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Dolphins move to 4-4 after roller coaster fourth quarter against Jets

Jay Ajayi, Marcus Williams

Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (23) runs for a touchdown ahead of New York Jets cornerback Marcus Williams (20), during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)


The Jets and Dolphins didn’t play the cleanest or most technically sound game of football on Sunday afternoon, but it ended in pretty entertaining fashion.

The Jets took a 23-20 lead in the fourth quarter when Ryan Fitzpatrick hit wide receiver Jalin Marshall for an 18-yard touchdown a couple of plays after Dolphins punter Matt Darr dropped a snap to set the Jets up deep in Miami territory. Jakeem Grant got tackled inside the 20 on the ensuing kickoff, but the Jets were offside and Dolphins coach Adam Gase had them kick again.

It was a good call. Kenyan Drake took the kick 96 yards for a touchdown and the Dolphins pumped some life into their playoff hopes with a 27-23 win.

At 3-6, the Jets’ playoff chances are hard to see and it looked for a moment like the Bryce Petty era was underway for Gang Green. Fitzpatrick left after taking a shot to the left knee in the third quarter and Petty completed two passes on the way to a field goal, but the veteran returned to the game on the next drive. Fitzpatrick threw an interception in the end zone on that drive, one of two on the day that pushed him to 13 for the season.

It seems inevitable that the Jets will take a look at Petty at some point in the second half and their bye in Week 11 could be that point.

The Dolphins don’t have to think about a quarterback change, although they didn’t generate much through the air against the Jets. Ryan Tannehill was 17-of-28 for 149 yards, but he didn’t turn the ball over and Jay Ajayi ran the ball well in the second half to finish with 111 yards. That’s not quite as gaudy as his totals in the previous two games, but it’s enough to continue to bolster Ajayi’s spot as a key piece in an offense that’s come to life in recent weeks.

There was plenty of sloppiness in addition to Darr’s giveaway, including a penalty that wiped out a Grant punt return for a touchdown and five others that gave the Jets first downs. The Dolphins led most of the way, though, and made enough plays in all phases of the game to extend their winning streak to three games.

They’ll have to stay hot in California as Miami heads to San Diego and Los Angeles for two games that will do a lot to determine whether or not those expanded playoff hopes turn out to be pipe dreams.