The crowd at MetLife Stadium erupted, roaring as Bryce Hall swooped in to deflect a pass on third down.
For a moment, it looked like the Jets defense had come up with a big stop in a tie game, forcing Miami—in all likelihood—to kick a field goal.
That elation was fleeting, though, disappearing as a flag nestled in the turf next to Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Jets defensive end John Franklin-Myers was called for roughing the passer on the play, coming in late and shoving Tagovailoa to the ground. This season, there have been some questionable roughing the passer calls across the NFL, but this one was clear as day.
Four plays later, Tagovailoa found running back Myles Gaskin for a five-yard touchdown pass, giving Miami a 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter.
"In the moment, I didn't know that I hit him late," Franklin-Myers told reporters after the game, a 24-17 loss for the Jets. "Just happened fast. I've got to be better, it's something that can't happen. We got that stop and I've just got to be better about it."
Franklin-Myers didn't stop there. He reiterated that a roughing the passer penalty simply can't happen in that situation, saying that his actions arguably cost the Jets game.
Who knows what would've happened if Franklin-Myers didn't hit the quarterback in that spot. Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders had already missed a chip shot earlier in the game. What if he missed a field goal on fourth down there, keeping the game tied at 14-14?
Either way, New York would have had an opportunity to march down the field and take the lead, down only three points. Instead, losing by seven, Gang Green went three-and-out.
On the subsequent drive, New York had another chance to make a stop on third down. Quinnen Williams, and a slew of green jerseys, swarmed into the backfield for a huge sack only to discover that cornerback Jason Pinnock had been called for holding in the secondary, giving Miami a fresh set of downs.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh said after the game that Pinnock's penalty was a result of a smaller defender trying to be aggressive with a larger tight end.
While Saleh was OK with Pinnock's effort—even if that flag led to a score as well—Franklin-Myers' costly play was another story.
"I'll never fault aggressive penalties," Saleh said, referring to Pinnock. "JFM? Unacceptable."
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