Dolphins, Jets look to start sea­son 2-0

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Den­nis Waszak Jr.

Wel­come to the Dolphins-Jets ri­valry, Sam Darnold.

New York’s rookie quar­ter­back will be un­der cen­ter and in the spot­light for the lat­est matchup of AFC East en­e­mies Sun­day at MetLife Sta­dium, with a 2-0 start to the sea­son on the line.

It might not sound like much, but con­sider this: The Dolphins haven’t opened with two wins since 2013, when they started 3-0. Mean­while, the Jets haven’t been 2-0 since Todd Bowles’ first year as coach in 2015.

“All divi­sion games have that ex­tra buzz around them, but I feel like when we play the Jets, it’s al­ways turned up just a lit­tle bit more,” Dolphins quar­ter­back Ryan Tan­nehill said. “I don’t know what makes it that way or

why it’s that way. Maybe it’s just the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the games, but there al­ways is an en­ergy that goes with play­ing against the Jets.”

New York leads the all­time se­ries 54-50-1, but Mi­ami has won three of the last four meet­ings.

Weird things also tend to hap­pen when these teams square off. The muddy AFC cham­pi­onship game won by the Dolphins dur­ing the 1982 post­sea­son. The backand-forth air show by Dan Marino and Ken O’Brien in 1986. Marino’s fake spike in 1994. The Mon­day night “mir­a­cle” come­back by the

Jets in 2000.

And, that’s just to name a few.

“I def­i­nitely have the feel, with them and the Pa­tri­ots,” Mi­ami wide re­ceiver Ja­keem Grant said. “I feel like it is a ri­valry game.”

Darnold will get to ex­pe­ri­ence it for the first time while also mak­ing his reg­u­lar-sea­son de­but in front of the home crowd. The No. 3 over­all draft pick got off to a rough start last Mon­day night at Detroit with his first pass in­ter­cepted and re­turned for a touch­down, but bounced back to have a solid night and lead New York to a 48-17 rout .

The 21-year-old Darnold fin­ished 16 of 21 for 198 yards and two touch­downs, show­ing glimpses of what

made him so cov­eted lead­ing up to the draft.

“I feel like I live my whole life to play foot­ball and it’s awe­some to just be able to do that for a liv­ing,” Darnold said. “I’m em­brac­ing it ev­ery sin­gle day.”

Tan­nehill knows the feel­ing. Af­ter sit­ting out last sea­son be­cause of a knee in­jury, the Dolphins QB was back last week for the first time since 2016 and came out a win­ner af­ter a 27-20 vic­tory over Ten­nessee .

That came in the long­est NFL game since the 1970 merger, out­last­ing the Ti­tans in 7 hours, 8 min­utes, in­clud­ing 3:59 in mul­ti­ple weather de­lays .

“It was wild,” Tan­nehill said, “but I’m re­ally proud of our guys the way we re­sponded.”

Here are some other things to know as the Dolphins and Jets re­new their ri­valry:

Dom­i­nant De­fense

The Jets set a fran­chise record with 48 points on the road, and their de­fense played a big part.

New York had five in­ter­cep­tions against the Lions , in­clud­ing two by line­backer Dar­ron Lee and one each by safety Ja­mal Adams and cor­ner­backs Mor­ris Clai­borne and Tru­maine John­son. Lee re­turned the first of his picks 36 yards for a touch­down, the Jets’ first de­fen­sive score since 2013 — a span of 73 games that was the long­est such drought in NFL his­tory.

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