Mike Nugent's field goal with 10 seconds remaining helped the Jets squeak by Miami, 13-10, during a rainy Christmas night in South Florida. The messy game looked like many others this season; it was defensive and sluggish. Who cares about style? With a win against Oakland on Sunday, the Jets will make the playoffs. Not too shabby for a team most thought would be dreadful.
Chad Pennington wasn't dreadful, but he wasn't much better. Maybe it was the rain or the Dolphins defense, but his throws were late, off target and not thrown with enough strength. He finished with just 14 completions in 29 attempts -- but he did have a nice go-ahead touchdown to Jerricho Cotchery.
Fortunately, Miami's offense wasn't effective. Ronnie Brown ran for over 100 yards, but the Jets defense stifled the passing game enough that Cleo Lemon replaced Joey Harrington after halftime. The Dolphins touchdown created by their offense came early in the fourth quarter -- their field goal was set up by a muffed punt by the Jets blockers.
Now, it all comes down to next week's game against the Raiders, who, in a word, stink. Even though no one expected the Jets to be in ths position to make the playoffs, to squander this chance would still be a major disappointment. After all, the Raiders haven't won since Oct. 29.
Photograph of Jets quarterback Chad Pennington dropping back to make a pass as teammate D'Brickashaw Ferguson blacks Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor by J. Pat Carter/AP