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NEW YORK JETS 13, MIAMI 10

Jets overcome the weather and Dolphins to stay in hunt

December 26, 2006|From the Associated Press

MIAMI — The stadium was two-thirds empty by the fourth quarter, and small clusters of New York Jets fans let out a hearty cheer when Mike Nugent kicked the winning field goal with 10 seconds left Monday night.

A playoff atmosphere? Hardly. But the Jets moved closer to the postseason with an ugly but crucial comeback victory.

New York overcame steady rain, a sputtering offense and two late scores by the Miami Dolphins to win 13-10.

"For us it was all about chipping away and waiting for our moment," Jets Coach Eric Mangini said.

All of the points came in the last 17 minutes 25 seconds. Miami kicked a tying field goal with 2:09 left, but on the Jets' next play, Leon Washington caught a short pass from Chad Pennington and broke loose for a 64-yard gain.

Four plays later, Nugent kicked a 30-yarder. That meant the Jets (9-6) can clinch an AFC wild-card playoff berth if they beat Oakland (2-13) in their final regular-season game Sunday.

"We like controlling our own destiny and not having to rely on someone else to help us," defensive end Shaun Ellis said.

For the Dolphins (6-9), the defeat ensures the first losing season for Nick Saban in his 13 years as a college and NFL coach. Miami was eliminated from the playoff race a week ago.

"When it came to it, we just fell apart on defense," linebacker Zach Thomas said. "And they made great plays when they had to."

The rain resulted in a succession of errant and dropped passes -- and 18 punts. A mishandled snap spoiled a field-goal try by New York. Dolphins cornerback Eddie Jackson left the game because of a knee injury when he stumbled and fell on the slippery field without being hit.

When the Dolphins' scoreless streak reached six quarters, Cleo Lemon replaced Joey Harrington at quarterback to start the second half. A third-year pro, Lemon threw his first NFL touchdown pass and finished 11 for 16 for 104 yards.

"We decided to go with Cleo to see if he would give us a little bit of a spark," Saban said. "He did a decent job of moving the team a couple of times."

Miami's Ronnie Brown, back after sitting out three games because of a hand injury, rushed for 110 yards in 18 carries.

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