The Jets got the victory that fulfilled several of their team objectives in their surprising and going-away satisfying 40-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium this afternoon.
■ They won their first home game of the season after opening with two MetLife losses and two rousing road comeback wins.
■ They ended Miami's recent dominance of the rivalry, which reached eight losses in nine games dating to 2017 before the win.
■ In their first AFC East game of the season, they defeated a division opponent for the first time in 13 games.
■ They raised their record to 3-2, which is the first time they've been over .500 this late in a season since 2017.
With all that joy, it would've been nice to say it was a 60-minute cakewalk, but the Dolphins overcame their first-half adversity to keep the pressure on the Green & White for about the 21 minutes of the game's final 30 minutes.
Rookie QB Skylar Thompson, No. 3 on the depth chart, was pressed into duty early with veteran Teddy Bridgewater's exit after Miami's first play of the game due to the concussion protocol and marshalled the Dolphins' forces, leading them back to within 19-17 with Jason Sanders' 46-yard field goal midway through the third quarter for the only scoring in the frame.
But the Jets, led by their second-year No. 1 signal-caller, Zach Wilson, then separated in their lucky fourth quarter.
First it was by nine points on a 56-yard march to the second Breece & MC Show of the day. First Wilson hit rookie Breece Hall for a 21-yard completion down to the Miami 1. Then Michael Carter took the handoff and made a cut off right tackle for the TD.
Hall and Carter teamed up on a similar exchange to bridge the first and second quarters and give the Jets their early 12-0 lead that suggested this game between the Green & White and the Aqua & Coral was going to unfold quite differently.
Next up, the Jets increased their lead to 33-17. The drive was started when edge Carl Lawson got his first strip sack as a Jet and Quinnen Williams picked up Thompson's fumble and rumbled and stiff-armed his way 12 yards to the Miami 5. On the next play, Hall got the call and was not going to be stopped at the 1 again — he reached the ball across the goal line a la his game-winning TD at Pittsburgh a week ago.
Finally, the Green & White opened it to 40-17 .The D stopped the Dolphins on fourth-and-1 on a Kwon Alexander tackle for loss of 100-yard rusher RB Raheem Mostert at the Dolphins 30. Hall carried three times in a row to give him 97 rushing yards to go with his 100 yards on two receptions. Then the Jets did some of their own "trickeration" to counteract the 'Fins TD that ended the first half, with Braxton Berrios getting the end-around 15-yard TD.
The Jets rushed for all five of their touchdowns in this big day at MetLife, marking only the third time in franchise history that they had that many rush TDs in as game and the first time since 1992, when they had a fiver vs. New England.
And they reached 40 points in a game for the first time since they opened the 2018 season with the 48-17 win at Detroit, then stopped Indianapolis at home 42-34 in Week 6 that season.
Setting the Stage in the 1st Half
The game started as shakily as the Dolphins and their fans could've feared. With starting QB Tua Tagovailoa in the NFL's concussion protocol, Bridgewater got the start. But Bridgewater was injured on Miami's first offensive play, the result of a rare cornerback blitz by the Jets and rookie Sauce Gardner. Bridgewater was called for intentional grounding, giving the Jets a safety and a 2-0 lead 2:22 into the game. And Teddy B left the game after the play with possible elbow and head injuries and was ruled out for the rest of the game.
That put Thompson under center. And during a first-down scramble that was wiped out by a Dolphins holding, Thompson lost the playsheets taped to his wrist. But the Dolphins soon got their feet under them, before the Jets pulled the green rug out from under them over the last nine minutes.,
Wilson led the offense on a 56-yard drive, aided by two Miami facemasking penalties, to Greg Zuerlein's 34-yard field goal and a 5-0 lead.
Then the Jets QB and his RBs produced a touchdown. On the last play of the first quarter, Wilson fired a pass to the uncovered Hall down the left sideline. He battled all the way to the Miami 1-yard line for a 79-yard pass play, the second-longest catch by a Jets RB in franchise history. The longest went for 82 yards and a TD on a Vinny Testaverde screen to Leon Johnson vs. the Colts in 1998.
See the best images from the 40-17 victory over the Dolphins at MetLife Stadium.
The touchdown this time was scored on the first play of the second period on a 1-yard straight-ahead run by Carter for a 12-0 lead.
But Armstrong kept his considerable cool and the Dolphins finally responded with a drive to Raheem Mostert's 12-yard run to cut the Jets' lead to 12-7 with 9:55 to go in the first half.
But the Jets responded to that with another TD. It began with Gardner coming up with his first pro interception on a Thompson pass that was altered by John Franklin-Myers' frontside pressure. From the Jets' 47, Wilson drove the Jets 53 yards to the score by ... Wilson, who on third-and-goal from the 'Fins 5 scrambled up and dived for the goal line plane, which he broke for a 19-7 lead.
It was the Jets' largest first-half lead at home since 2019 vs. Oakland by 13-3 and their largest first-half lead at home vs. Miami since 14-0 in 2015.
But the 'Fins, despite their first half of adversity, weren't lying down. They drove 75 yards to a touchdown on a Dolphins gadget play, with Thompson turned away from the play and TE Durham Smythe going in motion, taking the snap and bulling the final yard for the score with four seconds to play in the first half.
On the health front, the Jets, after adding Duane Brown to the active roster Saturday, started Brown at LT and moved Alijah Vera-Tucker over to RT — AVT's third different starting assignment in five weeks — while keeping Nate Herbig at RG.
On the injury front, Jets rookie edge Jermaine Johnson left the game in the second half with an ankle injury. And the Dolphins, in addition to losing Bridgewater, saw LT Terron Armstead exit, to be replaced by former Jets T Brandon Shell. Already missing CB Bryon Jones, who is on Injured Reserve following an Achilles injury, the Dolphins made three-time Pro Bowler Xavien Howard (hamstring) a gameday inactive.