Rex Ryan and Jets beat Dolphins in finale, 37-24
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) -- The New York Jets won their season finale Sunday, which probably won't be enough to save coach Rex Ryan's job.
Geno Smith had his best game in a rocky season, throwing for a career-high 358 yards and three touchdowns to help Ryan and the Jets beat the Miami Dolphins 37-24.
Smith's performance more than negated a 97-yard run by Lamar Miller, the longest play from scrimmage in Dolphins history. The Jets rallied from a 10-point third-quarter deficit, and Ryan ordered a fake punt with four minutes left that sealed the victory.
The game was entertaining but mostly meaningless because it involved two teams out of the playoff chase. And with the Jets sitting out the postseason for the fourth consecutive year, owner Woody Johnson is widely expected to fire Ryan, and perhaps general manager John Idzik.
The Jets (4-12) finished with their worst record since 2007. Ryan is 46-50 in six seasons but remains popular with his players, and they dumped a bucket of sports drink on him when the game ended.
Ryan continually tried to deflect questions about his future postgame, saying Johnson will talk to him "at the appropriate time."
"Again, I don't want to take away from the effort of these players," Ryan said after the game. "It's not about me. I don't think it's the appropriate time to talk about my situation. Just understand that I'm not afraid of anything. I'm not afraid of what lies ahead, I can tell you that."
Later, when pressed about a potential timetable for learning his fate, Ryan added: "I think we all expect what's going to happen is going to happen. We'll find out in due time. We'll find out, whenever that is. I think we generally know when these things happen."
The Dolphins (8-8) missed a shot at their first winning season since 2008, which is the last time they made the playoffs. Owner Stephen Ross has said coach Joe Philbin will be back for a fourth season in 2015.
The half-empty stadium and also-ran status of the teams created the atmosphere of an exhibition game, and with the stakes modest, Ryan threw in an occasional frill. The Jets ran a reverse out of the wildcat, with receiver Jeremy Kerley throwing incomplete to Smith.
The fake punt came with New York clinging to a 27-24 lead. Punter Ryan Quigley lobbed a 38-yard pass to tight end Zach Sudfeld on fourth-and-12, and on the next play, Smith hit Jeff Cumberland with a 23-yard pass for the clinching touchdown.
New York came in ranked last in the NFL in passing, but Smith went 20 of 25 and had a passer rating of 158.3 - the only perfect rating this year by a quarterback throwing at least seven passes, according to STATS. He lost a fumble on a scramble that set up a Miami touchdown, but also had completions of 74, 50, 40 and 36 yards to help the Jets achieve a season-high points total.
Even so, the game could be Smith's final start for the Jets. They're expected to seek quarterback help in the draft or free agency.
Eric Decker caught 10 passes for a career-high 221 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown, the longest play by the Jets this year. Receiver Chris Owusu had an 87-yard kickoff return, a 36-yard reception and a 23-yard touchdown run on a reverse.
David Harris had 2 1/2 of the Jets' six sacks of Ryan Tannehill. Miami star receiver Mike Wallace sat out the fourth quarter, and Philbin said it was a coaching decision.
Miller ran for a career-high 178 yards and reached the 1,000-yard milestone for the first time. His touchdown was the longest run allowed by the Jets, and the longest play from scrimmage in the NFL this season.
Ryan gambled by going for a first down on fourth-and-1 at the Miami 3 early in the second half, and the Jets came away without points when Chris Ivory was stuffed for no gain.
On the next play, Miller found a huge opening up the middle, burst into the clear and crossed the goal line as he was tackled. The run put Miller over the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career and gave Miami a 24-14 lead in the third quarter.
The Jets' comeback began three plays later. Decker slipped behind cornerback Cortland Finnegan, caught Smith's pass near midfield and sprinted to the end zone.