The Jets are safe from the bottom of the AFC East.
Sam Ficken nailed a 44-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Jets to a 22-21 win over the Dolphins on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
It was a dramatic ending to a game that was anything but. The Jets were benefactors of a final-minute pass-interference replay review gift from the booth that turned a fourth-and-18 into new life.
Sam Darnold had thrown an incompletion to Vyncint Smith, who got held by Nik Needham with no flag in sight before the referees called for a review. They determined Needham had committed pass interference, giving the Jets a first down at the Dolphins’ 38 with 43 seconds left.
Four plays later, Ficken played hero.
Ryan Fitzpatrick had led the Dolphins on a go-ahead drive in the final minutes, capped off by Jason Sanders’ seventh field goal of the day, a 37-yarder with 1:33 left.
The Jets had given the Dolphins their first win of the year last month, but they let Miami keep sole possession of last place in the division on Sunday behind a bend-but-don’t-break defense.
The Dolphins took a late lead on their sixth field goal of the day when Sanders booted a 48-yarder to go ahead 18-16 with 6:59 left in the fourth quarter.
But Darnold, who had his right hand stepped on during the first play of the fourth quarter, revived a dormant Jets offense and led a strong drive before it sputtered in Dolphins’ territory.
Ficken nailed a 42-yard field goal to give the Jets the lead back, 19-18, with 4:05 to go.
Three times in the first half, the Jets allowed the Dolphins to get to the 10-yard line or beyond. But all three times they forced field goals, allowing them to lead 16-9 at the half.
It was more of the same to start the third quarter. After a pass interference penalty by Bless Austin brought the Dolphins to the 9-yard line, the Jets buckled down from there to force a 31-yard field goal by Sanders that got the Dolphins within 16-12.
Minutes later, Darnold threw an interception that Steven Parker returned to the Jets’ 23-yard line. But the Jets held again and forced a 34-yard field-goal attempt that Sanders missed wide right.
The Jets started marching again and got inside the red zone before Bilal Powell was stuffed on fourth-and-1 from the 14 for a turnover on downs.
The Dolphins later added another field goal — a 53-yarder by Sanders — to cut the Jets’ lead to 16-15 with 10:52 left in the fourth quarter.
Fitzpatrick began carving up the depleted Jets secondary on the Dolphins’ first drive of the game, but they stalled out once they got inside the 10-yard line. The Dolphins were forced to settle for a 22-yard field goal from Jason Sanders that gave them the 3-0 lead after a 92-yard, 16-play drive that chewed 8:11 off the first-quarter clock.
Darnold led the Jets to an answer on the ensuing possession, hooking up with Robby Anderson across the middle for a 26-yard touchdown. The Jets botched the snap and hold on the PAT, leading to a missed kick that kept it a 6-3 lead with 13:45 left in the second quarter.
Nate Hairston got the Jets the ball right back when he picked off Fitzpatrick in a tight window on the Dolphins’ first play of the drive. They turned it into three points on a 37-yard field goal by Ficken for the 9-3 advantage.
After the Dolphins kicked a 25-yard field goal to make it 9-6, the Jets came back with a quick-strike drive, fueled by a 39-yard pass from Darnold to Anderson on third down. Four plays later, Darnold hit Demaryius Thomas on a 14-yard pass that led him into the end zone. It was originally ruled an incompletion, as Nik Needham wrestled the ball out before Thomas hit the ground in the end zone. But upon video review, the call was overturned and Thomas had a 14-yard touchdown to put the Jets up 16-6 with 3:46 left in the first half.
But they left too much time for Fitzpatrick, who used his legs for big scrambles that allowed the Dolphins to kick a 28-yard field goal to make it a 16-9 Jets lead at halftime.