Dolphins left on brink of failure

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The Independent Online

The Miami Dolphins lost 38-31 to the New York Jets on Monday night - a result which took the Buffalo Bills into the American Football Conference play-offs - and severely dented their own hopes of playing in January.

The Miami Dolphins lost 38-31 to the New York Jets on Monday night - a result which took the Buffalo Bills into the American Football Conference play-offs - and severely dented their own hopes of playing in January.

The Dolphins, who have now lost five of their last seven games, face the Washington Redskins in next weekend's final round of the regular NFL season but they can only reach the play-offs if either Kansas City or Seattle lose.

New York, who have won five of their past seven games including a home win over the Dolphins two weeks ago, have relished their role as spoilers in the latter part of the season, winning six of their last eight games and regularly beating play-off hopefuls. They will get a chance to spoil the season of Seattle, the AFC West leaders, at home on Sunday.

The Dolphins have lost five of their last seven since a promising 7-1 start. Dan Marino, whose future as quarterback is uncertain, was intercepted three times - two of which resulted in 14 points for the Jets - while New York's on-song Ray Lucas sealed the game in the last quarter with a pass to wide receiver Wayne Chrebet, putting New York 31-28 in front.

Lucas, who started the season as the Jets' No 3 quarterback, threw two of his three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter and no interceptions. "He just gets better each week," said the New York coach, Bill Parcells.

"They've got good players, everybody wants to think they're a bad football team because they lost [their starting quarterback] Vinny Testaverde three months ago," the Miami coach, Jimmy Johnson, said. "They are talented and they are going to make plays."

Miami's Olindo Mare set an NFL record when he kicked his 38th field goal of the season.

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