After having chances to win the previous three weeks, the Dolphins made the plays down the stretch Sunday to defeat the New York Jets for their first victory of the season.
It was the first time since 2015 that a Dolphins quarterback had three touchdown passes in the first half of a game. Ryan Tannehill did it that year against the Houston Texans. Fitzpatrick finished the game 24-of-36 for 288 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions and a passer rating of 118.8.
There were contributors everywhere for the Dolphins in this game.
Tight end Mike Gesicki had the best game of his career with six catches for 95 yards. Williams had five catches for 72 yards. The offensive line, using a sixth different starting combination this season, did a solid job providing protection for Fitzpatrick.
The Dolphins defense came up with some big plays, particularly in the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins got a safety with 6:29 when an errant shotgun snap got by Darnold and into the end zone before defensive end Taco Charlton knocked it through the back of the end zone when he tried to fall on the ball.
Davon Godchaux and Charlton split a sack on the Jets’ final drive.
Cornerback Jomal Wiltz came up with a huge interception at the Dolphins 1-yard line, setting the stage for a wild finish to the first half.
The Jets opened the game with a 75-yard touchdown drive capped by Darnold’s 12-yard pass to Crowder.
After Wilkins’ sack on third down, Ficken missed a 49-yard field goal attempt and the Dolphins took over at their 39.
The Dolphins tied the game with a 61-yard drive that pretty much was all Williams, who caught passes of 17 and 26 yards before he scored a 12-yard touchdown.
The Dolphins took a 14-7 lead with an 84-yard touchdown drive that ended with Fitzpatrick’s 17-yard pass to Parker, who made a one-handed catch with his left hand while his right arm was being held in the end zone.
Early in the drive, the Dolphins faced a first-and-18 from their own 8 but were able to convert thanks to a 17-yard completion to tight end Mike Gesicki.
The Dolphins increased their lead on Fitzpatrick’s third TD pass of the half, a 5-yard connection to Williams on a slant after the two-minute warning. The score came four plays after Gesicki had a career-long 34-yard reception down the right sideline.
After Williams’ second touchdown, Vyncint Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 78 yards to the Dolphins 18-yard line.
The Jets appeared to have scored a touchdown when Darnold hit tight end Ryan Griffin in the back of the end zone, but the ruling was changed to an incomplete pass after the play was reviewed.
On second-and-goal from the 2, linebacker Raekwon McMillan pressured Darnold, who heaved the ball toward the goal line, allowing Wiltz to jump in front of Crowder for the interception.
Needing only to kneel down a couple of times to kill the first-half clock, the Dolphins paid for a miscue when Fitzpatrick fumbled the snap and fell on the ball while it was on the goal line. After a review, the ruling was a safety, which gave the Jets two points.
After Braxton Berrios returned the ensuing free punt 25 yards, the Jets moved into position for a 52-yard field goal by Ficken in the final seconds of the half.
The Jets cut into the lead with a 40-yard field goal by Ficken in the third quarter to make it 21-15, but the Dolphins responded with a 68-yard drive that ended with Sanders’ field goal.
The Dolphins then shut the door on the Jets offense to seal their first victory of 2019, though the Jets did kick a 29-yard field goal with 15 seconds left in regulation.
The Dolphins will try to make it two in a row next Sunday when they face the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.