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Dolphins Keep Playoff Hopes Alive; Top Jets 10-6


Wet conditions. No sweat. 134 yards of total offense. Not a problem. 30 net yards passing. Small issue. Turning the ball over three times, and scoring just 10 points. We got em where we want em.

That was how it was for the Dolphins Sunday on the road at the New Meadowlands, as the team used some muscle and grit to top a Jets team that is now clearly in the middle of a collapse, winning 10-6 to move to 7-6 on the year.

The win also keeps hopes of the post season alive, though they almost for sure will have to win their last three games and get some help to get to the promise land of the playoffs.

Chad Henne was brutal at QB despite doing just enough to help in getting the win. He was 5 for 18 for 55 yards, plus five sacks for minus-25 yards. He had the benefit of going up against an equally as bad Mark Sanchez, as he threw for 216 yards on 17 for 44 passing with a couple turnovers.

Special teams was a huge key for the Dolphins, as punter Brandon Fields kept the Fins in the game with 10 big punts for 564 yards, an average of 56.4 yards per kick. He had a punt of 69 during the long afternoon of kicking.

“All week long we felt like this game was going to be about field position,” Fins coach Tony Sparano said. “To do what he did in this situation was critical.”

Henne found Brandon Marshall for the game’s only touchdown in the first quarter. The Fins were out-gained in yards, 280-131, but took advantage of two of Sanchez’s turnovers in the opening quarter to come away with their third straight road win against their AFC East rival.

“The turnovers obviously hurt us early. We had a lot of poor execution on offense in particular,” the usually boisterous Rex Ryan said of his Jets. “I’m very concerned…We have to make sure we find a way to get better.”

New York had a chance to pull one out, getting the ball at its own 25- yard line with 2:16 remaining trailing, 10-6. Jerricho Cotchery’s 15-yard grab moved the ball to the New York 47, and Sanchez spiked the ball to stop the clock with 1:35 to play.

The Dolphins’ defense stepped up from there with a six-yard sack. After Sanchez threw behind Dustin Keller for an incomplete pass on third down, Cameron Wake sealed the outcome with his second sack in the final series.

“The defense played outstanding,” Sparano said. “We knew this was going to be one of these type of football games…It’s a big win.”

Nolan Carroll picked off Sanchez at the Jets’ 42-yard line to set up Dan Carpenter’s 47-yard field goal midway through the opening quarter. Three plays later, Sanchez lost a fumble at his own 26, leading to Marshall’s six-yard touchdown catch.

The Jets penetrated enemy territory four times in the second quarter but only came away with three points. They punted the first and last time, turned it over on downs when Shonn Greene was stuffed on 4th-and-1 from the 37, and got a 35-yard field goal from Nick Folk with 4 1/2 minutes to go in the frame.

Santonio Holmes dropped a sure touchdown prior to the field goal. Heavy rains came pouring down during a scoreless, punt-filled third quarter. Sanchez and Holmes weren’t on the same page on a fourth-down play early in the fourth, resulting in a possession-changing incompletion.

But Holmes came down with a diving 42-grab to move the Jets to the Miami 32 on the next series, setting up Folk’s 42-yard kick with 5:21 to go. The next three series all ended in punts after three unsuccessful plays.

The Dolphins are at home for the Bills next Sunday.


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