The New York Jets’ tailspin continued on Sunday as they matched their second-worst start in franchise history with an embarrassing 26-18 loss to the previously-winless Miami Dolphins.
Gang Green was done in by former Jet quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who led the Dolphins to victory with three touchdown passes. It was also Miami’s fourth straight win over the Jets — the first three of those coming with current Jets coach Adam Gase being the coach on the winning side.
The loss dropped the Jets to 1-7, their worst start since 2014. The 1996 Jets continue to have the worst start in franchise history, starting out 0-8 en route to a 1-15 season.
After starting the 2019 campaign 0-7, Miami leapfrogged the Jets to third place in the AFC standings based on the head-to-head tiebreaker. Only the winless Cincinnati Bengals have a worse record; as the worst team in football, the Bengals are on pace to have the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Jets went 11 plays on the first drive of the game for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead, and their highlights were few and far between the rest of the day. The Jets (1-7) actually fell below Miami in the AFC East standings based on the head-to-head tiebreaker.
New York’s fate was largely sealed with 6:29 left, when a shotgun snap sailed right of quarterback Sam Darnold and wound up bouncing out of the back of the end zone for a safety and a 26-15 Miami lead.
The Jets got a field goal with 15 seconds left to close within eight, but Miami recovered the ensuing onside kick and could finally start to celebrate.
Darnold was 27 of 39 for 260 yards and a touchdown to Jamison Crowder, who finished with eight catches for 83 yards.
As would be expected between teams with a combined 1-13 record entering the day, there were moments of ineptitude — the Jets had a 3rd-and-27 in the first half, a couple of plays before the Dolphins faced a 1st-and-18.
But the last minute of the half, which wound up taking nearly 20 minutes in real time, was filled with the real wackiness.
The Jets appeared to cut Miami’s lead to 21-13 with a PAT pending when Darnold connected with Ryan Griffin for a 2-yard touchdown, one that was overturned after a long review because officials ruled that the tight end didn’t have full control of the ball when he skidded to a stop out of the back of the end zone.
Darnold was intercepted by Miami’s Jomal Wiltz on the next play, giving the Dolphins the ball on their own 1. Fitzpatrick appeared to bobble the first-down snap, the play — after another review — became a safety for the Jets, and New York made it 21-12 at the half by turning the ensuing possession into a career-best 52-yard field goal by Sam Ficken.
As for injuries, the Jets’ Ty Montgomery was shaken up in the first quarter as he ran into Dolphins punter Matt Haack. Defensive lineman Steve McLendon injured a shoulder during the second half, and safety Jamal Adams was being evaluated late for a possible head injury.
The Jets will face their roommates at MetLife Stadium, the New York Giants, next Sunday. The Giants host the Dallas Cowboys tomorrow night for Monday Night Football.
— Tim Reynolds, with reporting by Robert Pozarycki of amNewYork