Kick­off re­turn dooms Jets’ rally

Mi­ami vic­tory sends skid­ding Jets to 3-6

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Steven Wine

Rookie re­turner Kenyan Drake was de­lighted to find him­self at the bot­tom of a pile of play­ers, be­cause they were team­mates in the end zone.

Drake caused the cel­e­bra­tion when he scored un­touched on a 96-yard kick­off re­turn with 5:15 left Sunday, the fi­nal swing in a see­saw game that helped the Mi­ami Dol­phins beat the New York Jets, 27-23.

Jay Ajayi came up short in his bid to be­come the first NFL rusher to have three con­sec­u­tive 200-yard games, but he man­aged 111 yards and helped to run out the clock after the Dol­phins came from be­hind for the third time.

A botched Dol­phins punt led to a touch­down that put New York ahead 23-20. The Jets pinned Mi­ami’s Ja­keem Grant deep on the en­su­ing kick­off, but An­to­nio Allen was flagged for off­side.

On the re-kick, the weary cov­er­age team found it­self chas­ing a fresh Drake , Grant’s backup. He sped past the fi­nal Jet — kicker Nick Folk — into the clear.

“I was try­ing to re­mem­ber what my track coach said: to keep those knees up,” Drake said.

Even his team­mates gave chase.

“Ev­ery­one was run­ning down the side­line,” Ajayi said. “I was try­ing to beat him to the end zone. I was so ex­cited for him.”

The Dol­phins (4-4) won their third game in a row, while New York (3-6) fell deeper into last place in the AFC East. The Jets hurt them­selves with four per­sonal foul penal­ties, two in­ter­cep­tions thrown by Ryan Fitz­patrick and nu­mer­ous squan­dered chances.

Fitz­patrick missed four plays mid­way through the sec­ond half be­cause of a left knee in­jury and wore a brace when he re­turned. He said he’ll un­der­gone an MRI exam Mon­day.

Ajayi was hit be­hind the line on many of his 24 car­ries but grad­u­ally wore down the Jets and had 55 yards in the fourth quar­ter.

“I’m never go­ing to go away from him,” Mi­ami coach Adam Gase said. “His job is to keep ham­mer­ing it.”

Also im­pres­sive with his ball-car­ry­ing skills was 335-pound Mi­ami de­fen­sive

tackle Jordan Phillips, who leaped over an op­po­nent dur­ing a 17-yard in­ter­cep­tion re­turn to set up a field goal.

“Looked like he wanted to be a hur­dler,” team­mate Ndamukong Suh said.

Fitz­patrick was in­ter­cepted in the end zone by Bobby McCain in the fourth quar­ter, and missed an open Brandon Mar­shall in the end zone, forc­ing New York to set­tle for a field goal.

“We had op­por­tu­nity after op­por­tu­nity and didn’t get it done,” Fitz­patrick said. “It all falls on the quar­ter­back. There’s a lot of things

I could have done bet­ter to­day.”

Same for the Jets de­fense — line­backer Jordan Jenk­ins dropped a po­ten­tial in­ter­cep­tion with noth­ing but 85 yards of grass in front of him.

COSTLY PENAL­TIES

The Jets were amped up at the start to stop Ajayi — per­haps too much so.

Ajayi lost 3, 1 and 5 yards on his first three car­ries. But two of the losses were negated by an un­nec­es­sary rough­ness penalty on Buster Skrine, and a taunt­ing penalty on Calvin Pryor.

LYNNE SLADKY — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jets quar­ter­back Ryan Fitz­patrick sits on the side­lines dur­ing loss to Dol­phins on Sunday.

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