Caleb Sturgis and Nick Folk traded field goals in the third quarter and the New York Jets took a 13-6 lead over the Miami Dolphins into the fourth quarter of a low-scoring snoozer Monday night.
Sturgis kicked a 44-yarder to cap the Dolphins' opening possession of the second half to make it 10-6, but Miami nearly tied it. On third-and-6 from the Jets 26, Ryan Tannehill lofted a pass to Mike Wallace, who nearly made a one-handed grab in the end zone but the ball went off his right hand and fell incomplete.
On the Jets' ensuing possession, Folk kicked a 45-yarder that bounced off the back of the crossbar and over to give the Jets a 13-6 lead midway through the third quarter.
New York went three-and-out for the first time in the game on its next possession, but Ryan Quigley had his punt blocked by Dion Jordan — giving the Dolphins the ball at the Jets 41. It was the second straight game Quigley had a punt blocked.
But the Dolphins gave the ball away on the next play as Tannehill's short pass to Miller was deflected off the running back's hands and right to Darrin Walls who returned the interception 25 yards.
A sack by Cameron Wake on third-and-10 from the Dolphins 30 pushed the Jets out of field-goal range.
Wide receiver Greg Salas scored on a 20-yard end-around for his first NFL touchdown and Folk kicked a 40-yarder that gave the Jets a 10-3 halftime lead.
Sturgis kicked a 43-yard field goal as time expired in the opening half to cut the Dolphins' deficit to seven, capping a 10-play drive.
The Jets ate up the clock in the opening half by running the ball for 210 yards on 29 carries, including 85 by Chris Johnson. Geno Smith was just 3 of 6 for 22 yards in the first two quarters, but New York held the ball for 17 minutes, 38 seconds mainly because of the success of the ground game.
On the Jets' second possession, Salas took the handoff from Smith, zipped around the left end and was untouched until Miami's R.J. Stanford tried to trip him up at the 2-yard line, but Salas got in midway through the opening quarter.
It excited the sparse crowd at MetLife Stadium, which was about half-empty at kickoff as a driving rain fell. The crowd filled in a bit during the second quarter, and the rain also stopped by halftime.
Salas was taken to the locker room after the play with a hamstring injury, and ruled out for the rest of the game.
Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline was also knocked out of the game in the first half with a knee injury.
Johnson set up Salas' big play with an impressive 47-yard run — his longest as a member of the Jets — in which he made two Dolphins miss tackles as he zigged and zagged past them at the line of scrimmage before being caught at the 20.
Miami had a chance to get on the scoreboard on their next possession, but Sturgis was wide left on a 43-yard attempt with 1:47 remaining in the first quarter.
Tannehill got the ball to the Jets 22 with a 10-yard quarterback keeper up the middle, but lost 8 yards on Kenrick Ellis' first sack. After Jarvis Landry's 5-yard catch, Tannehill couldn't connect again with Landry on third down as Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Coples put pressure on the Dolphins quarterback.
After Sturgis' miss, the Jets ran nine straight running plays to get the ball to the Dolphins 22 and setting up Folk's 40-yarder.
Folk was wide left on a 48-yard attempt with 3:23 left in the second quarter.
On the Dolphins' lone scoring drive, Jets linebacker Calvin Pace had what appeared to be a sure interception hit him in the shoulder pads and fall to the turf. Five plays later, Sturgis kicked his 43-yarder.
The Jets (2-9) were playing on Monday night for the second straight week after being routed 38-3 by the Buffalo Bills at Detroit's Ford Field in a game that was moved because of a lake-effect storm that dumped 7 feet of snow on western New York.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins (6-5) were looking to keep pace in the AFC playoff hunt after falling to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 39-36 last week. Miami entered 40-40 overall in Monday night games.
The Jets turned back to Smith as their starting quarterback after Michael Vick was under center the last three games. Smith, who came in with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions, was picked off on three straight possessions in his last start, against the Bills on Oct. 26, before being replaced by Vick.
New York introduced the offense before the game — but didn't announce Smith's name.
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