Dolphins QB Chad Pennington in his post game press conference, gets the ultimate revenge against the team that discarded him by beating the Jets 24-17 and delivering Miami a divison championship to boot. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Well Jets fans, your worst nightmare came to fruition Sunday afternoon when Chad Pennington, the man the Jets spurned to get Brett Favre, came in and gave them a lashing in the Dolphins 24-17 victory. Favre played less than stellar in front of the 79,454 screaming fans in what could be his last game as an NFL quarterback. But stay tuned for that.
Pennington looked playoff and revenge-ready this afternoon going 22-for-30 200 YDS 2 TD. And to add insult to injury, a win wouldn’t have mattered since New England beat the Bills in windy Buffalo and the Ravens demolished the Jaguars on Sunday.
Favre looked sluggish at the start going 2-for-8 on his first two drives. Pennington on the other hand looked efficient in his throws and reads. He was 7-for10 on his first ten attempts. Favre (20-for-40 233 YDS 1 TD 3 INT) looked more like Joe Namath when he left the Jets and went to the Rams: a man out of ideas.
“Obviously it’s disappointing,” Favre said. “We expected to not be done at this point. I think the time that we spent together, the players and coaches working, it was quite a ride. Really the hardest part is the finality of it.”
It was tight in the first quarter, each team trading drive for drive with no score. Miami’s first drive of the game saw Pennington hit WR Davone Bess for a third down five yard pass that brought the ball to their own 11 yard line. That drive ended in a punt.
With the Jets in good field position on their own 46, Favre dropped back and rolled to his left and floated it up for RB Leon Washington but was intercepted by CB Andre Goodman. On the third play of the ensuing drive of Miami, TE David Martin caught a pass from Pennington over the middle where he bobbled the ball and was met by LB David Bowens and DE C.J. Mosley. Mosley came in late and collided with Martin’s helmet. Martin was helped off the field. He did not return.
On the same drive, the Dolphins brought out the wildcat formation where RB Ronnie Brown handed it on a reverse to RB Ricky Williams. He then pitched it to Pennington and ran a fly route down the right sideline and was in walking distance from end-zone with a touchdown but dropped the pass.
With 12:58 left in the second quarter, Pennington dropped back to pass and threw a crossing pattern intended for WR Brandon London where it was tipped and intercepted by S Kerry Rhodes. Rhodes returned it for 13 yards only to have it called back on an illegal contact penalty by CB Ty Law. Three plays later, Pennington was sacked by OLB Bryan Thomas and stripped the ball which was recovered by LB Jason Trusnik.
On a 3rd and 13 from their own 47, Favre dropped back and hit WR Jerricho Cotchery in stride for a 26 yard completion across the middle before being tackled by S Yeremiah Bell. After a four-yard Leon Washington run, Favre, in shotgun dropped back and rolled right where he hit WR Laveranues Coles for a 13-yard touchdown. A bad snap by long snapper James Dearth left the Jets with a 6-0 lead.
“You wish there was only one thing that you can look to and say that’s the issue,” head coach Eric Mangini said. “It’s never one thing when you win and it’s never one thing when you lose.”
There was 6:41 left on the clock when Brown lined up at quarterback for the Dolphins and had TE Joey Haynos wide open behind the defense with nothing but green behind him. But Brown threw the pass low and it resulted in an incompletion.
Gang Green followed with a three and out. With 3:42 to play in the half, Pennington dropped back and was nearly sacked but got out of the scrum and rolled right to hit TE Anthony Fasano for an eight yard completion to keep the drive alive. He followed that up with a 13-yard completion to Bess and in the no huddle, hit WR Ted Ginn Jr. on a go route down the left sideline for a 19-yard touchdown putting Miami in the lead 7-6.
“I saw nothing but a big blur at first,” Pennington said smiling. “All I could think about was to protect the football. I was able to get out of it and Anthony [Fasano] did a great job making himself available on the sideline.”
Favre responded by throwing a screen pass intended for RB Thomas Jones but was intercepted by DE Phillip Merling. He returned the kick 29 yards for a touchdown. The Jets trailed 14-6 with 00:51 to go in the second quarter and Favre hit Coles on a 27 yard crossing pattern to Miami’s 33 yard line. He followed that up with a 13 yard slant to WR Chansi Stuckey. However, the drive stalled on an incompletion intended for TE Dustin Keller. The Jets settled for a 28-yard Jay Feely field goal to go into half time trailing 14-9.
Gang Green opened up the second half forcing Miami into a three and out. LS John Denney mishandled the snap and P Brandon Fields fell on it at the Dolphins 28-yard line.
The Jets responded with Favre hitting Cotchery for a five yard stop route where he then took it to Miami’s 17-yard line. The five play drive ended with a ten yard Washington touchdown run. The Jets attempted and successfully completed a two-point conversion where Favre hit Cotchery on a crossing pattern in the middle of the end-zone putting the Jets up 17-14.
The following drive saw no less magic from Miami than they’ve showed the entire season. On the first play of the Dolphins, Brown and Pennington traded a hand-off and pitch for a flea flicker where he hit scary fast Ginn Jr. down the middle of the field for a 44-yard reception. Two plays later, Pennington, showing an above average zip on his pass, hit Fasano in the right corner of the endzone for a touchdown, putting the Dolphins up 21-17.
The Jets started the fourth quarter at their own 36-yard line. The drive stalled at Miami’s 43-yard line after Favre failed to hook up with Keller on a third down slant route. P Reggie Hodges’ punt was blocked by LB Charlie Anderson and returned eight yards by RB Patrick Cobbs to the Jets 49 before being tackled by David Bowens. The Dolphins followed with a six play 19 yard drive that ended in a 48-yard field goal by K Dan Carpenter, increasing Miami’s lead to 24-17.
With 5:21 left in the fourth Favre hit Coles on a go route for 21 yards only to render it meaningless on the next play when he threw a pass intended for Stuckey right into the hands of the defensive back Goodman, his second of the day.
Grading Gang Green
The Jets didn’t establish a running attack was atrocious in the passing game save the two-point conversion and touchdown to Coles. Favre didn’t execute and was overwhelmed by a secondary that’s ranked 25th coming into this game. They did however get Washington the ball this time around. The last two weeks he had less than three touches per game.
One sack. That’s all the Jets defense managed to get against Miami. Dumb penalties plagued the defense, most notably Ty Law’s illegal contact flag. Even though the run game of Miami didn’t rip apart the defensive line, they couldn’t penetrate and get into the backfield when needed.
Chad sounds off
Chad Pennington addressed the media following the win against the Jets. It was almost too good to be true that he had to come back to his former home and win to make the playoffs. “It’s always a sweet feeling to be a champion,” he said. “It’s a great feeling. My teammates, my coaches, have been accepting me from the get go.” He sliced and diced the team that thought he had nothing left. “It’s not a revenge factor,” he said. “This week was so much different than the first week. The first week was extremely emotional because the situation was so fresh. This week being the seventeenth week of the season was strictly focused on winning the championship. It just so happened that it had to come through New York.”
Favre to have MRI
Brett Favre will have an MRI some time this week to address his supposed shoulder injury. “It’s been better,” Favre said of his shoulder. Favre said that he should know more in the coming days. “It’s easy to make excuses,” he said. “I’m sure that during the course of the year that there were some throws that I thought I could make but I didn’t. We’ll know more tomorrow.” He also said that he’s undecided about his future. “The obvious choice would be a quick decision based on what’s happened,” Favre said.
EXCLUSIVE GAME PHOTOS! For the largest exclusive Jets - Dolphins gallery of game photos anywhere on the internet: CLICK HERE