Dolphins dominate Jets in Sam Darnold’s ugly return

Jets Dolphins Week 12
Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (88) catches a touchdown pass against New York Jets safety Ashtyn Davis (32) during the first half at MetLife Stadium.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Gase’s “brilliant offensive mind” was good for just three points as his New York Jets dropped to 0-11 in 2020 with another embarrassing showing Sunday, losing 20-3 to the Miami Dolphins.

Quarterback Sam Darnold’s return from injury was disappointing, as he posted 197 yards and two interceptions in Week 12 after recovering from a shoulder injury. Conveniently enough, his return and down performance coincided with Gase — the man responsible for Darnold’s regression and the franchise potentially moving on from him this offseason — reclaiming the play-calling duties.

With no Tua Tagovailoa available because of a sore thumb, the Dolphins went back to former-Jet Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead the offense and haunt his old team, passing for 257 yards and a pair of scores.

Almost half of his output went to DeVante Parker, who posted eight catches and 119 yards on the day.

As has become customary with the Jets, a promising early development saw Darnold — who was last in the NFL with a 5.5-yard average per pass attempt — hook up with Breshad Perriman for a 36-yard gain to set up a field goal on the Jets’ opening drive.

While offensive production was at a premium throughout early proceedings, the Dolphins reeled off 10-straight points to take the lead with 8:56 to go in the second — a 10-play, 88-yard drive that ended with a Fitzpatrick 13-yard connection to Mike Gesicki to break a 3-3 deadlock.

Parker accounted for 47 of those yards, reeling in three receptions on the drive.

Miami added another field goal with 5:27 left in the half to extend their lead to 10 while Fitzpatrick continued to heat up — an all-too-familiar streaky showing from the veteran — who completed 9-of-10 passes during the Dolphins’ run.

The Jets finally got their offense going after three-straight punts, but Sergio Castillo’s missed 29-yard field goal spoiled a marathon 13-play, 82-yard drive that saw out the remainder of the half.

Miscues only continued into the second half when Darnold ended a Jets drive into Dolphins territory prematurely when a needless pass into double coverage intended for Perriman was picked off by Nick Needham on the 22-yard-line.

While Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins stalled, the Jets were given a golden opportunity to cut into their deficit when Miami running back Patrick Laird fumbled the ball away in his own territory. But the Jets turned the ball over on downs when Frank Gore couldn’t convert a 4th-&-1 rush early in the fourth on Miami’s 17.

The Dolphins finally made the Jets pay for those missed opportunities, putting the game out of reach with just under seven minutes left in the game when Fitzpatrick hit Adam Shaheen for a seven-yard score to go up 17.

Darnold capped off yet another miserable day for the Jets with his second interception of the day as his team mustered a combined three points in two meetings this season against the Dolphins.

The Jets’ downward spiral toward a winless season continues next week with a home game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

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