The Sports Xchange
NFL Team Report - Miami Dolphins - INSIDE SLANT
But the Dolphins managed to do something else, too.
Miami put together its most complete victory of the season at a time when it badly needed to win.
"December is when you either step up or fall down," quarterback Ryan Tannehill said.
The Dolphins, who didn't allow a touchdown, outgained the Jets, 453-177, and had 25 first downs compared to 10 for the Jets.
Miami outscored New York, 17-3, in the second half, won the turnover battle, 3-1, and rushed for 125 yards against the NFL's No. 1 rushing defense.
There's more ...
Wide receiver Brian Hartline had nine receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown, defensive end Olivier Vernon had 2.5 sacks, Tannehill passed for 331 yards, and the Dolphins had a 17-minute edge in time of possession.
Coach Joe Philbin joined in the spirit of things. Twice he went for it on fourth-and-1, once from the Jets' 43-yard line and once from the Jets' 1-yard line. The Dolphins didn't convert either, but Philbin thought it was about setting a tone.
"We wanted to show our guys that we had a lot of confidence in them and faith in them," Philbin said. "We were close on a couple of those plays. We didn't make them but we felt we had to be aggressive."
Miami took a boring 6-0 halftime lead and turned into a relatively dominant performance with a strong second-half showing against a team it should have beaten. There were a few things the Dolphins did wrong - kicker Caleb Sturgis missed a 41-yard field goal wide right, the rushing defense allowed the Jets 99 yards and 4.5 yards per carry, and the offense still struggled to score.
But all things considered it was the Dolphins' best and most complete victory of the season. And the playoffs remain realistic.
NFL Team Report - Miami Dolphins - NOTES, QUOTES
--Defensive end Olivier Vernon is the team leader with 10 sacks and tied for sixth in the NFL. Think about that for a second. The Dolphins have defensive end Cam Wake, who had 15 sacks last season, and defensive end DE Dion Jordan, the No. 3 pick of the draft. Yet, Vernon, the guy who many thought wouldn't even be a starter, is doing the best statistically.
Vernon, the 2012 third-round pick from the University of Miami, has 5.5 sacks in the last three games. Vernon isn't specific when discussing why he's having an outstanding season.
"I worked hard in the offseason and learned from the veterans," he said.