The Jets and Dolphins got it on in hot and steamy Miami this afternoon. And the Green & White appeared ready for the heat-index temps in the 90s and a sizzling 'Fins squad that had won three straight since losing at MetLife a month earlier.
With Josh McCown accounting for four touchdowns, the Jets took a surprising 28-14 lead into the fourth quarter. But the 'Fins, who showed their comeback mettle last week at Atlanta, showed it wasn't a fluke by mounting two drives to TD passes from backup QB Matt Moore to WR Kenny Stills and a last-minute go-ahead field goal by Cody Parkey to post the equally surprising and, for the Jets, depressing 31-28 division victory. The loss was helpd along by 12 Jets penalties for 124 yards.
Instead of sweeping their old AFL rivals and moving above .500 again, the Jets suffered only their fifth fourth-quarter blown lead of 14-plus points in their history and retained fourth place in the AFC East at 3-4 while the Dolphins earned payback and a 4-2 record.
Here are nine chronological takeaways from today's game in South Florida:
1. Quick Strike
McCown and the Jets came out throwing to great effect. The first play was a pump-fake-and-spin 31-yard toss to newly returned Bilal Powell. The last: a 29-yard scoring strike to Jermaine Kearse, his fourth touchdown of the season, past rookie CB Cordrea Tankersley. It was the Green & White's first opening-drive TD in their last 18 road games, or since striking fast vs. the Dolphins in London in 2015.
2. Quick Strike Back At Ya
But Jay Cutler and the Dolphins, last in the NFL in many offensive categories, including lowest yards/attempt average, also came out throwing. The big play was Stills' juggling 36-yarder to the Jets 4 vs. Buster Skrine, followed by Cutler's 4-yard strike to Jarvis Landry, open in the back of the end zone on a mixup between rookie safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. Less than five minutes in, each team had a five-play, 75-yard scoring drive and the score was tied at 7-7.
3. Post It
The teams took 3-and-out breathers vs. each other, then the Jets were back at it with another impressive 75-yard TD drive. This one featured Matt Forte picking his way on the sloppy Hard Rock turf for 21 yards on third-and-19, then a 25-yard screen to TE Eric Tomlinson, then the 18-yard paydirt strike to Robby Anderson on the post vs. Tankersley — Robby's third TD in three games vs. the 'Fins. And with that, the Jets had their first two-TD opening quarter since 2015 vs. Jacksonville, their first vs. Miami since '96 and their first in South Florida since 1981.
4. Even Again
Buster Skrine, after one of his best games as a Jet against the Patriots, struggled early in giving up the long ball to Stills, then a 28-yard pass interference against Stills. And Darron Lee, penalized earlier for roughing the passer, was flagged for grabbing the facemask on Jay Ajayi. Those two penalties helped the hosts move to their second tying TD of the half, Cutler to TE Anthony Fasano, with 6:14 left before intermission. For the Verona, NJ-born Fasano, it was his seventh career TD catch vs. the Green & White.
5. Mo, Mo, Mo
The Jets notched a great late-first-half field position win. First Lachlan Edwards' drop punt bounced straight in the air and was downed at the Miami 5. Two plays later, Cutler's pass was batted in the air by S Jamal Adams. DL Muhammad Wilkerson, enjoying to that point his most active game of the year, added to it by corralling the bat for his second career pick, taking it to the 1-yard line. Two plays after that, McCown kept for the score. That made it McCown 3 TDs (two passing, one rushing), Miami 2 at the half.
6. Here Comes Mr. Jordan
Jordan Jenkins rose up on the Jets' first defensive drive of the second half. His clean hit of Jay Cutler sent the Miami QB from the game with a rib issue. Four plays later, his clean hit on backup Moore, whom the Jets had struggled with in winning one and losing three, produced a third-down incompletion.
7. TDs off TOs
With David Bass supplying pressure against first-year LT Jesse Davis, filling in for Laremy Tunsil, Moore tried to hit Fasano downfield. But Fasano turned his head too late, only to see Marcus Maye, playing in front of some 35 friends and family, come up with his second pro interception. That led to McCown's third TD pass of the day as he found TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins alone in the end zone off a scramble. That gave the Jets two TDs off turnovers for the first time since Jacksonville in 2015 and the first time on the road since 2012 at St. Louis.
8. Fit to Be Tied Again
Moore, despite Jets pressure, converted a half field drive by finding Stills on third-and-7 against Skrine for a 28-yard TD strike, so with 11:21 left it was back to a one-score game. Then it was a tie game, after a Jets 3-and-out and another half-field march to another Moore-to-Stills score, this one a 2-yarder to even it at 28-28 with 6:25 to play.
9. End of the Road
The Jets offense, which moved well through three quarters, bogged down on three fourth-quarter series, and when the Dolphins punted with 47 seconds left, the visitors needed a decent march for a field goal to prevent overtime. Instead, McCown, who played so well for 45 minutes, threw an interception to CB Bobby McCain. Three plays later, Parkey drove a 39-yard field goal down the middle with 22 seconds to go. Two plays and backward progress later, it was official: a very difficult fall-from-ahead loss for this young Jets team.
Top Photos from the AFC East Matchup