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Dolphins blow playoff chance, fall to Jets

The SportsXchange

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The playoff drought continues for the Miami Dolphins.

After putting themselves in position of needing only one win in their last two games to make the NFL's postseason for the first time since 2008, the Dolphins came up dry offensively.

Sunday's 20-7 home loss to the New York Jets following a shutout loss at Buffalo a week earlier left the Dolphins with an 8-8 record -- not good enough to earn the AFC's last playoff spot.

"It's really tough" said Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who completed half of his 40 pass attempts for 204 yards and his team's only touchdown against the Jets. "The ball was in our court, and we just didn't take advantage of the opportunity."

Coach Rex Ryan looked at it as payback for 2011 when the Dolphins knocked his Jets out of the playoffs with a 19-17 victory.

"Quite honestly, we owed them," said Ryan, who was told prior to the game he would be back next season. "They knocked us out of the playoffs by beating us. But if you look at it, that wasn't our motivation."

What the Jets were looking to do was make up for the disappointing 23-3 loss to the Dolphins the first time the two teams met back on Dec. 1.

"We knew we were a better team than what showed up the last time we played Miami," Ryan said.

The Jets, who also finished 8-8 but were never in the running for a playoff berth, sent Dolphins fans among the Sun Life Stadium crowd of 70,296 home unhappy by scoring 20 unanswered points after Miami opened the scoring on wide receiver Mike Wallace's 5-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.

The Jets tied it with a 10-play, 71-yard drive capped by defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson's 1-yard touchdown run and then took the lead into the halftime locker room when quarterback Geno Smith scored from 7 yards out on a quarterback draw with just two seconds left in the second quarter.

"Playing well today was awesome," said Smith, who was 17-of-27 passing for 190 yards. "I think our entire team played a phenomenal game."

The Dolphins simply could not get any consistency going on offense.

When Jets kicker Rick Folk missed a 35-yard field-goal attempt early in the fourth quarter, the door was open for the Dolphins to march for a tying touchdown, but they couldn't get past midfield before being forced to punt.

"Down seven points, 14-7, that was our opportunity right there," wide receiving Mike Wallace said.

The Jets took over at their own 20 and, with the help of a 30-yard pass play from tailback Bilal Powell to tight end Jeff Cumberland, moved into position for another 35-yard field-goal attempt.

This time Folk didn't miss, and the Jets led 17-7 with 4:18 remaining in the game.

When safety Ed Reed picked off Tannehill's deflected pass on the first play of the ensuing series, the Jets cashed in for another three points on Folk's 26-yard field goal for the final score.

NOTES: With his 25-yard reception in the first quarter, Dolphins WR Brian Hartline went over 1,000 yards receiving for a second straight season. Only four other Dolphins receivers -- Mark Clayton, Mark Duper, Irving Fryar and Brandon Marshall -- have had back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Hartline, who injured a knee on the play and didn't return, finished with 1,016 yards. ... QB Ryan Tannehill finished the season with 3,913 yards passing, No. 9 on Miami's all-time list and the highest single-season total by any Dolphins player other than Dan Marino, who has 10 of the top 11 spots. ... Jets CB Kyle Wilson injured a knee in the second quarter and did not return. ... DT Sheldon Richardson's 1-yard run up the middle in the second quarter to tie the game at 7-7 was the second rushing touchdown of the season for the Jets rookie.
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