MIAMI — Dan Marino, bouncing back from one of the worst performances of his career, passed for 293 yards and 1 touchdown and ran for another score, leading the Miami Dolphins to a 37-28 victory over the New York Jets Monday night.
Rookie Troy Stradford rushed for 120 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The victory, before a crowd of 58,879 at Joe Robbie Stadium, rekindled Miami's AFC East title hopes and lifted the Dolphins (6-6) into second place with the Jets and Buffalo Bills. The Indianapolis Colts (7-5) lead the division.
Marino completed 29 of 40 passes and ran 5 yards for his first touchdown in four years after New York had cut a 27-point Miami lead to 30-21 early in the fourth quarter.
Dan Johnson's two-yard touchdown reception and the first of Stradford's three one-yard touchdown runs staked Miami to a 14-0 first-quarter lead. Stradford scored twice in the second quarter and the Dolphins led, 27-0, at halftime.
After limiting the Jets to 43 yards in the first half, though, the Dolphin defense--ranked 27th in the NFL--wilted in the third quarter. Ken O'Brien connected with Al Toon on a 44-yard play and backup quarterback Pat Ryan ran 8 yards for a touchdown on a fake field goal.
The Jets drew within nine points with 14:53 to go on Johnny Hector's 14-yard run.
Marino, who threw for 165 yards and 3 interceptions in a 27-0 loss to Buffalo last week, scored the third touchdown of his five-year career--but only the first since 1983--with 8:13 remaining. The naked bootleg completed the Dolphins' fifth scoring drive of 74 yards or more and gave Miami a 37-21 lead.
The Jets didn't quit, however, despite an O'Brien fumble that stopped New York's ensuing drive at the Miami 45.
Stradford, who gained his game-high rushing total in 30 carries, was stripped of the ball on the next play by linebacker Alex Gordon. Bobby Humphery scooped up the ball at the 46 and returned it for a touchdown that trimmed Miami's lead to 37-28 with 7:01 to go.
O'Brien completed 18 of 25 passes for 237 yards and 1 touchdown. He was intercepted once, and Miami's Paul Lankford returned the theft 44 yards to set up Stradford's first touchdown.