The Dolphins came within a last-second field goal of their fourth victory in six games against the New York Jets on Sunday, instead leaving MetLife Stadium with a 22-21 loss.
We examine the five biggest plays of the game.
1. Parker's 21-yard catch in the second quarter
The Dolphins were facing a third-and-6 trailing 9-3 when DeVante Parker made a nice adjustment on a pass down the right sideline for a 21-yard gain to the Jets 48-yard line. But the play proved costly for the Dolphins. When he was tackled by Bless Austin, Parker's head hit the turf and he left the game to be evaluated for a concussion. He never returned to the game and there's little question his presence was missed. He's the Dolphins' best red-zone receiver and they didn't have him for the final five of their six trips inside the Jets 20-yard line.
2. The missed field goal
Sure, it's tough to complain about a missed field goal when Jason Sanders set a team record with seven successful kicks, but this one hurt because it came right after Steven Parker's interception and 35-yard return had given the Dolphins the ball at the Jets 23-yard line. This was the epitome of a wasted opportunity. The Dolphins could manage only 7 yards in three plays — a 1-yard run by Myles Gaskin, a 6-yard completion from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Gaskin, followed by a pass intended for Gaskin broken up by former Dolphins linebacker James Burgess. On the missed field goal, a low snap led to a late placement by holder Matt Haack, and Sanders ended up pushing the kick wide right. Again, this was as much about the failure to cash in on the takeaway as it was about the missed field goal.
3. 4-yard loss on run on first-and-goal
The Dolphins trailed 16-9 when they had a first-and-goal from the Jets 9-yard line in the third quarter and Fitzpatrick handed off to Gaskin, who was immediately met by nose tackle Steve McLendon and dropped for a 4-yard loss. That play symbolized the Dolphins' inability to run in the red zone, which played a big part in the loss. The Dolphins ran the ball five times (excluding Fitzpatrick scrambles) inside the Jets 20-yard line Sunday and those five plays ended up in a loss of 5 yards. Included in those was a 2-yard loss by Patrick Laird on a first-and-goal from the 8 on the Dolphins' opening possession.
4. The Jets' 37-yard completion on the final drive
While it's what happened later that will be remembered, the first play of the Jets' game-winning drive probably was just as important. A 7-yard completion from San Darnold to wide receiver Vyncint Smith turned into a 37-yard gain after a Dolphins defender went for the pick instead of the safer play of allowing the short completion. Just like that, the Jets had gone from their 25 to the Dolphins 38-yard line. And that set the stage for …
Had this play occurred in any previous year, the ruling of an incomplete pass would have been final and the Jets would have been facing a fourth-and-18 from the Dolphins 46-yard line. But as a result of uproar over the badly missed DPI in the NFC Championship Game last year, pass interference now is subject to review whenever league central in New York decides to take another look at a play. And so it was that this one was reviewed and the call changed to defensive pass interference on Needham for an 8-yard gain, but more importantly the automatic first down. Of course, it should be noted the Jets gained an additional 12 yards — on a pass from Darnold to Ty Montgomery — after the DPI was called, but that didn't make it any less frustrating for the Dolphins.