By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
Players: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Demaryius Thomas, Bilal Powell, Ryan Griffin, Allen Hurns, Albert Wilson, Ty Montgomery, DeVante Parker, Robby Anderson, Sam Ficken, Jason Sanders, Chandler Cox, Lamar Jackson, Sam Darnold
New York Jets kicker Sam Ficken (9) kicks the winning field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
New York Jets kicker Sam Ficken (9) reacts with teammates after kicking the winning field goal during an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
New York Jets kicker Sam Ficken (9) reacts as he watches his 44-yard field goal split the uprights against the Miami Dolphins to end an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 22-21.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders (7) celebrates with punter Matt Haack (2) and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (94) after kicking a field goal against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
New York Jets cornerback Nate Hairston (21) reacts with teammates after intercepting a pass intended for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Allen Hurns (17) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) splits the defense between Miami Dolphins defensive back Nik Needham (40) and free safety Adrian Colbert (36) to score a touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) runs the ball against the New York Jets during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) passes against the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The New York Jets were looking at fourth-and-really long - and another brutal loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Until a controversial call changed it all.
Sam Ficken kicked a 44-yard field goal as time expired to give the Jets a 22-21 comeback victory Sunday after they benefited when an incomplete pass was reviewed in New York and a rare game-altering pass interference ruling on Miami was added.
''I thought it was pass interference,'' Darnold said. ''And, obviously, they overturned it.''
Darnold got the winning drive going with a short pass to Vyncint Smith, who turned it into a 37-yard gain that included a high-step over a would-be tackler. After a sack by Andrew Van Ginkel two plays later put the ball at the Dolphins 46, Darnold threw an incomplete pass to Smith.
But, the Jets argued Nik Needham interfered with the receiver by wrapping his right arm around Smith's right shoulder.
''I knew it was pass interference from the beginning,'' Smith said. ''I think I had one earlier in the game that they didn't call, so I was upset they weren't calling that one, either.''
But the play went to a video review at the league office and the interference call was added - giving the Jets a first down and new life.
''Honestly, it's just trash,'' Needham said.
A 12-yard catch by Ty Montgomery got the ball to the 26. Two plays later, Ficken won it, helping the Jets (5-8) avoid a season series sweep by the lowly Dolphins (3-10).
''This one feels really good,'' said Ficken, who made three field goals but missed an extra point. ''This is definitely the best moment I've had in my pro career ''
Miami coach Brian Flores appeared incensed as the game ended, with TV cameras catching him shouting his displeasure at one of the officials. He refused to discuss the overturned call with reporters.
''We lost the game,'' Flores said. ''I was upset we lost the game.''
Added Needham: ''How else am I supposed to get to the receiver? He's in front of me. I can't run through him. I have to get around him to get the ball out. Yeah, so it's a P.I. in their house.''
Al Riveron, the NFL's senior vice president of officiating, said the call was made by New York by rule with the game having under two minutes left. All reviews are done in the booth and/or in New York.
''It was clear and obvious that the receiver did get significantly hindered prior to the ball getting there,'' Riveron told a pool reporter.
The Jets - who lost to the previously winless Cincinnati Bengals last week - overcame a Dolphins franchise-record seven field goals by Jason Sanders, including a 37-yarder that gave Miami the lead with 1:33 left.
Sanders kicked a 48-yarder to put the Dolphins up 18-16 with 6:59 remaining, but Ficken's 42-yarder gave New York the lead again with 4:05 left.
Darnold, who injured his right hand at the beginning of the fourth quarter, was off on a few of his late passes but finished 20 of 36 for 270 yards and touchdowns to Demaryius Thomas and Robby Anderson. Darnold also was intercepted once.
Anderson had seven catches for 116 yards and the score. Bilal Powell, starting in place of the ill Le'Veon Bell, had 74 yards on 19 carries before leaving on the final drive with an ankle injury.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was 21 of 37 for 245 yards with an interception for Miami, playing without top receivers DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson who both left with concussions.
The Jets took a 16-6 lead with 1:55 left in the opening half on Thomas' 14-yard touchdown catch, his first for New York. The initial call of an incomplete pass was overturned by a video review as officials ruled Thomas had possession as he was tackled by Needham while falling into the end zone.
