kicker Andrew Franks was perfect on the afternoon, connecting on both of his field goal attempts to go along with a trio of extra-points.

Coaching: A+

Adam Gase and his coaching staff not only did a phenomenal job of play-calling all afternoon long, but also got the players in the right frame of mind to come out and avoid a letdown. With the team very well aware that the Jets’ gameplan was to stop Ajayi and force Tannehill to win the game, offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen kept Todd Bowles and his crew on their toes all game long.

Up Next: San Diego Chargers (Week 10) in SoCal

After a huge win, Miami will travel to a different time zone in order to try and get over .500 for the first time this season. Standing in their way will be Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers, who are coming off a 43-35 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

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Post Author: Abraham Gutierrez.