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MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – It wasn’t pretty, but they’ll surely take it.
The Miami Dolphins got back in the win column in a defensive battle with the New York Jets on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
The only touchdown of the day was off an interception as Miami came away with a 13-6 win over the rival Jets.
The Dolphins (5-4) only managed seven first downs and 168 yards of total offense, but thankfully Miami’s defense had perhaps its most dominant performance of the season.
Safety TJ McDonald led the team with nine tackles, including one for a loss, and was extremely active in the secondary.
Miami also sacked Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold four times and intercepted four passes, holding him to a quarterback rating of just 31.8.
It’s the third straight loss for New York (3-6), who will play three of its next four games against division opponents.
Filling in for injured quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the fourth straight week, Brock Osweiler took care of the ball but didn’t offer much more than that.
He completed 15-of-24 passes for just 139 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. He was sacked four times.
Danny Amendola led all Dolphins receivers with five catches for 47 yards. No other wideout wearing aqua had more than one catch.
Running back Kenyan Drake hauled in four receptions out of the backfield and rookie RB Kalen Ballage, who’s role continues to slowly grow week after week, caught two passes and was on the field when Miami ran its Wildcat package a couple of times.
RETURN TO TAKEAWAYVILLE
Miami was one of the best teams in the NFL when it came to taking the ball away during the first month of the season, but that changed drastically over the past few weeks.
Finally, the Dolphins defense got back to work and began trending up once again in that department.
They finished Sunday’s game with four interceptions, three of which came during the fourth quarter.
Kiko Alonso, Jerome Baker, TJ McDonald and Walt Aikens came away with the INT’s, and Baker returned his for Miami’s only touchdown of the day.
CAM WAKES UP
Cameron Wake is finally looking like his usual, healthy self.
Wake had his best and most dominant game of the season, sacking Jets QB Sam Darnold twice to bring his season total to three.
And speaking of waking up…
It wasn’t just Cam Wake that looked good on Sunday as Miami’s entire defense showed up against the Jets.
The front seven controlled the line of scrimmage throughout the afternoon, limiting New York to 80 rushing yards on 21 carries, an average of 3.8 yards per run.
Four sacks and four takeaways give an indication of rookie quarterback Sam Darnold’s afternoon, one that he’ll look to hit the delete button on as soon as he leaves Hard Rock Stadium.
Dolphins running back Frank Gore continued his historic season, passing Barry Sanders for 6th all-time in yards from scrimmage.
It happened on a 2-yard gain during the third quarter.
Gore finished the game with 53 rushing yards and a six-yard reception.
Last month against Chicago he became just the fifth player since 1970 to run for over 100 yards at age 35.
Also, back in September Gore moved into fourth place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list, passing Curtis Martin. He now trails only Emmitt Smith, Walter Peyton and Barry Sanders. He currently has rushed for 14,464 yards, trailing Sanders by 805 yards.
It’s no coincidence that nobody noticed Jason Sanders or Matt Haack on Sunday.
Sanders was perfect on all three of his kicks, which included two field goals (from 43 and 27 yards) and an extra point.
Haack’s punts were solid, all nine of them. He landed seven inside the Jets’ 20-yard-line and averaged 44.7 yards per kick.