Jay Ajayi started Sunday’s game getting pushed backwards by Jets defenders.
His first three carries resulted in minus-8 yards.
In the moments between those touches, Ajayi said he heard plenty of trash talking from a Jets defense that entered the game ranked the best against the run in the NFL.
“There was a lot of talking going on during that drive and I was kind of upset,” Ajayi said.
The fourth time Ajayi touched the ball, he split the tackles and raced 20 yards virtually untouched to the end zone.
Ajayi then punched the padded wall behind the end zone twice as his teammates came over to celebrate with him.
“I just took my frustrations on it I guess,” Ajayi said. “It felt good. There was a lot of tension on the field and you could see it. I’m just glad we won.”
Ajayi spent the rest of the game moving forward as he finished with 111 yards on 24 carries to help the Dolphins secure their third consecutive victory.
Ajayi came up short of surpassing 200 yards for the third game in a row, but said he wasn’t disappointed overall.
“I’ll probably go punch the wall when I go home,” Ajayi joked. “They showcased why they are the No. 1 rush defense today. They did a lot of good things and kind of getting good penetration here and there. We just kept it steady.”
Ajayi — who was left home for the season-opener at Seattle because he was upset that he didn’t get the starting job — has thrived ever since the Dolphins’ offensive line got healthy.
Ajayi has rushed for 529 yards on 77 carries, and scored four touchdowns, over the past three games.
The yardage output is the Dolphins’ best three-game stretch by a running back since Ricky Williams ran for 587 yards in three games from Nov. 24-Dec. 9, 2002.
The last Dolphins running back to run for 100-plus yards in three consecutive games was Reggie Bush, who finished the 2011 season with four consecutive games of 100 or more yards.
“We knew we were going against a good challenge today,” Ajayi said. “I think we had a good game and the O-line did a good job of pushing penetration and we were able to put together a good four minutes at the end and seal the game.
“We are a physical team and we have a physical identity and that starts with our running game. What those guys do up front sets the tone and my running style, just being physical, making big plays and running downhill, that’s starting to show in the way we’re starting to win games.”
Ajayi gained 44 of his yards on the Dolphins’ final drive, which sealed the game after they forced the Jets to punt with 3:06 remaining.
Ajayi’s last rush went for 16 yards and helped him go over 100. Two plays earlier, he ran for 20 yards as a worn-down Jets defense ran out of time.
“We knew it would take a four-quarter game to get those open field plays,” Ajayi said. “It was about understanding who we were going up against and just be determined to make it work.”