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Jets Season All Over

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Jets head coach Rex Ryan (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Jets head coach Rex Ryan (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

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By STEVEN WINE
AP Sports Writer

MIAMI (AP) _ The New York Jets will sit out the
playoffs, and that’s guaranteed.

The Jets failed to fulfill coach Rex Ryan’s pledge to win a
Super Bowl title, with Sunday’s 19-17 loss at Miami eliminating
them from the chase for an AFC wild-card berth.

Mark Sanchez threw three interceptions, the last coming with the
Jets threatening to take a late lead. They gave up six third-down
conversions during the Dolphins’ 21-play, 94-yard drive for their
only touchdown.

The Jets (8-8) came into the game needing a win along with
losses by three other teams to reach the playoffs. Instead, they
finished the season with three consecutive defeats, a big step
backward for a team that reached the AFC championship game each of
the past two years.

Ryan said he didn’t regret his guarantee, even if the Jets fell
way short.

“I’m always going to chase the Super Bowl,” Ryan said. “I
know I get criticized for it beyond belief, but if you don’t, then
you’re probably a loser, OK? I’m not a loser.”

Soap opera fodder for the off-season came out of the Jets’ final
drive, when receiver and captain Santonio Holmes was benched.
Running back LaDainian Tomlinson said teammates were unhappy with
Holmes’ effort, demeanor and body language.

“It’s tough for guys to follow a captain that kind of behaves
in that manner,” Tomlinson said. “You’ve got to lead by example,
and you’ve got to play your tail off until the last play.”
Holmes was held without a catch for the first time in his
88-game career.

NFL active sacks leader Jason Taylor, playing his final game,
harried Sanchez into an interception and was carried off the field
after the game.

It was a rare moment of celebration for the Dolphins (6-10), who
completed their third consecutive losing season, their longest such
stretch since the 1960s. They fired coach Tony Sparano on Dec. 12
and have begun the search for a successor.

“Obviously we wanted more Ws,” quarterback Matt Moore said.
“It’s a time to learn from, and there were a lot of mistakes to go
back and correct. But there are a lot of positive things as well.
It’s hard not to feel good after a win, especially against the
Jets.”

Another small consolation: Miami tied the NFL record for most
wins after a 0-7 start.

The Jets again were victims of their own mistakes, with each
interception leading to a field goal. They’ve given up 126 points
off turnovers this year, the most in the league.

Sanchez’s final misfire came at the Miami 10 with 3 minutes left
and the Jets trailing 16-10. Reserve linebacker Marvin Mitchell
stepped in front of intended receiver Shonn Greene and rumbled 55
yards to set up a field goal.

The 305-pound Starks came away with two interceptions.

“The interceptions obviously were backbreakers,” Ryan said.

Taylor, who said Wednesday he would retire at the end of his
15th NFL season, sent the crowd into pandemonium when he scooped up
a fumble and scored with 21/2 minutes left. However, a replay review
negated the turnover, with the officials determining the ball
carrier was down before the fumble.

The Jets then scored with 1:15 to go on Sanchez’s 10-yard pass
to Patrick Turner, but Miami’s Brandon Marshall recovered the
ensuing onside kick to seal the win. Taylor played tailback in the
Dolphins’ victory formation as Moore twice took a knee to run out
the clock.

“It was a good way to end this thing _ to beat your No. 1
rivals in your home stadium in your last game,” Taylor said during
an emotional postgame news conference. “I can’t complain. I’m
very, very happy and blessed to be where I am.”

The Dolphins took the lead for good in the fourth quarter with a
drive that took 12 minutes and 29 seconds. Moore threw completions
to convert all six third downs during the sequence, including on
the final play when he hit Charles Clay with a 1-yard touchdown
pass.

The drive set franchise records for the number of plays and time
of possession.

“I didn’t realize how long it was,” Moore said. “It was
unbelievable, just a great job on everybody’s part.”

Otherwise the Dolphins’ offense sputtered without 1,000-yard
rusher Reggie Bush, who sat out with a right knee injury. Dan
Carpenter compensated with field goals of 44, 58, 40 and 44 yards.

The stands were perhaps half full, reflecting the disenchantment
of Dolphins fans. Owner Stephen Ross drew jeers when he honored
Taylor during a pregame ceremony, and a small plane overhead tugged
a banner that called for the firing of general manager Jeff
Ireland.

“This whole season was a lesson for us,” cornerback Sean Smith
said. “On paper, we were a very good team, but you have to prove
it every Sunday.”

Notes: Miami WR Davone Bess left the game in the fourth quarter
with a right knee injury. LB Karlos Dansby departed in the first
quarter with a groin injury. G Richie Incognito left in the third
period with a neck injury. … Jets LB David Harris was ruled out
in the fourth quarter with a calf injury. … Taylor’s
brother-in-law, former Dolphins LB Zach Thomas, was an honorary
co-captain. … Video tributes to Taylor on the scoreboard during
the game included one from Dan Marino wearing jersey No. 99. …
The longest previous drive in Dolphins history was 18 plays.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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