Dolphins shut down struggling Jets
East Rutherford, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Tannehill threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns as the Miami Dolphins cruised to a 23-3 victory over an offensively inept New York Jets team at MetLife Stadium.
Tannehill completed 28-of-43 attempts with an interception in the lopsided win, which kept Miami (6-6) squarely in contention for an AFC wild card berth. Brian Hartline racked up 127 yards and a touchdown on nine catches, with Mike Wallace making seven grabs totaling 82 yards and hauling in Tannehill's other scoring toss.
The Jets (5-7), meanwhile, got a meager 108 passing yards combined from the tandem of Geno Smith and Matt Simms in being dealt a third consecutive defeat. The badly struggling Smith went just 4-of-10 for 29 yards and an interception before replacing benched at halftime, with Simms managing 79 yards with an interception on a 9-of-18 success rate in relief.
New York, which failed to score an offensive touchdown for a second straight week, mustered only 177 total yards and had three giveaways.
The Dolphins dominated virtually from start to finish, though their lead at the half was a rather-thin 6-0 after producing only a pair of Caleb Sturgis field goals in the final minute of the second quarter.
A 28-yard down-the-middle strike from Tannehill to Charles Clay set up the first kick, a 34-yarder that came 44 seconds prior to the intermission. Smith was picked off by Dannell Ellerbe three plays later, with the linebacker returning the interception 16 yards to the Jets' 44 to give the Dolphins a shot at extending the margin.
They did just that after Tannehill completed two more throws, an 11-yarder to Hartline and an 8-yard delivery to Clay that positioned Sturgis to knock home a 43-yard field goal.
Miami, which outgained New York by a whopping 265-39 margin in total yards over the first two quarters, could very well have been ahead by far more if not for several missed scoring opportunities.
The Dolphins held the ball more than nine minutes on the game's initial drive, but came up empty on the 12-play, 79-yard series when Sturgis pulled a 41-yard attempt wide right.
Miami got inside the Jets' 30-yard line midway through the second quarter before Tannehill's wobbly pass -- the result of a hard hit by Muhammad Wilkerson -- was intercepted by Antonio Cromartie to halt another chance.
The Jets' defense stood tall once again on Miami's next trip, during which Tannehill hit on three straight throws to create a 1st-and-goal from the seven and a pair of runs brought the ball down to the one. Clay was stuffed on a rush attempt on the subsequent snap, though, and Tannehill overthrew the tight end on fourth down following the two-minute warning to keep the game deadlocked at 0-0.
Simms entered to a charade of cheers on New York's first possession of the second half, but the Jets quickly went three-and-out and the backup signal- caller botched an exchange with running back Bilal Powell on the team's next touch, with Philip Wheeler pouncing on the fumble for Miami near midfield.
Two plays later, Hartline caught a slant pass over the middle and broke free from a pair of defenders en route to a 31-yard score that lengthened Miami's lead to 13-0.
The Jets finally generated something positive on the ensuing drive, which began with Chris Ivory ripping off a 32-yard run to the Dolphins' 34. Simms later found David Nelson on 3rd-and-10 for an 18-yard gain to the five, though New York ultimately settled for Nick Folk's 20-yard field when the offense stalled thereafter.
The momentum was short-lived, however. Tannehill completed all four passes on the next sequence, with Wallace shaking off a feeble tackle attempt by Dee Milliner on the last and waltzing in for a 28-yard touchdown that made the score 20-3 late in the third quarter.
After the Jets' offense quickly fizzled once again, Miami salted the game away with an 11-play, 60-yard trek that consumed more than six minutes and culminated in an 18-yard Sturgis field goal with 5:59 remaining.
Miami has now prevailed in five of its last six matchups with the Jets as the visitor, having outscored its AFC East rival by a 53-12 count in its two most recent trips to MetLife Stadium ... Smith had less than 10 completions for a fourth consecutive start and has thrown eight interceptions with zero touchdowns over his last five outings ... Tannehill's 300-yard effort was his fourth of the season, the most by a Dolphins quarterback since Dan Marino in 1998 ... The Dolphins finished with a 38:52-to-21:08 advantage in time of possession while limiting New York to a 2-of-12 conversion rate on third downs ... Miami defensive end Olivier Vernon recorded 2 1/2 sacks and now has 5 1/2 in the Dolphins' last three games.
12/01 17:50:42 ET