Hill's special TD catch and Holland's 99-yard INT return lead Dolphins past Jets
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Tyreek Hill got into the end zone, found his new wife in the stands and tossed her the ball for a special celebration.
The game got even better for the newlywed Hill and the Miami Dolphins from there.
Jevon Holland returned an intercepted first-half Hail Mary attempt 99 yards for a score, Raheem Mostert ran for two touchdowns, and the Dolphins cruised past the New York Jets 34-13 in the NFL's first game played on Black Friday.
“It was a momentum swing going into the half,” Holland said. "They threw a ball, they threw a Hail Mary, kind of desperation. They knew we were getting the ball after the half.
“Then, boom, you just let up a touchdown.”
Tua Tagovailoa was intercepted twice, including one returned for a score by Brandin Echols, but Miami was in control for most of the game. The Dolphins (8-3) cushioned their lead atop the AFC East by sending the Jets (4-7) to their fourth straight loss.
Tagovailoa finished 21 of 30 for 243 yards with the TD to Hill and the two INTs.
Tim Boyle started at quarterback for the Jets in place of the benched Zach Wilson, but New York's stagnant offense failed to get much going other than Boyle's 1-yard TD pass to Garrett Wilson with 4:37 remaining.
“I think we shot ourselves in the foot too many times,” said Boyle, who was sacked seven times.
The Dolphins took a 10-0 lead when Tagovailoa connected with Hill, who avoided a tackle attempt by Jordan Whitehead and zipped into the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown with 8:21 left in the second quarter.
Hill took off his helmet, found wife Keeta Vaccaro in the stands and blew her a kiss before tossing her the football. The two were married during the Dolphins’ bye two weeks ago.
“You know what’s crazy? Thursday night, my wife says she’s going to order tickets right here close to the sideline, so make sure you score in this end zone,” said Hill, who couldn't haul in a TD toss on fourth down on the Dolphins' opening possession.
“That’s why I dropped the first touchdown pass," Hill said playfully. "She wasn’t on that side. That was a nice hat — she wore a hat that could stand out. I could see her from 100 yards away easily.”
Hill's touchdown catch was his 10th of the season, making him the first Dolphins player since Mike Wallace in 2014 to have double-digit TD receptions.
With the Jets' offense struggling — as usual — the defense stepped up to get them into the game.
On first-and-10 from the Dolphins 27, Tagovailoa threw a short pass intended for Braxton Berrios, but Echols jumped the route, intercepted the toss and took it to the end zone.
The usually reliable Greg Zuerlein was wide right on the extra-point attempt, and Miami's lead was 10-6 with 58 seconds left in the opening half.
D.J. Reed intercepted Tagovailoa on the Dolphins' next possession, giving the Jets the ball at their 49 with 2 seconds remaining.
Instead of taking a knee and going into halftime down by 4, coach Robert Saleh opted for a Hail Mary — and it went embarrassingly wrong.
Boyle's throw to the end zone was picked off by Holland, who took off down the field, weaved his way past some would-be Jets tacklers — including Boyle — and took it in untouched.
“We took our shot off the interception to try to get one more (score),” Saleh said. “Just a very unfortunate play at the end of the half.”
The Dolphins went wild on their sideline. The Jets stood stunned on theirs.
“That was crazy,” Miami wide receiver Jaylen Waddle said. “That was one of the best plays I’ve ever seen, as far as timing. ... It was a crazy play that we needed."
Meanwhile, Jets fans headed for the concourses shaking their heads after another brutal half of football for their team.
“I’ve never really seen or been a part of anything like that,” Boyle said. “But it’s a good learning experience.”
Mostert's 13-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter gave the Dolphins a 27-6 lead — and tempers flared after that.
There was some pushing and shoving between several players after the extra point and the Jets' C.J. Mosley and Micheal Clemons were flagged for personal fouls — including Clemons appearing to inadvertently make contact with an official. Clemons was ejected. Dolphins right tackle Austin Jackson was also kicked out of the game.
Mostert added a 34-yard TD run with 3:35 left.
Hill finished with nine catches for 102 yards and the TD, while Waddle caught eight passes for 114 yards. ... Hill has 1,324 yards receiving, breaking Julio Jones’ record (1,305) for the most yards receiving in the first 11 games of a season since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. ... Boyle, making his fourth NFL start and first since the 2021 season with Detroit, was 27 of 38 for 179 yards and a TD with two interceptions.
Dolphins: Holland left late in the fourth quarter with a knee injury, but said he's fine. ... LB Jaelan Phillips was carted from the field in the fourth with an injured Achilles tendon. “It doesn't look good,” coach Mike McDaniel said. ... LT Terron Armstead left in the third with a quadriceps injury.
Dolphins: At Washington on Dec. 3.
Jets: Host Atlanta on Dec. 3.
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