Miami Dolphins rally past New York Jets to push win streak to six games

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The climb back is complete.

A season-long effort to hit .500 came to fruition Sunday as the Dolphins beat the Jets — as expected — in a game that didn't come close to following the script.

The Dolphins needed an 11-yard touchdowns pass from Tua Tagovailoa to DeVante Parker with 3:37 left to beat the spunky New York Jets 31-24 at Hard Rock Stadium.

The Dolphins had to rebound from a 10-point deficit to do it. That wasn't nearly as big a task as bouncing back from a 1-7 start to this season. But the Dolphins have done it and now are 7-7 to remain in the hunt for an AFC wild-card berth.

Tagovailoa's TD pass also represented redemption of sorts, for only moments earlier, he threw a pick-six to cornerback Brandin Echols, who coasted 20 yards to make it 24-all.

Although Parker's catch provided the winning points, credit goes to Duke Johnson, who rushed 22 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns to end a week that at times saw Miami's top three running backs on the COVID-19 list. It was the first 100-yard rushing performance by a Dolphins player this season.

The Dolphins next visit the New Orleans Saints for a Monday night game before closing the regular season with a trip to Tennessee and a home game against New England.

The Dolphins have won six in a row. It’s their longest winning streak since 2016.

This also marked four straight wins over the Jets, 10 wins out of the past 12 meetings and the sixth straight time the Jets have walked out of Hard Rock Stadium losers.

Miami Dolphins running back Duke Johnson (28) carries the ball during the first half of Sunday's  game against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
Miami Dolphins running back Duke Johnson (28) carries the ball during the first half of Sunday's game against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

Takeaways:

The DUUUUUKE! cheers ring out

This was an offense in need of a lift.

After a week that saw three running backs and receiver Jaylen Waddle spend time on the reserve/COVID-19 list, in stepped Johnson.

It wasn’t long before Johnson’s gritty running had the crowd yelling “DUUUUUKE!” whenever he touched the ball. Suddenly, the 31st-ranked rushing attack in the NFL looked like a factor.

Many fans were used to yelling for Johnson at Hard Rock Stadium since he’s from the University of Miami. But Sunday was the first time he stepped onto the field in Dolphins colors.

Johnson took a handoff on a first-and-goal from the 6-yard line in the third quarter but was spun backward. Still, he kept his legs churning and powered into the end zone. He also scored from a yard out in the second quarter.

Is managing timeouts that hard?

Both coaches had a thing about timeouts in the first half.

The Jets, the only team in the league to not have a 10-point lead all season, went up 17-7 in the second quarter on a 1-yard plunge by Wilson.

So why was Brian Flores standing on the goal line, looking furious with officials? He tried to call timeout before the snap but either they didn’t notice or thought he was signaling too late. Touchdown stood.

Later, the Jets were on the brink of going into the locker room with the first 10-point halftime lead of the season. It wasn’t hard to see why they had such a drought. Immediately following a 9-yard sack of Wilson by Jerome Baker, the Jets called timeout with 46 seconds left in the half.

They were about to face a second-and-19 on their own 34 — prime time to eat up clock — and instead they’re calling timeout?

It didn’t cost the Jets — but it should have.

Coming off bye with lots of rust

The latest bye in Dolphins history has been a topic of discussion. After Sunday, it’s easy to see why.

The Dolphins came out flat after having last weekend off. Raekwon Davis was visibly angry after the first snap of the game. He missed a tackle, allowing a 7-yard run to help set the tone. By the end of the possession, the Jets had gone 83 yards in 10 plays, capping it with a 2-yard touchdown run by Braxton Berrios.

At one point in the possession, the Jets had recorded five first downs in a six-snap span.

That can only happen when a defense comes out flat and tackling is substandard.

Coming off the bye, both were true early.

Jets throw everything at the Dolphins

Flores acknowledged this past week that with the Jets out of contention, they might be more apt to run gadget plays.

Sunday, coach Robert Saleh turned into Inspector Gadget, tossing everything (we think) at the Dolphins.

None was out of left field more than a modified hook-and-lateral in the second quarter. Wilson hit Jamison Crowder for a gain of 1, but Crowder hesitated near the middle of the field and lateraled all the way toward the sideline, where Braxton Berrios was waiting. Berrios picked up 22 yards.

There was no longer any question the Dolphins had to be on full alert for anything and everything.

In the first quarter Berrios scored on a 2-yard run on a play in which it appeared Berrios’ first option was to pass.

Sacks turn up the heat on Wilson

Flores does his best to downplay the “flashy” stats that sacks provide, but little says the Dolphins are playing their best defense like when they pile up the sacks.

Sort of like that second half.

After a flat first half, Miami’s defense came out of the locker room breathing fire. By the time it was over, Baker had a second sack. Brandon Jones had a sack and so did Andrew Van Ginkel, Zach Sieler and Emmanuel Ogbah.

Sieler’s sack was especially sweet for Miami because it was a strip-sack-fumble that Ogbah recovered.

The Dolphins entered the weekend tied for the most sacks in the NFL since they began piling up the wins. Nothing changed Sunday.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Miami Dolphins rally past Jets, push win streak to six games