MIAMI GARDENS (AP) — Jason Taylor stood at his 10-yard line, motioning with both arms to coax more noise from the crowd as the Miami Dolphins tried to hang on to a late lead.
It was Taylor's way of waving goodbye.
His penetration on the next play harried Mark Sanchez into an interception that helped seal the victory and Miami eliminated the New York Jets from playoff contention by winning 19-17 Sunday.
Taylor, the NFL's active sacks leader, played his final game in a 15-year career. He didn't add to his sack total of 139-1/2 but he lined up at tailback for the final two plays as the Dolphins ran out the clock, then he was carried off the field.
“It was a good way to end this thing — to beat your No. 1 rivals in your home stadium in your last game,” Taylor said during an emotional postgame news conference. “I'm very, very happy and blessed to be where I am.”
Taylor provided a rare moment of celebration for the Dolphins (6-10), who completed their third consecutive losing season, their longest such stretch since the 1960s. They fired coach Tony Sparano on Dec. 12 and have begun the search for a successor.
One small consolation: Miami tied the NFL record for most wins after a 0-7 start.
“Obviously, we wanted more Ws,” quarterback Matt Moore said. “It's a time to learn from and there were a lot of mistakes to go back and correct. But there are a lot of positive things as well. It's hard not to feel good after a win, especially against the Jets.”
Taylor, who joined teammates on offense for the final two plays, said,
“Playing this game was a privilege. It was so good to me. I'll miss it. I'm the luckiest man in the world. For the last 15 years I've been able to play a kid's game and get paid to do it.”
The stands were perhaps half full, reflecting the disenchantment of Dolphins fans. Owner Stephen Ross drew jeers when he honored Taylor during a pregame ceremony and a small plane overhead tugged a banner that called for the firing of general manager Jeff Ireland.
Photo: Jason Taylor