Jets’ Offense Sputters in Darnold’s Return

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes while starting in place of the injured Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins beat the Jets, 20-3, on Sunday.

Tagovailoa was inactive with an injured thumb on his throwing hand, so Fitzpatrick, 38, stepped in against one of his many former teams.

He didn’t need to do too much against the lowly Jets (0-11).

Fitzpatrick was 24 of 39 for 257 yards with touchdown throws to tight ends Mike Gesicki and Adam Shaheen, helping the Dolphins (7-4) bounce back after having their five-game winning streak ended last week.

The Jets got their starting quarterback back, as Sam Darnold played after missing the last two games with a shoulder injury. But he could not get much going for the offense, with Coach Adam Gase appearing to reclaim play-calling duties after Dowell Loggains, the offensive coordinator, had them for the last three games.

Darnold was intercepted twice and the Jets twice couldn’t take advantage of takeaways by their defense. Darnold was 16 of 27 for 197 yards.

The Jets’ latest poor offensive showing had speculation swirling again over whether the team could part ways with Gase, whose Jets were outscored 44-3 in two losses this season to Miami, his former team. The 11-game skid is the second-longest in team history, one game short of the losing streak by the 1995-96 teams under Rich Kotite.

After Miami went three-and-out to open the second half, the Jets moved the ball down the field — thanks to an impressive 27-yard grab by Breshad Perriman. But Darnold tried to make too much happen on third down at the Dolphins’ 32, throwing across his body on the run into double coverage, and Nik Needham made an easy interception.

The Jets didn’t muster much the rest of the way — although they had some chances.

The Dolphins began chewing up clock late in the third quarter by focusing on the run, but it cost them when Quinnen Williams popped the ball out of Matt Breida’s hands and Harvey Langi recovered to give the Jets the ball at Miami’s 45 with four minutes, nine seconds remaining.

But the Jets couldn’t do anything with the takeaway, going three and out.

The Jets’ defense came up big again on the Dolphins’ next drive, with Jordan Jenkins knocking the ball out of Patrick Laird’s hands and Neville Hewitt scooping it up and returning it to Miami’s 26.

But again, the offense stalled. The Jets went for it on fourth-and-1 from the 17, but Frank Gore was stuffed by Elandon Roberts for a 1-yard loss.

Fitzpatrick drove the Dolphins down the field and sealed the win with a 7-yard touchdown toss to Shaheen to make it 20-3 with 6:54 left.

Gesicki had given the Dolphins a 10-3 lead with 8:56 left in the first half when Fitzpatrick threw a fade into the right corner of the end zone. Gesicki, at 6 feet, 6 inches, used his height advantage over the 6-foot-1 rookie safety Ashtyn Davis to grab the touchdown.

The drive was prolonged by a disputed call when DeVante Parker was credited with a 19-yard catch despite not appearing to ever fully control the ball before Javelin Guidry knocked it out of his hands. Gase challenged the call — and television replays seemed to support the Jets’ argument — but it was upheld and the Dolphins scored four plays later.

The Dolphins will host the Cincinnati Bengals next Sunday, while the Jets will remain at home for the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

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