The Miami Dolphins hosted the New York Jets on Sunday as 2012 opened and the 2011 NFL regular season came to a close. The Jets entered the Week 17 matchup needing a win to retain even a hope of making it to the postseason. The Dolphins were merely hoping for one final feel-good win.
The Dolphins opened the scoring in the first quarter on a 44-yard field goal. Just a few minutes later, the Jets would take a 7-3 lead on a one-yard pass from Mark Sanchez to Dustin Keller. Nick Folk would add a field goal in the second quarter to push the Jets lead to 10-3.
A key sequence of events just before halftime kept the Dolphins alive. After the Jets grabbed a Matt Moore interception with just about half a minute remaining in the second quarter, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez threw an interception of his own, which allowed the Dolphins the time to get Dan Carpenter on the field to drill a monstrous 58-yard field goal as time expired in the half. That closed the gap to 10-6 at halftime.
The next key to the game was the Dolphins holding the Jets scoreless in the third quarter before Moore led the team on a 94-yard, 21-play drive that began in the third quarter and extended into the fourth. When Moore connected with Charles Clay in the end zone to take the lead 13-10 on a one-yard touchdown pass, the Dolphins had burned a whopping 12:29 on the play clock.
Just over three minutes later, the Dolphins would extend their lead on another Carpenter field goal, this one from 40 yards and his third of the game. The Jets answered back with a drive that was aided by a roughing-the-passer call and allowed the Jets to get into the red zone with 4:00 left to play. On a 3rd-and-5 play, Sanchez threw an interception -- his career-worst third of the game -- that was grabbed by Marvin Mitchell, who nearly escaped all Jets for an open field before Sanchez wrestled him to the ground. That pick allowed Carpenter to boot his fourth field goal of the game from 44 yards out and extend the lead to 19-10.
Sanchez was able to lead the Jets on one last scoring drive, covering 80 yards in under two minutes and ending with a 10-yard pass to Patrick Turner to move the Jets to within 19-17 with just 1:15 remaining in the game and a successful onside kick necessary to keep New York alive.
The Dolphins held on to the kick to pick up the win and end their season with a 6-10 record. They improved to 4-4 at home.