Sunday, September 26, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Jets 31, Dolphins 23
By Tim Graham
MIAMI -- The New York Jets outlasted the Miami Dolphins 31-23 in a thriller Sunday night at Sun Life Stadium.
What it means: The Jets have shaken off their disappointing opening-night loss and are in first place in the AFC East with two straight divisional victories, and the first over the Dolphins since Rex Ryan took over. The Dolphins also are 2-1, but their defense didn't look as formidable.
Critical call: The Dolphins were one of the most dominant running teams in the NFL last year, but when they got second-and-goal from the 2 in the third quarter, offensive coordinator Dan Henning called two pass plays. Both were incomplete, and the Dolphins had to settle for a field goal.
Hero: For the second straight game, Mark Sanchez looked the part of a franchise quarterback. He was composed all night and spread the ball around, even with Braylon Edwards benched for the entire first quarter. Sanchez never had a three-touchdown game, until last week. Now he has had two in a row. He was 15 of 28 for 256 yards and no interceptions.
Goat: Dolphins cornerback Jason Allen, coming off the greatest game of his pro career, had a rough night. Edwards scorched him on a 67-yard catch and run one play after the Dolphins took a 17-14 lead in the third quarter. Allen committed pass interference while guarding Edwards in the end zone on a third-down play with about two minutes left in the game. The extra set of downs drained more clock.
Big revelation: The Dolphins can throw after all. Chad Henne went into the game with 30 completions and 296 passing yards through two games. Henne was 26 of 44 for 363 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. Brandon Marshall flexed his muscles with 10 receptions for 166 yards and his first Dolphins TD. Davone Bess caught six passes for 86 yards. Brian Hartline had five catches for 84 yards.
Trending: Miami punter Brandon Fields had two punts blocked in the preseason and had another Sunday night. He went into 2009 with zero blocks as a pro in preseason, regular season or the playoffs. Sunday's block by Eric Smith gave New York the ball on Miami's 17-yard line late in the third quarter. Nick Folk eventually kicked a field goal in the fourth quarter to take a four-point lead.
Worthy of note: Jets tight end Dustin Keller didn't have a catch in the second half, but he finally looks like a fixture. In his first two seasons, he would have a big game or make a sensational catch here or there, but he has been Sanchez's go-to guy. In the past two games he has 13 receptions for 213 yards and three touchdowns.
What's next: The Dolphins will host the 2-1 New England Patriots on "Monday Night Football." The Jets will head to Orchard Park to play the winless Buffalo Bills.