When Jay Ajayi (No. 23, Boise State) busted his final run of the day for 16 yards, he stood facing the cheering crowd and pumped both fists, a picture of perseverance rewarded.
The Miami Dolphins stuck with their ground game Sunday, even when it was going nowhere, and eventually Ajayi found enough holes to finish off the New York Jets 27-23.
“His job is to keep hammering it and wait until the fourth quarter,” coach Adam Gase said. “If teams can stay with him, and they can tackle him, then they’re probably going to win the game.”
Thanks to Gase’s newfound ground attack, the Dolphins (4-4) have won three consecutive games to climb into a tie for second place in the AFC East. The Jets (3-6) slipped into the cellar with their quarterback situation again muddled.
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Ajayi came up short in his bid to become the first NFL rusher to reach 200 yards three games in a row. But he netted 111 yards against the league’s top run defense to become the first Dolphin since Reggie Bush in 2011 to run for at least 100 yards in three consecutive games.
He has totaled 529 yards rushing in the past three games.
“We knew we were going against a good challenge today,” Ajayi said. “Although we couldn’t get to 200, I still felt we had a good game on the ground. The O-line still did a good job of pushing penetration. We were able to finish the game strong.”
Ajayi was hit behind the line on many of his 24 carries, but it was the Jets who wore down, and he rushed for 55 yards in the fourth quarter.
MORE IDAHO TIES
Korey Toomer wasn’t on an NFL active roster until Week 4.
Five weeks later, the inside linebacker was the San Diego Chargers’ leading tackler.
Toomer (No. 56, Idaho) played a reserve role in the Chargers’ prior two games against Atlanta and Denver, but he made the most of his third NFL start Sunday against Tennessee. The fifth-year pro from Las Vegas made a career-high nine tackles (eight solo) and forced a fumble that resulted in a touchdown as the Chargers beat visiting Tennessee 43-35.
With 2:44 left in the third quarter, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is stopped on an option play behind the line of scrimmage. Toomer made a play for the ball, then safety Dwight Lowery picked it up and took it 41 yards to give the Chargers a 33-21 lead.
Toomer entered this season with seven total tackles in 18 regular-season games. He has 27 in six games this year, including seven in Week 6 against Denver, and he’s sixth on the team.
Twelve players from Idaho schools saw action in Week 9 games. The rest of the list:
▪ Dallas CB Orlando Scandrick (No. 32, Boise State) started at Cleveland and made five tackles. Cowboys defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence (No. 90, Boise State), Benson Mayowa (No. 93, Idaho) and Tyrone Crawford (No. 98, Boise State; starter) combined for four tackles, with Lawrence making two stops (one for loss) and hitting the quarterback once. ... On the other side, Browns CB Jamar Taylor (No. 21, Boise State) had two tackles in a reserve role.
▪ New Orleans TE Josh Hill (No. 89, Blackfoot High/Idaho State) had four catches for 40 yards at San Francisco, including a 32-yard grab in the first quarter that set up the Saints’ first touchdown in a 41-23 victory.
▪ Offensive line starter: Denver C Matt Paradis (No. 61, Council High/Boise State)
▪ Also played: New York Jets LT Ryan Clady (No. 78, Boise State); Tampa Bay G Evan Smith (No. 62, Idaho State); Denver DL Billy Winn (No. 97, Boise State).
▪ Inactive: Baltimore LB Kamalei Correa (No. 51, Boise State; thigh); Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin (No. 22, Boise State; hamstring); New York Giants FS Darian Thompson (No. 27, Boise State; foot).
▪ Bye week: Cincinnati FS George Iloka (No. 43, Boise State); Arizona LG Mike Iupati (No. 76, Idaho); Chicago LT Charles Leno Jr. (No. 72, Boise State); New England LB Shea McClellin (No. 58, Marsing High/Boise State).