Miami Dolphins

Super sub Moore lifts Dolphins to thrilling 31-28 victory over the Jets

Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore (8) yells in the endzone after a touchdown was called back in the fourth quarter as they play the New York Jets Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore (8) yells in the endzone after a touchdown was called back in the fourth quarter as they play the New York Jets Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Sunday at Hard Rock was a real-time lesson for anyone who considers him or herself even a nominal Dolphins fan:

Don’t leave early. And whatever you do, don’t change the channel.

This team does not fear the Reaper. Because it simply does not die.

A week rallying from 17 points down at halftime to beat the Falcons, the Dolphins did something even more impressive Sunday:

They turned a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit into a breathtaking 31-28 win over the Jets.

And in doing so, they improved to 4-2 for the first time since 2003. And they rallied from down 14 or more to win in consecutive weeks for the first time since 1980.

So yeah, the Dolphins, as Jarvis Landry said, are “never” out of a game.

But what they have done under Adam Gase does not just defy logic. It is the mother of statistical outliers.

They have now won a staggering 12 straight games decided by seven or fewer points — two shy of the NFL record.

“I guess you could say we like to make it interesting,” Dolphins guard Jermon Bushrod said with a smile. “It doesn't really help me, my heart much. But at the end of the day, a win's a win and I'll take it.”

And they are winning it in the face of nearly unthinkable adversity.

A team that has lost its opener to a hurricane and lost its offensive line coach to a drug scandal won Sunday with their third different starting quarterback since Aug. 1.

Playing in place of an injured Jay Cutler, Matt Moore completed 13 of 21 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns in his first action in 2017.

He, along with a late interception by Bobby McCain and a game-winning, 39-yard field goal by Cody Parkey were the difference in a downright fun game.

Kenny Stills had two touchdown catches. Jarvis Landry and Anthony Fasano each had one.

With Cutler under center, the offense looked better than it did through the first six weeks.

But with Moore under center — he entered when Cutler left with a chest injury less than three minutes into the second half — the offense hummed in a way it has not since 2016.

The Dolphins in the second half gained 219 yards, churned out14 first downs, converted 4 of 9 third downs and scored 17 points — all in the fourth quarter.

Gase is loathe even light a match near a potential quarterback controversy, let alone fan the flames, and until Cutler is healthy, there is no controversy.

But when Cutler’s ribs heal in the next few weeks, Gase could have a headache to manage. Moore has long been popular inside the Dolphins’ locker room. He is trusted, too.

And if the Dolphins’ three-game winning streak becomes five or six, why mess with what works?

But that is a worry for another day. On Sunday, there was a celebratory feel inside the Dolphins’ locker room — and a bit of awe that Moore was able to play that well despite getting zero first-team snaps in practice last week.

“Here we go,” Moore said to himself when he saw Cutler go down. “You’ve got to go do your job and execute to the best of your ability and at that point. We’re down and I’m just trying to make plays and put some scores on the board. You just tell yourself don’t try to do too much and play within the scheme and let your guys make plays, which they did. It was great.”

Moore artfully dodged when asked about being passed over for Cutler after Ryan Tannehill got hurt — knowing full well that it could happen again when Cutler gets healthy.

But the Dolphins have now won 13 of their last 17 regular season games, and Moore has been a big part of four of those wins. He kept the team afloat when Tannehill went down last year.

And he kept the Dolphins in firm control of their 2017 destiny as we near the season’s midway point.

“It’s great,” Moore said. “Shoot, any time you win a home game against a divisional opponent and to be 4-2 with the craziness this season’s been, you feel good. We’ve got a short week so we’ll enjoy it; but you’ve got to get ready to go again.”

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

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