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Hapless Jets Hand Dolphins Their First Win

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdown passes, two of them to the rookie Preston Williams, and the Miami Dolphins got their first win of the season by beating their former coach, Adam Gase, and the Jets, 26-18, on Sunday.

The Dolphins avoided what would have been the second 0-8 start in franchise history, joining 2007. The win leaves the Cincinnati Bengals (0-8) as the N.F.L.’s lone winless team this season, and for now the front-runners to win the No. 1 pick in the 2020 N.F.L. draft.

At 1-7, the Jets have matched their second-worst start in franchise history. The team was 0-8 in 1996 and 1-7 on five other occasions, most recently in 2014.

Fitzpatrick completed 24 of 36 passes for 288 yards, and led the Dolphins to their highest point total of the season. It was also Miami’s fourth straight win over the Jets — the first three of those coming with Gase being the coach on the winning side.

Not this time. The Jets went 11 plays on the first drive of the game for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead, and their highlights were few and far between the rest of the day. The Jets actually fell below Miami in the American Football Conference East standings based on the head-to-head tiebreaker.

It was the Dolphins’ first win since the “Miami Miracle” over New England last season — which was followed by three consecutive losses to end 2018, making this a 10-game losing streak, in all.

No miracle was required this time.

The Jets’ fate was largely sealed with 6 minutes 29 seconds left, when a shotgun snap sailed right of quarterback Sam Darnold and wound up bouncing out of the back of the end zone for a safety and a 26-15 Miami lead. The Jets got a field goal with 15 seconds left to close within 8, but Miami recovered the ensuing onside kick and could finally celebrate.

Darnold was 27 of 39 for 260 yards and a touchdown to Jamison Crowder, who finished with eight catches for 83 yards.

Fitzpatrick’s touchdown throws to Williams went for 12 and 5 yards, and DeVante Parker caught a 17-yard scoring pass. All three came in the second quarter, as Miami turned the 7-0 deficit into a 21-7 lead.

As would be expected between teams with a combined 1-13 record entering the day, there were moments of ineptitude — the Jets had a third-and-27 in the first half, a couple of plays before the Dolphins faced a first-and-18.

But the last minute of the half, which wound up taking nearly 20 minutes in real time, was filled with wackiness.

The Jets appeared to cut Miami’s lead to 21-13 with an extra-point attempt pending when Darnold connected with Ryan Griffin for a 2-yard touchdown, one that was overturned after a long review because officials ruled that the tight end did not have full control of the ball when he skidded to a stop out of the back of the end zone.

Darnold was intercepted by Miami’s Jomal Wiltz on the next play, giving the Dolphins the ball on their own 1-yard line. Fitzpatrick appeared to bobble the first-down snap, and the play — after another review — became a safety for the Jets, and New York made it 21-12 at the half by turning the ensuing possession into a career-best 52-yard field goal by Sam Ficken.

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