The Good, the Bad and the Dolphins: Week 12, 2020 — Dolphins Stifle Rival Jets, 20-3

by Mike Ferguson

Photo courtesy of Miami Dolphins

After having their 5-game losing streak snapped last week in Denver, the Miami Dolphins tried to start a new one on Sunday.

The Dolphins picked up their sixth win in seven tries by knocking off the New York Jets, 20-3. Miami wasn’t sharp throughout, but completed the season sweep over former head coach Adam Gase and New York.

As we do on a weekly basis, we look back on what went right and what didn’t for the Dolphins:

The Good

With starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa out of the lineup, the Dolphins turned to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who did some nice things on offense. Fitzpatrick was serviceable, throwing for 257 yards and two touchdowns while completing 24 of 39 pass attempts.

The top target for Miami was DeVante Parker, who caught eight passes for a season-high 119 yards. Tight end Mike Gesicki caught his first touchdown in more than two months.

After a very slow start running the ball, the Dolphins were able to finally put it together to run out the clock. As a team, Miami finished with 104 yards on 25 total rushes. DeAndre Washington led the way with 48 yards in just his second game with the Dolphins. The 345 total yards was the most for Miami since Oct. 11.

Defensively, the Dolphins held the Jets without a touchdown for the second meeting in a row. Miami finished with three sacks and forced a pair of turnovers. The Dolphins hold the NFL’s longest streak with at least one takeaway. They’ve done so in 17 straight games.

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Rookie safety Brandon Jones recorded his first career sack in the win. Nik Needham and Xavien Howard each came away with interceptions for the Dolphins off Jets’ quarterback Sam Darnold. It marked Howard’s third straight game with a pick. He now leads the NFL in that category with seven.

Miami held the Jets to just 3-for-13 on third down conversion attempts and 0-for-1 on fourth down. Elandon Roberts’ hard hit of Frank Gore on 4th-and-1 early in the fourth quarter went a long way in helping the Dolphins put the contest away.

Miami held the Jets to just 87 yards rushing. That’s the lowest any opponent has had against the Dolphins since Sept. 24 when the Jacksonville Jaguars rushed for just 72 yards. The Jets finished with just 260 total yards — the second-lowest allowed by Miami this season.

Kicker Jason Sanders continued to be automatic. Sanders was 2-for-2 on field goals with makes of 54 and 51 yards. He also made both of his extra point attempts. Miami played pretty disciplined with three penalties for just 20 yards.

The Bad

Making the Dolphins’ defensive effort more impressive on Sunday was the fact that they were put in bad situations by the Miami offense. At one point in the second half, Miami fumbled on back-to-back carries as Matt Breida and Patrick Laird each put the ball on the ground in their own territory.

The Jets recovered both times. Fitzpatrick also had a fumble in the second half, but Dolphins’ offensive lineman Jesse Davis was able to fall on it to prevent the turnover.

Defensively, there wasn’t much to complain about. Miami probably could have done a better job generating pressure. The last two sacks for the Dolphins were coverage sacks.

Matt Haack did not have a good day punting the football. He averaged less than 36 yards per punt on four punts. The Dolphins also allowed a big return to New York’s Corey Ballentine late in the contest.

The Dolphins

Sunday’s victory gives Miami its first season sweep over the Jets since 2016. Miami improved to 7-4 and remains a game back of the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.

The Dolphins remain in the thick of things in the AFC playoff race. Miami is currently tied with the Indianapolis Colts for the final two playoff spots — a half-game ahead of the Baltimore Ravens. If the season ended today, Miami would be the No. 6 seed in the conference.

After consecutive road games, the Dolphins will begin a 3-game homestand against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. The contest begins at 1 p.m. ET and airs regionally on CBS.

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.

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