- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Confidence soaring: The Dolphins played their most complete game on offense and defense on the road against the Jets. That combination produced a confident locker room in the bowels of MetLife Stadium on Sunday evening. The Dolphins (6-6) know they have little margin for error but feel they have enough talent and momentum to get hot in December. “We don’t have a choice,” Dolphins linebacker Dannell Ellerbe said. “Everybody is all-in right now."
Hartline shines: The Dolphins had their eye all week on the matchup between veteran receiver Brian Hartline against Jets rookie cornerback Dee Milliner. Hartline has been one of Miami’s steadiest players this year and Milliner one of the most inconsistent for the Jets. As projected, Miami took advantage of the matchup, as Hartline registered nine receptions for a season-high 127 yards and a touchdown. He primarily beat Milliner and Ellis Lankster throughout the game. But Hartline’s biggest play was a 31-yard touchdown catch over Jets No. 1 cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Hartline now has 804 receiving yards and is close to posting back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for the first time in his career.
Vernon streaking: The first Miami player to reach double-digit sacks isn’t the one you would have expected. Dolphins second-year defensive end Olivier Vernon recorded 2.5 sacks against the Jets and now has 10 on the season. Vernon has been on a tear as of late, with 4.5 sacks in his past three games. Vernon was considered a placeholder for rookie Dion Jordan entering the season. But Vernon’s production has kept Jordan on the bench all year.
Steelers up next: The road does not get any easier for the Dolphins. They have another elimination game coming next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7). Pittsburgh will also be playing for its playoff life, which will make the Steelers tough to beat at Heinz Field. The Dolphins broke a three-game road losing streak with Sunday’s win over the Jets.