Monday 11 December 2017 / 11:00 AM

FINS FIRE IN RIVALRY THRILLER

One of the NFL’s favorite scuffles in the AFC East ended with a Miami Dolphins win over the New York Jets, 27-23.

The Dolphins-Jets rivalry is pretty intense for two cities that are so geographically distant. Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens becomes so packed with Dolphins and Jets jerseys, it’s a tailgate party worthy of some coverage of its own. The parking lot outside brims with cars, trucks and your typical football environments.

The annual Jets-Dolphins matchup is always a great event when it is in South Florida, except when the Dolphins lose.

Jay Ajayi had a beast game, with his touchdown in the first quarter igniting the Miami offense and taking a 7-3 lead. Ajayi would rush for 111 yards and made light work of the Jets defense. The next couple scores were back and forth touchdowns, but things got very interesting in the fourth quarter.

The Jets were up 23-20 with less than six minutes to go, and Miami fans got that familiar feeling of despair of the Fins managing to lose another really close rivalry game. This is the point when fans start getting on the edge of their seats yearning for a Hail Mary touchdown, a monster run…or maybe even a 96-yard kickoff return.

Well, Dolphins fans got exactly what they wanted courtesy of the least likely of those three options. Rookie Kenyan Drake caught the kickoff, and after breaking a tackle around the 30-yard line, ran to the endzone to save the game and give the Dolphins a four-point win. It was only natural that Drake got dogpiled in the endzone by his teammates for what is going to be one of the best memories of his career.

Overall, Tannehill threw 17/28 for 149 yards, 1 TD, and no interceptions. It’s almost comical to say this, but the Dolphins are actually capable of winning games if they don’t throw a pick 6 or handful of interceptions every game. Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick also threw 17/28 for 193 yards, 1 TD, but had 2 interceptions. New York had 212 receiving yards, and Miami had 149 yards. Both teams had 3 fumbles, but none resulted in a turnover.

It was a hard-fought game, and these two otherwise mediocre teams put on a great show to a packed stadium and millions of fans tuning in around Florida and New York.

Even though the Dolphins got extremely lucky with Drake’s 96-yard kickoff return, they still came out as the better team. The Dolphins have the #2 spot in the AFC East with the Bills not far behind. None of these teams really have a shot at beating out the Patriots for the #1 AFC East spot, but it’s always nice to keep count. These next handful of games are important to build up the teams to possibly one day take over the top seed once Tom Brady retires.

It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen any time soon, but it is possible.

The Dolphins will move past their four-game home streak and face the Chargers in San Diego next week. If the Dolphins can stifle the Chargers’ momentum and win four in a row, they’ll be looking pretty good. The Jets will have to face off with the Rams…and then get blown out by the Patriots in the following week.

The Dolphins offense is getting lessons in being aggressive following Jay Ajayi’s lead. Kenyan Drake’s explosive play is going to land him some well-deserved credit in the Dolphins locker room, and hopefully this rookie will have more plays like that and more field time.

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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