Jets survive late ‘Fins surge, win 31-23
MIAMI, FL – Mark Sanchez threw three touchdown passes for the second week in a row, and the Jets are in a three-way tie atop the AFC East with the Dolphins and Patriots. All are 2-1.
Bradon Marshall may have torched a Revis-less Jets secondary for 10 receptions 166 yards and a touchdown , but it was Braylon Edwards who made the night’s biggest grab. Benched briefly because of a drunken-driving arrest, he caught a short pass, juked cornerback Jason Allen to the ground and sprinted untouched to the end zone to put New York ahead. They would not relinquish the lead.
“The biggest thing I can say about this week is that I really am glad that I have teammates and an organization like the Jets,” Edwards said. “They’ve been very supportive, been there for me and they’ve allowed me to have a better week than maybe somewhere else.”
After pulling ahead with an eight-point lead just under two minutes to play, the Dolphins starting marching down the field. On the last play of their seven-play, 69-yard drive Drew Coleman picked off Chad Henne in the endzone to seal the 31-23 win.
Jason Taylor, who returned to his old stomping grounds, was named a team captain for the game and was booed regularly by the sell-out crowd in what was the Dolphins’ home opener. At the end of the game, Rex Ryan assisted in letting the former Dolphin get a shower a littler earlier as he helped pour Gatorade over Taylor.
The victory capped an emotional week for Taylor, and a stressful one for Edwards. The receiver was arrested in Manhattan around 5 a.m. Tuesday and apologized the next day. After a media outcry for his punishment, the Jets decided to bench him for the first quarter of action Sunday night.
“It was obviously not the situation I want to be in,” Edwards said. “But I was there supporting my team. I was there for every play, watching and knowing what it was, up and cheering guys on. I was just being the best teammate I could be.”
He had two catches in the game, a 67-yard touchdown pass and a 20-yard catch on third down to keep their final touchdown drive alive. The drive was later capped off by a 1-yard LaDanian Tomlinson rush to the endzone.
The Dolphins’ Henne then took his team down the field with 35 seconds left, only to have the ball deflected in the endzone by Eric Smith and intercepted by Coleman.
“We kept fighting at the end,” Henne said. “Sad how it turned out.”
Smith was making plays defensively and on special teams as he blocked a punt that would eventually set up a field goal.
Miami fought back from a 14-0 deficit with help from Marshall, who had his first touchdown for the Dolphins. They opened the second half with a 6-minute, 73-yard drive capped by Henne’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Marshall on third down.
That gave the Dolphins the 17-14 lead. It would be the only time in the game that the Jets were trailing.
The Jets answered with Edwards catching a 12-yard pass near the sideline and taking it 55-yards for the score. It took 18 seconds for the Jets to retake the lead.
“All week we said we just want to make plays after the catch,” Edwards said. “Anybody can throw a deep ball. For us, we just wanted yards after the catch. It was a situation where I caught it outside and Jason slipped, and I was able to go the distance.”
It was his longest play as a member of the New York Jets.
The Jets took the opening possession and marched 72 yards for a touchdown. Sanchez converted two third downs with completions, then hit Dustin Keller with a 24-yard score. Sanchez would follow that up with an equally impressive 12-yard strike to Keller again that capped off a 90-yard drive, giving them a 14-0 lead.
The Jets were able to stop the Dolphins from beating them four straight times. They did so by stopping their dangerous run game/Wildcat offense. Ronnie Brown ran for 54 yards, while Ricky Williams had 28 yards and 2 fumbles (one lost). However for a second time, Henne had over 300 yards passing against the Jets (a career-high 363 yards).
“This is one of those games where you’ve got to have it,” Marshall said. “It was a fun atmosphere to play in. The crowd was awesome, and I’m disappointed we couldn’t get them the win.”
The Jets next face Buffalo at home on October 3rd at 1 p.m. EST. The Jets will look to continue their win streak within the division.