Jets Lose on Dolphins' Epic Drive

The Dolphins, with nothing to play for but respect, eliminated their division rival Jets from playoff contention on Sunday.  Miami was down 10-6 with 7:56 left in the 3rd when they went on an epic 94-yard, 21-play, 12+ minute go-ahead drive.  Yes, a 21-play drive, tiring out Rex Ryan's prized defense.  Highlighted by six 3rd down conversions, there was a 73% chance of the drive ending in a punt and only 6% chance of a TD on 3rd-and-9 from their own 7-yardline (Play 3).  Using our Markov model, we can see the progression of the drive - and the progression of the Jets' demise.


Matt Moore stayed cool under pressure, completing 1st-down passes on all six third downs.  The biggest of these came on a 3rd-and-13 from the Jets 47.  Moore hits Brandon Marshall for an 18-yard completion, adding 2.68 points above expectation and increasing the Dolphins' chances of winning by 11%.  One more new set of downs and the Dolphins became favorites to win the game.

The 94-yard drive culminated in a 1-yard completion to Charles Clay, fittingly on a 3rd down.  Up 13-10, the Dolphins would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way, squashing the Jets' playoff hopes.

Before the drive, the Jets had a 72% chance of winning the game; after the touchdown, that shrunk to 34%.  The drive was the straw that broke Rex Ryan's back for the 2011 NFL season.  No one is more thankful than the Bengals, who sneak in as the 6-seed and will face a Schaub-less Houston team next week.

Keith Goldner is the creator of Drive-By Football, and Chief Analyst at numberFire.com - The leading fantasy sports analytics platform.  Follow him on twitter @drivebyfootball or check out numberFire on Facebook  

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