Defense & Tannehill's Two TDs Ground The Jets, 20-12

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The Dolphins used a big first half to produce their first 2-0 start in five years.

Ryan Tannehill threw two touchdown passes and the defense came up with two takeaways to help the Dolphins build a 20-0 lead on their way to a 20-12 victory against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

It's the Dolphins' first 2-0 start since 2013 when they started 3-0.

Albert Wilson and A.J. Derby caught the touchdown passes and running back Kenyan Drake had the other touchdown for the Dolphins, who got interceptions by safety T.J. McDonald and cornerback Xavien Howard along with a fumble recovery by linebacker Raekwon McMillan.

Tannehill ended the first half 12-for-15 for 116 yards with two touchdowns and a 138.5 passer rating.

The Dolphins spoiled the first home game for Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who passed for 334 yards and a touchdown, but had a 74.6 passer rating because of those two interceptions.

The Dolphins didn't score in the second half but the offense came up with a clutch game-clinching drive that featured four first downs and ate up the final 5:56 of the game.

Frank Gore became the fourth-leading rusher in NFL history, passing Curtis Martin with an 8-yard run in the third quarter. He now trails only Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders. Gore had a key 20-yard reception on a fourth-quarter drive that helped the Dolphins run out the clock.

Tannehill was used as a runner in this game, starting from the first snap when he kept the ball on an option play and sprinted for a 20-yard gain before sliding. He later had a 5-yard run off a similar play. He had a key 14-yard gain on another keeper in the fourth quarter before clinching the victory with an 8-yard run on third-and-6 on the final play before the two-minute warning with the Jets out of timeouts.

Defensive end Robert Quinn again was a force along the defensive line. He induced a false start penalty, later pushed Sam Darnold into the pocket and right into the arms of Jordan Phillips for the Dolphins' first sack of the season, and then had a sack himself.

Punter Matt Haack was an unsung hero in the first half as he had four punts inside the 20-yard line, including one that forced the Jets to start at their 4-yard line.

The Dolphins opened the scoring after their first takeaway, McDonald's interception that he returned 31 yards to the Jets 14-yard line. After Wilson gained 3 yards on a Wildcat run, Drake went in almost untouched on third-and-1 thanks to some key blocks by Laremy Tunsil and Ted Larsen, the new starting left guard after four-time Pro Bowl selection Josh Sitton was placed on injured reserve.

McMillan's fumble recovery at the Jets 49-yard line after fellow linebacker Kiko Alonso knocked the ball loose from wide receiver Robby Anderson set up the Dolphins' second touchdown.

It was a quick drive for the Dolphins. Jakeem Grant first gained 5 yards on an end-around with a 15-yard facemask penalty tacked on before Tannehill hit Wilson on a crossing route between two Jets defenders and Wilson did the rest to reach the end zone.

The Dolphins added to their lead on their next possession when they scored on a 62-yard drive that was kept alive by a defensive holding penalty on a third-and-6 from the Jets 33-yard line that negated a sack. Two plays later, Tannehill took advantage of some great pass protection to fire a touchdown pass to Derby, and the Dolphins led 20-0 after a missed extra-point attempt.

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The Jets came oh-so close to cutting into the Dolphins lead in the final seconds of the first half after a 44-yard completion from Darnold to Terrelle Pryor put them in scoring position. But the half ended when safety Reshad Jones tackled tight end Chris Herndon at the 1-yard line with the Jets out of timeouts and the clock ran out.

The Jets did score on the opening drive of the second half, cutting the Dolphins on a 28-yard pass from Darnold to running back Bilal Powell, though the Jets also missed an extra point. That left the score 20-6.

A key sequence occurred after the ensuing kickoff return.

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On the Dolphins' first snap of the second half, the ball slipped out of Tannehill's hand as he was retreating from a blitzer. The Jets recovered the fumble at the Dolphins 12-yard line, but Howard got the ball right back for the Dolphins when he picked off Darnold's pass in the back in the end zone, doing a good job of getting both feet in bounds.

The Jets made it a 20-9 game midway through the fourth quarter when kicker Jason Myers made a 55-yard field goal before closing the gap to 20-12 with another field goal.

The Dolphins then clinched the victory with that brilliant final drive.

The Dolphins return to Hard Rock Stadium next Sunday to face the Oakland Raiders.

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