You would think that after having a jilted return man burn you once for a TD, you’d try a different approach on the next kickoff. Then you add the eternally perplexing J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS into the equation, and you get another result.. Dolphins WR/KR Tedd Ginn Jr, benched as a wideout for his uneven play of late, took it out on the Jets special teams Sunday. Ginn Jr broke the all time record for yards in a quarter by running back two consecutive third quarter kickoffs for TD’s. The Dolphin offense, and their feared Wildcat was on the bench for most of the 3rd as the Dolphins, thaks to Ginn Jr and Jason Taylor fumble recovery for TD, put up 21 points in what was just as a 3-3 game halftime The Jets answered back thanks to a muffed punt, and some timely throws by QB Mark Sanchez.
The heated rivalry turned into an old fashioned Jets Miami classic shootout. In the end though, a 4th down Sanchez prayer with just under two minutes left, raced high and over the head over of a double covered Dustin Keller in the back of the end zone. The loss left the Jets at 4-4, 1-3 in the AFC East, and heading into their bye week light years away from a team that started out 3-0, struck fear in opposing quarterbacks as they rode the magic of the rookie signal caller.
The rivalry heated up in the third quarter with the Jets leading 6-3. Ginn returned the first of two third quarter TDs. The first return of 100 yards was trumped by the second, for 101 yards. A Shonn Greene fumble was also returned by Jason Taylor for a TD. In all, three MIami TDs came in the third quarter while the offense was on the sidelines. The Jets answered both scores though as the snails pace that embodied the game’s first half, began to remind us of those old Ken O BrienDan Marino shootouts from the 80’s, when both clubs would trade scores all day. The first Jet score of the day, a Mark Sanchez TD scamper answered the Taylor return. The second, a great 20 yard catch by WR Braylon Edwards covered like glue, answered the second Ginn Jr return. 24-19 MIAMI. The Jets, though tried to go for two and didn’t make it. It would haunt them the rest of the way. Was it too early to go for two in the late third, to cut the deficit to 3? Many including this reporter thought so.
The Dolphins then went up 30-19 in the start of the fourth on a Chad Nenne rollout toss to Joey Haynos but the Jets answered again. This time a 16 yard Dustin Keller TD. Keller re emerged from a month long slump to the tune of 73 yards and a TD. At 30-25 the Jets, because of the failed first try , were forced to go for two again and failed to convert.
Down 30-25, Gang Green got the ball back with three minutes left and were soon knocking on the door. A brilliant Sanchez to Keller 4th down completion that saw Sanchez first backpeddle then lob a beautiful strike over the Miami defender, left the Jets on the Miami 12 with 2:00 left. Dreams of a comback against their hated rivals ended there however for Gang Green. A third down Dolphin sack left the Jets on the 20, fourth and goal. Sanchez then tried to work the back line of the end zone but Keller was triple teamed as the ball sailed helplessly through the end zone.
“This stings, going into the bye with a loss like this,” said Sanchez after the game. The Jets QB was 20 for 35 for 265 yards and two touchdowns. “As a competitor and as an offense, we thought we were winning that game, no doubt.”
The loss was hard for many Jet faithful to swallow. Holding the vaunted Wildcat formation down to a pedestrian performance couldn’t prevent the Fish from finding other ways to score. For Miami, now 3-4 and headed for a clash with first place 5-2 New England, the win was sweet. Bad feelings have clouded these two teams since the offseason when Dolphins Channing Crowder and Jets coach Rex Ryan exchanged verbal attacks. Before the game Sunday, Jets FS Kerry Rhodes got into a shoving match with some Dolphin players during warmups. Sunday, the Fish got the last laugh, sweeping the season series between the two as a result.
“When you have two teams that really hate each other, that’s going to be your best football,” Miami linebacker Joey Porter admitted. “I wish you could hate every team like you hate your rivals. They brought out our best football.”
The 4-4 Jets get two weeks to think about what has happened to their magical 3-0 start befor etaking on the Jacksonville Jaguars in a must win Nov 15.
Follow TJ Rosenthal on twitter @ thejetreport