Miami Dolphins

Jarvis Landry lifts Miami Dolphins offense with running game failing

Jarvis Landry runs the ball as the Miami Dolphins take on the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Monday, December 1, 2014.
Jarvis Landry runs the ball as the Miami Dolphins take on the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Monday, December 1, 2014. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

On a gloomy night, rookie wide receiver Jarvis Landry was a bright spot again for the Dolphins.

The LSU product caught a season-best eight passes for 68 yards, moving him past Davone Bess into third place for most receptions in a season by a Dolphins rookie. Bess caught 54 passes for 554 yards in 2008.

Next on the list for Landry is Jack Clancy, who caught 67 passes for 868 yards in 1967. Running back Terry Kirby is the all-time leader among Miami rookies with 75 catches in 1993.

The 68 yards receiving were the second-highest total for Landry. He caught six passes against Green Bay for 75 yards on Oct.12.

Landry’s 25-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Ryan Tannehill set up the only Miami touchdown of the night. Five plays later, running back Lamar Miller scored from 3 yards out and Caleb Sturgis’ extra point tied the score at 13-13 with 10:28 to play.

Landry’s performance in the mist came just a week after his former LSU wide receiver pal Odell Beckham Jr.’s amazing one-handed catch for the Giants on the same MetLife turf against the Dallas Cowboys. Beckham was drafted by the Giants in the first round. Miami chose Landry in the second round.

With the Dolphins unable to run the ball with any consistency, Tannehill relied on Landry and wide receiver Mike Wallace to generate offense. The Dolphins gained only 75 yards on the ground. Their longest gain was 13 yards.

Tannehill threw 11 times to Landry and Wallace. Brian Hartline caught one pass before leaving the game with a knee injury.

Tannehill completed 4 of 5 passes on the game-winning, nine-play drive, which culminated with Sturgis’ 26-yard field goal with 1:57 to play. Overall, Tannehill was 25 of 35 for 217 yards and one interception.

Miami’s inability to convert third-down plays against one of the league’s worst defenses led to a 10-0 deficit.

The Dolphins managed just five first downs in the first half and were outgained by the Jets, 232-125.

Coming into the game, the Jets were 31st in the NFL in third-down defense, allowing their opponents to convert on third down 47 percent of the time.

Miami went three-and-out on its first possession and picked up three of its five first downs in the first half on one series that concluded with Sturgis missing a 43-yard field goal with 1:50 left in the first quarter.

On their first possession of the second quarter, the Dolphins needed just 5 yards for a first down from their own 28. But Tannehill’s pass to running back Daniel Thomas gained only 3 yards in the flat.

By halftime, the Jets had already piled up 210 yards on the ground. Running back Chris Johnson accumulated a season-best 85 yards rushing, and New York was averaging 7.2 yards per carry — all in the first half.

The Dolphins entered the game allowing a stingy 4.85 yards per play, the second-fewest in the NFL, but were burned not by the conventional run but by the reverse.

New York wide receiver Greg Salas took a handoff from quarterback Geno Smith and raced 20 yards down the left sideline for the only touchdown of the first half.

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