It felt longer than the longest home game in franchise history but the Miami Dolphins defeated the New York Jets 13-6 to secure the season sweep of their division rivals.
The Dolphins offense didn't do much of anything during the game but running back Frank Gore rushed for 53 yards and passed NFL legend Barry Sanders for No. 6 in the all-time yards from scrimmage list.
“I didn’t know that, but I’ll take it," Gore said. "Especially a guy who I looked up (to) when I was coming up as a kid. I felt like he was one of the top running backs I’ve ever (seen). I’m blessed by that.”
The only touchdown scored came on a pick six by rookie linebacker Jerome Baker. It was both his first career interception and touchdown.
“There’s nothing like it," Baker said. "It’s just the sweetest feeling ever, especially getting into the end zone and you see all your brothers run towards you. (You) get a little tired, but it’s all worth it.”
The Dolphins defense intercepted Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold four times during the game. The defense struggled in previous games but rebounded nicely on Sunday.
“I think it was just way overdue," safety TJ McDonald said. "We definitely needed that. We needed to get back on track, but we just had to knuckle down this week, get on the little details and that’s what we did.”
The defense, like the rest of the team, suffered an immense amount of injuries over the course of the season. As Sunday showed, it hasn't stopped completely from playing to their capabilities as a unit.
"I’ve always said this over my career, there’s a difference between can’t and didn’t," defensive end Cam Wake said. "And I look at our roster and I look at the guys, and I know the guys that we have; there’s no can’t. We have the playmakers to make every interception, make every sack, stop every run, block, all the way down the list. When you have games like you had before, it wasn’t a can’t. They are not stronger than you, faster than you, better players. It was something you did to yourself. In the NFL, more games are lost than won. I think that was a dramatic overstatement, or understatement, for the last couple weeks. This week, again, it was no magical defensive call. There was no special water. It was guys doing what they are supposed to do, which should be the default, and when it doesn’t happen, obviously you’ve got games like you had before. Again, today was a shouldn’t be nothing out of the ordinary. It should be our par for the course and hopefully we can build on this game and move forward and do the same thing."
Wake and fellow defensive end Akeem Spence each had two sacks. Most of the defensive damage occurred during the fourth quarter, when the Jets were ever increasingly desperate for a big play. The best part was that the Dolphins were well aware of that palpable desperation.
“Oh yeah, because they were definitely trying to get some chunk plays, get on our side of the field, get things going, and it was a close game all the way until the end," Spence said. "They actually got the ball back and were moving it pretty well, so our defense had to stand up one more time, which we did. I was kind of proud we got to end the game on the field and go out there and close it out because that was really big for our defense after the last two weeks.”
The Dolphins are 4-1 at home but have back-to-back road games at Green Bay and Indianapolis coming up.