MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdown passes and the Miami Dolphins held the winless New York Jets without a third-down conversion until the fourth quarter Sunday to get their first shutout in six years, 24-0.
The game was so lopsided that Miami rookie Tua Tagovailoa made his NFL debut in mop-up duty with 2:27 left. The Dolphins’ potential franchise quarterback ran onto the field to a big roar from the crowd of 10,772, and a grinning Fitzpatrick waved to encourage more cheers.
The Dolphins (3-3) reached .500 for the first time under second-year coach Brian Flores and moved into second place in the AFC East behind Buffalo. The Jets (0-6) became the NFL's only winless team and continued their worst start since 1996, increasing the heat on embattled coach Adam Gase.
The Dolphins blanked the Jets for the first time since the January 1983 AFC championship game, which they won 14-0.
The two teams were a combined 0 for 19 on third downs before the Jets finally converted with 11 minutes left. The Dolphins' only third-down conversion came on a completion by Tagovailoa, who went 2 for 2 for 9 yards.
Fitzpatrick was 18 for 27 for 191 yards for Miami. He also blocked for Myles Gaskins on a run and improvised a left-handed completion under pressure for a short gain.
Gaskin had 18 carries for 91 yards.
Joe Flacco, making his second start for the injured Sam Darnold, went 21 for 44 for 186 and an interception. He was sacked three times, once for 28 yards.
The Jets, who released running back Le’Veon Bell on Tuesday, had 115 yards rushing.
The Dolphins built a 21-0 lead in the first half. Fitzpatrick threw three short touchdown passes each from inside the 5-yard line. Adam Shaheen, Preston Williams and Durham Smythe each caught a touchdown pass.
The attendance of 10,772 of a capacity of 13,000 was the smallest crowd this season. Conspicuous by their absence was the usual vocal contingent of Jets fans.
The Jets’ Marcus Maye made a bizarre interception on a Fitzpatrick pass intended for Preston Williams. The ball went up in the air and Maye was able to corral the loose ball by reaching behind his back and cradling the ball against his backside.
Xavien Howard’s second-quarter interception of Flacco's pass was his fourth of the season, and gives him an interception in four straight games, the second-longest streak in Dolphins history. Dick Westmoreland had a five-game streak in 1967.
JUST FOR KICKS
Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders is 15 for 15 on field goal tries, a franchise record to start a season. Jets K Sam Ficken had made all nine of his field-goal attempts and his six extra-point attempts coming into the game, but missed a 55-yarder in the third quarter.
Jest: LB Frankie Luvu suffered a groin injury and did not return. … T Chuma Edoga left with a calf injury and did not return. … OL Alex Lewis left with a shoulder injury.
Dolphins: LB Andrew Van Ginkel left with a concussion in the second quarter and did not return.
Running back Ty Jackson was the only player kneeling for the Jets during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The Dolphins stayed in the locker room.
The Dolphins have a bye and then host the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 1.
The Jets host Buffalo next Sunday. The Bills won 27-17 when the teams met in Week 1.
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