Ajayi, the second-year running back who rushed for 111 yards on Sunday after gaining 204 and 214 in his previous two games, could only watch and cheer when the Dolphins made their winning play.
Rookie Kenyan Drake scored the go-ahead, fourth-quarter touchdown on a 96-yard kickoff return to lead Miami to a 27-23 win over the New York Jets on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
"Everyone was running down the sideline," Ajayi said of the Dolphins rooting on Drake. "I was trying to beat (Drake) to the end zone. I was so excited for him."
Drake's return came with 5:15 left in the game. On the previous play, Miami's Jakeem Grant was tackled on his own 20 on a kickoff return. But due to an off-sides penalty on the Jets, New York was forced to kick off again.
Ironically, Grant had returned a punt for a touchdown in the first half, but that play was negated by a block-in-the-back penalty on Drake.
Miami (4-4) won its third game in a row. The Jets are 3-6.
Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who left the game for one series due to a left knee injury, threw two costly interceptions but was nearly the hero.
He threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to rookie Jalin Marshall with 5:42 left in the game. That gave the Jets a 23-20 lead and led to the off-sides penalty and subsequent kickoff return that doomed the Jets.
Marshall was targeted nine times and was seen arguing with Fitzpatrick on the sidelines.
"The great thing about (Marshall) is that he is a crazy competitor, and he wants the ball on every play," Fitzpatrick said. "There is nothing to read into (the arguing). Our relationship -- we understand each other."
Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill didn't have nearly as much drama as Fitzpatrick, passing for 149 yards and one touchdown. But he was not intercepted and managed the game.
New York took the opening kickoff and drove 70 yards on 13 plays, settling for a 23-yard Nick Folk field goal. The drive took 6:34 off the clock and was helped by a third-down interference penalty on Miami linebacker Jelani Jenkins.
Miami took a 7-3 lead, scoring a touchdown on its first possession -- a 20-yard run by Ajayi. Of the 75 yards the Dolphins gained on the drive, 35 came on penalties, including a roughing call on Buster Skrine and taunting on Calvin Pryor.
New York came back on its next drive and got a 31-yard touchdown run by Matt Forte. The 75-yard drive was helped by a third-down horse-collar penalty on Miami defensive end Andre Branch.
Miami took a 14-10 lead early in the second quarter after an 11-play, 75-yard march that was capped by a one-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to tight end Dominique Jones. That drive took 5:19 off the clock.
New York cut its deficit to 14-13, getting a 21-yard Folk field goal. That drive, which closed the first-half scoring, was set up by a 32-yard run by Forte.
Miami extended its lead to 20-13 with a pair of Andrew Franks field goals, 33 and 29 yards.
The second field goal was set up by a Jordan Phillips interception. The 6-6, 335-pound defensive tackle surprised Fitzpatrick by dropping into coverage and stepping in front of slant route. Phillips returned the pick 17 yards, leaping over a Jets would-be tackler.
New York cut its deficit to 20-16 on a 28-yard field goal by Folk.
But Fitzpatrick, who completed 17-of-28 passes for 193 yards and one touchdown, threw his second interception on his next possession. Facing a blitzer in his face, Fitzpatrick threw the ball up for grabs in the end zone, and it was picked off by cornerback Bobby McCain.
Jets coach Todd Bowles, who benched Fitzpatrick earlier this season, said that will not be the case for the rest of the season.
Bowles declined to say why star defensive linemen Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson did not play in the first quarter. But Bowles did comment on the four personal-foul penalties that the Jets were hit with in the first half.
"It's infuriating," Bowles said. "We've got to have better composure than that."
NOTES: Jets second-year QB Bryce Petty made his NFL debut when QB Ryan Fitzpatrick sat out one series due to a knee injury. Petty completed 2-of-2 passes for 19 yards. ... Dolphins RB Jay Ajeayi fell 89 yards short of becoming the first player in NFL history to rush for at least 200 yards in three straight games. ... Jets OL Ben Ijalana replaced LT Ryan Clady (shoulder) in the starting lineup. ... The Jets were without three starters who are close to returning: C Nick Mangold (ankle); LB Darron Lee (ankle) and TE Kellen Davis (elbow). Several Jets played despite missing practice time this week, including RT Breno Giacomini (shoulder), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle) and CB Buster Skrine (knee). ... Dolphins TE Jordan Cameron was placed on injured reserving, likely ending his season and his Miami career. He suffered his fourth concussion in four years on Sept. 25 and has been unable to return. ... Also out for the Dolphins: starting CB Xavien Howard (knee) and backup TE Dion Sims (concussion).