The Jets, the team at Hard Rock Stadium this afternoon that many thought was "playing for nothing." put together a gritty low-offense, high-defense showing. But it wasn't enough to prevail as the Dolphins, the team that, with a win and a Buffalo win over New England would get into the playoffs, got both the win over the Jets, 11-6, and a Bills win over the Patriots to clinch the AFC's seventh seed.
The Dolphins (9-8) pulled out the touchdown-less affair with Jason Sanders' third field goal of the game, a 50-yarder solidly between the uprights with 18 seconds remaining.
The Jets finish Robert Saleh's second season at the head-coaching helm at 7-10 with six straight losses. Even though they didn't reach the postseason, they improved on last season's four-win total by three W's and their defense roared into NFL top-five territory. But their offense couldn't produce a touchdown for the third consecutive game. It was the Jets' first touchdown-less game since 2010 and a 9-0 loss vs. Green Bay and their first on the road since their wind-aided 3-0 win at Washington in 1993.
The Dolphins in theory didn't know the score of the Bills-Patriots game going on at the same time they were playing the Jets, since head coach Mike McDaniel instructed the stadium videoboard personnel not to post any scores of the game in Western New York. The 'Fins didn't need to hear the running score in the Bills' 35-23 win since they took care of business over their longtime rivals, extending their home winning streak over the Jets to seven games.
See the best images from the Week 18 matchup between the Jets and Dolphins.
Flacco, starting for the injured Mike White and backup Zach Wilson, who didn't play, completed 18 of 33 passes for 149 yards. Rookie WR Garrett Wilson initially had a 102-yard game on nine catches but lost the 100-yarder when his catch and multiple laterals on the Jets' last play of the game took 13 yards away from his total for an 89-yard receiving game. Further, when the ball was fumbled over the side of the end zone, the Dolphins got a safety on that final play. The Jets run offense found no creases in Miami's front and finished with 38 yards on 20 carries. On the day the offense managed 187 yards and 11 first downs.
Thompson finished with 20-of-31 passing for 152 yards. His top WRs, Tyreek Hill (two catches, 23 yards) and Jaylen Waddle (5-44), were again held in check by the Jets' pass defense led by CBs Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed, but the Dolphins running game motored for 162 yards on 32 carries.
This was not only a game without a touchdown but a game without a turnover, although the Jets defense tried continually to pressure Thompson into an interception.