New York nearly had another score a few plays later when James Burgess intercepted Fitzpatrick and took it into the end zone, but the Jets linebacker was called for defensive holding - negating the turnover.
Miami ended up getting a 28-yard field goal from Sanders with 19 seconds remaining in the half to cut the deficit to 16-9.
The Jets were without two of their best players with both Bell and safety Jamal Adams sitting out.
Bell was ruled out Saturday because of what Gase said after the game is the flu. He practiced fully Wednesday, but then sat out Thursday and Friday.
Adams was officially ruled inactive 90 minutes before the game after he missed practice all week with a sprained ankle. It was the first game Adams has missed in his three-year NFL career.
Dolphins: Parker went out with a concussion in the second quarter, and Wilson in the third. ... TE/FB Chandler Cox injured a shoulder in the fourth quarter.
Jets: TE Ryan Griffin left with an ankle injury on New York's opening drive and didn't return. ... DL Quinnen Williams suffered a burner in the third quarter and didn't return. ... CB Kyron Brown was in crutches in the locker room after hurting his left quadriceps in the fourth quarter.
Dolphins: play at MetLife Stadium again next Sunday to take on the Giants.
Jets: travel to Baltimore to take on Lamar Jackson and the Ravens on Thursday night.
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There has been buzz that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a possible landing spot for Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who will become a free agent in March. After his worst season since 2007, the aging gunslinger is unlikely to re-sign with the Bolts, and he recently moved his family from San Diego to Florida to be closer to his extended family in Alabama. The 38-year-old might have a year or two left of football in him if he continues to play, but the 2019 season showed that he's near the end of the line. Rivers would only be an option for Tampa if they choose not to bring Jameis Winston back for at least another season after he led all of football in passing yards last season.
Houston Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has been fired, and defensive line coach Anthony Weaver has been promoted in his place, according to league sources. Houston's defense was a liability for most of the year, especially their leaky secondary. The Texans allowed 51 points and seven straight touchdown drives to the Chiefs in the Divisional Round loss. During the 2019 season, Houston's defense allowed 388.3 yards per game (fifth worst), 267.3 passing yards per game (fourth worst), 121.1 rushing yards a game and 24.1 points per game. Getting J.J. Watt back healthy for a full season will be a start to the Texans rebounding on defense under Weaver.
The Carolina Panthers hired former Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow as their new defensive coordinator on Monday. Snow oversaw the defenses for Matt Rhule at both Baylor and Temple. He has 37 years of college coaching experience and has also served as a defensive coordinator at UCLA, Washington, Arizona State and Boise State. Snow coached four seasons in the NFL with the Lions from 2005 to 2008 when he worked with the team's linebackers. Snow will lead a Carolina defense in 2020 that will be without All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly, who recently announced his retirement from football.
Houston Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is not expected back in 2020. Defensive line coach Anthony Weaver is the top candidate to replace him.
Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) has a 'good chance' to be available for the Super Bowl, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers CB Jaire Alexander (thumb) suffered a broken thumb during the team's NFC Championship Game loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Alexander is hopeful he won't need to undergo surgery.
The Green Bay Packers Defense recorded one sack and allowed 37 points in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers steamrolled past Green Bay's unit for 285 rushing yards and four rushing scores. To make matters worse, they couldn't generate much pressure or any turnovers. Despite the disappointing end, the Packers defense was much improved from last year, ranking 15th in sacks with 41 as well as third in interceptions with 17. They may not be among the top defenses drafted in 2020, though they should be on every fantasy managers' radar.
Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham caught four of five targets for 59 yards in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Graham was a big disappointment this season in a year filled with disappointing tight ends. The 33-year-old put up the lowest numbers since his rookie season and never really put together a good stretch of play until very recently. Graham has one year left on his contract worth about 7.5 million dollars. Given how much of a bust he was, perhaps Green Bay cuts ties with him and goes younger at the position in 2020.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison caught two of three targets for eight yards in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. There were big expectations for Allison heading into 2019 in both the real and fantasy football worlds. Unfortunately for him, he lived up to neither, failing to eclipse 50 receiving yards in all but one game all year. Green Bay, who is in desperate need of another receiver behind Davante Adams, will have a decision to make about the 25-year-old, who is an unrestricted free agent. It's hard to see Allison being back in Green Bay in 2020.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard caught three of four targets for 36 yards in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Lazard may not have made much noise in the two playoff games but flashed some potential in the regular season, including his first career 100-yard game. Rodgers started to develop a little chemistry with the 6-foot-4 wideout late in the season, as he looked his way 17 times in the last two contests. It would be surprising if Lazard were the number-two receiver for the Packers next year, though it still makes sense for them to bring him back in some capacity. Lazard has some sleeper potential if he's catching passes from Rodgers in 2020.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes' 87 passing touchdowns in his first 35 games, including playoffs, are the most in NFL history. His 11 passing touchdowns and 142 pass attempts without an interception to begin his playoff career are both the most on record, and he is one of just two players to have at least 250 passing yards, three or more passing touchdowns and at least 50 rushing yards in multiple career playoff games.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries in a 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 19, becoming the first player in NFL history to rush for at least 200 yards and four touchdowns in a playoff game.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams caught nine of 10 targets for 138 yards in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Adams operated as Rodgers' safety blanket yet again, capturing 79 more receiving yards than the Packers' next leading receiver. When healthy, this is what the 26-year-old did all year, as he compiled double-digit targets in all but four games, including the playoffs. Despite missing five games, Adams still almost put up a 1000-year season. It would behoove Green Bay to put together a stronger receiver group behind the star receiver. Even if they don't, a healthy Adams should be back in the discussion as an elite fantasy wideout in 2020.
Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams picked up just six rushing yards on three carries and caught two passes for one receiving yard in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Williams had a disappointing end to his season, as he failed to register at least 40 rushing yards in his last three games after eclipsing the mark in his previous three. The 24-year-old did show flashes at times of being the perfect complement to Aaron Jones. Still, it will be interesting to see if Green Bay hands the reins to Jones next year or continues to spell him with Williams. For now, consider Williams more of a handcuff option than a complement heading into 2020.
San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo completed six of his eight passes for 77 yards in a 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 19. RB Raheem Mostert rushed 29 times for 220 yards and four touchdowns and caught two passes for six yards, and RB Tevin Coleman rushed six times for 21 yards. WR Deebo Samuel caught two passes for 46 yards and rushed twice for 43 yards, TE George Kittle caught his only target for 19 yards, and WR Emmanuel Sanders was held without a catch on one target. DE Joey Bosa and DL Arik Armstead both recorded a sack.
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones carried the ball 12 times for 56 yards and a rushing touchdown along with five catches for 27 yards and a receiving score in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Jones was running well and would have been able to do more damage on the ground if not for the 27-0 deficit at the half. The 24-year-old finished the year tied for the NFL lead in touchdowns with 19, then added four more scores in the playoffs. He (likely) won't score this many times next year, though Jones proved he's more than just a touchdown machine, racking up career-highs in both rushing and receiving yards. He'll be among the best options in 2020 for fantasy backs in all formats.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 31 of 39 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. At first glance, Rodgers' stat line doesn't look so bad, though the first half was a complete struggle for him and the offense. Down 27-0 at the half, the veteran signal-caller effectively used up garbage time to post these numbers. It's a disappointing end to the season for Rodgers, though he still put up his eighth career 4000-yard season as well as his 10th season with at least 25 touchdown passes. The 36-year-old has plenty of juice left in his arm but will probably need another threat on the outside next year besides Davante Adams if Green Bay wants to make noise.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers completed 31 of his 39 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions and lost one of his three fumbles in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 19. RB Aaron Jones rushed 12 times for 56 yards and a touchdown and caught five passes for 27 yards and a score. WR Davante Adams caught nine of his 10 targets for 138 yards, TE Jimmy Graham hauled in four of his five targets for 59 yards, WR Allen Lazard added three catches for 36 yards, and TE Jace Sternberger caught two passes for 13 yards and a touchdown. LB Blake Martinez led the team with nine tackles, including six solo stops.
Green Bay Packers CB Jaire Alexander (thumb) has been ruled out for the remainder of the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Jan. 19.