Miami Dolphins at 50: Top 10 Games

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No. 8 – Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets; Dec. 28, 2008

With Tom Brady sidelined for the rest of the 2008 campaign, it seemed the AFC East was up for grabs. The season finale between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins would determine which of the three teams (even without Brady, the New England Patriots were in the race as well) would capture the divisional crown and make the playoffs.

It would be the only bright spot during the Dark Ages of this franchise.

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  • The game was scoreless for most of the first half, but a Chad Pennington fumble gave Brett Favre and the Jets offense good field position with just about ten and a half minutes left.

    Thanks to a 26-yard Jericho Cotchery completion, New York marched to the endzone to take the early lead. However, the extra point was botched and the Jets only went up 6-0.

    With four and a half minutes left in the half, Pennington took the Dolphins on a six-play, 60-yard drive. The possession ended with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr.

    Thirteen seconds later, Favre attempted a screen pass that was easily spotted by Phillip Merling, who jumped the route and picked off the throw and rumbled to the endzone to give Miami its first lead of the day.

    However, Favre led the New York two-minute offense into field goal range. At the conclusion of the half, the Miami led 14-9.

    After the Dolphins’ first possession of the second half stalled, punter Brandon Fields was forced to race towards and recover the football after the snap sailed over his head.

    Starting off at the Miami 28, the Jets regained the lead and added a two point conversion to take the lead, 17-14.

    The Dolphins used two big plays to reclaim the advantage. First, a 44-yard completion to Ginn Jr. to start the drive put Miami in Jets territory. Then Pennington found tight end Anthony Fasano for a 20-yard touchdown to give the Dolphins a 21-17 lead.

    In the fourth quarter, a Miami punt block gave the Dolphins great field position. They turned that opportunity into a 48-yard Dan Carpenter field goal to increase their lead to 24-17.

    Then with under five minutes left in the game and as the Jets were driving, Favre attempted to take advantage of some Dolphins defense miscommunication. However, it backfired as Favre’s quick pass sailed into the arms of Andre Goodman for his second pick of the game.

    The Dolphins milked the clock to under 30 seconds and snuffed out the Jets’ last resort lateral play.

    With the win, Miami captured their first division title since 2000 and ended a six-year playoff drought.

    Pennington, who was cut by New York after they acquired Favre from the Packers, put together a quietly efficient game with 200 yards passing and two touchdowns finishing off what may have been the best season by a Dolphins quarterback since Dan Marino retired.