Then the Dolphins opened the second half with an impressive third quarter, with the offense finally getting into a groove and producing a franchise-record, 21-play, 92-yard touchdown drive that provided a 13-10 lead in the fourth.
That performance mirrors the team's midseason run, when Miami won four of five games.
But the parallels end with the way the Dolphins responded to a potentially crippling roughing-the-passer penalty Sunday. Miami got a game-sealing interception from linebacker Marvin Mitchell in the red zone. Mitchell returned the pick 55 yards, setting up a 48-yard field goal.
Unlike in fourth-quarter losses to Cleveland, Denver, the New York Giants, Dallas and New England this season, someone stepped up and made a positive impact, allowing Miami to hang on in a tight game.
In the five fourth-quarter losses, which could have transformed a 6-10 season into an 11-5 campaign, the Dolphins took their opponent's best shot and dropped to their knees. Against the Jets, the Dolphins responded favorably to adversity.
"We rose to the occasion this time," cornerback Vontae Davis said. "Sometimes you have things go against you and you hang your head. We didn't do that this time. We finished."