|Date of game: 12/28/2014
Recap: Miami vs. NY Jets
Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - If the Jets had played this well all season, Rex Ryan's job security would never have been an issue.
Geno Smith threw for a career-high 358 yards with three touchdowns, including a 74-yard scoring strike to Eric Decker that ignited a run of 23 unanswered points, as New York concluded a dismal year with a 37-24 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium.
Decker caught 10 passes for 221 yards for the Jets (4-12), who hadn't scored more than 25 points in a game all year and gave Ryan a victory in what could be his final game as New York's head coach after six seasons.
Ryan compiled a record of 46-50 and is expected to soon learn his fate, although indications are that he, and possibly general manager John Idzik, will be fired. Ryan took the Jets to the AFC Championship Game after each of his first two seasons, but New York hasn't had a winning record since and this year's finish was the worst for the franchise since a 4-12 mark in 2007.
"It was just great to see our guys go out and get one today," said Ryan. "I don't want to take away from the effort of the players. It's not about me. I don't think it's the appropriate time to talk about my situation."
Miami coach Joe Philbin is set to return next year after owner Stephen Ross made the announcement following last Sunday's victory over Minnesota. The Dolphins (8-8) finished Philbin's third year with a second straight .500 campaign. Miami was 7-9 in Philbin's first season and 8-8 last year, when a loss to the Jets on the final day of the season cost the Dolphins a playoff spot.
The Dolphins were already eliminated from postseason contention after last week's results and needed a win to finish with a winning record for the first time since capturing the AFC East in 2008.
Miami opened a 24-14 lead early in the third quarter on Lamar Miller's 97-yard touchdown run, the longest play from scrimmage in Dolphins history, but it was all Jets from there. Miller ran for 178 yards with a touchdown on 19 carries and Ryan Tannehill threw for 259 yards with a score in defeat.
"Offensively, we didn't come out and execute," said Tannehill. "It doesn't matter how many points the other team scores, we have to score more."
The Jets trailed 17-14 at the intermission, but appeared in prime position to move back in front after Chris Owusu returned the opening kickoff of the second half 87 yards to the Miami 12. The Dolphins, though, tripped up Bilal Powell on 3rd-and-1 and stuffed Chris Ivory on fourth down to force a turnover on downs.
Miller then broke through the New York defensive line untouched on the first play and raced to the end zone to increase the Miami lead to 10.
It didn't take long for the Jets to answer, as the Dolphins brought an all-out blitz on 3rd-and-6 and Smith burned them with the long touchdown pass to Decker. Smith flipped a pass just before the blitz arrived and Decker ran under it, easily beating Cortland Finnegan for the score.
The Dolphins couldn't convert 4th-and-5 from the New York 36 and Smith again made a big play on third down. He eluded the Miami pressure and flung a pass down field on 3rd-and-9 for Decker, who outleaped Brent Grimes for a 50-yard pickup.
New York went for some trickery on third down from the Miami 8-yard line and a low pass from receiver Jeremy Kerley toward Smith was ruled incomplete, although the ball appeared to deflect off the quarterback's foot into the hands Miami's Jimmy Wilson for an interception that would have been returned for a touchdown. Instead, the incomplete pass led to a tying 26-yard Nick Folk field goal.
The Jets got the ball right back after a Miami punt and took the lead. Smith threw a 33-yard pass to Kerley on the first play and hit Decker for 12 yards on third down to set up a 23-yard Folk field goal in the first minute of the fourth quarter.
Caleb Sturgis missed a 53-yard field goal try wide right with 10:48 remaining on Miami's ensuing possession and the Dolphins' next series also ended in a punt.
Miami was poised to get the ball back, but Ryan elected a fake punt from the New York 39 and Ryan Quigley hit Zach Sudfeld with a pass for 38 yards to set up Smith's clinching 23-yard TD pass to Jeff Cumberland with 3:22 to play.
After the Dolphins turned it over deep in their own territory, Folk added a 39-yard field goal to account for the final margin.
Folk hit the left upright with a 45-yard field goal try on the Jets' first possession and Miami answered with a 37-yard Sturgis field goal for 3-0 lead.
Smith threw a 36-yard pass to Owusu on the first play after the kickoff, then converted 3rd-and-2 with a five-yard scramble before Owusu took a handoff 23 yards around the right side for a touchdown.
The Jets got the ball right back after a Miami punt, but Smith gave it back to the Dolphins with a fumble early in the second quarter. The Dolphins took over at the New York 21 and Daniel Thomas scored from the one a few plays later to give Miami a 10-7 lead.
Smith continued his strong passing start on the next New York drive, connecting on each of his three throws to put the Jets back in the end zone. A 40-yard strike down the left sideline to Decker set up a first down at the Miami 12 and Smith found Ivory all alone in the right flat for an 8-yard score two plays later.
After a trade of punts, the Dolphins marched 93 yards to regain the lead just before halftime. A 16-yard pass to Brian Hartline on 3rd-and-15 kept the chains moving and Tannehill finished the 11-play set with a 23-yard pass to Charles Clay with 43 seconds remaining for a 17-14 advantage.Game Notes
Smith's best previous passing day was 331 yards against Buffalo on Sept. 22,
2013. He started 8-for-8 on Sunday, topping his best previous passing start of
six straight completions ... The Jets' previous best scoring output this year
came in a 27-25 loss to New England in Week 7 ... Ivory notched his first
career receiving touchdown ... Tannehill finished with 4,045 passing yards,
becoming the first Dolphins quarterback to eclipse 4,000 yards passing since
Dan Marino in 1994. He also broke Marino's 1994 team record of 385 completions
in a season ... Miami's previous longest run was 77 yards, set in 1977 by
Leroy Harris and matched by Keith Byars in 1993 ... Jets defensive lineman
Sheldon Richardson did not return in the second half because of a head injury.