Tuesday, September 28, 2010
AFC East Week 3 decisive moment
By Tim Graham
In the waning minutes Sunday night, the Miami Dolphins needed a touchdown and had the New York Jets' defense backing up.
The Jets' pass defense spent much of the night on its heels. Now it was in a sagging prevent defense. The Dolphins were down by eight points but were churning up sod.
With 64 seconds left and the ball on the Jets' 41-yard line, Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne threw to Brandon Marshall in front of the bench. A quick toss turned into a big gain when Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie whiffed on the tackle.
Marshall broke up the sideline, thrilling the Sun Life Stadium crowd. Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano pancaked Jets safety Eric Smith at the 20-yard line, but there was one more player to beat.
Jets safety Brodney Pool made the decisive play and perhaps locked down the victory. He danced around the Fasano-Smith pileup and dove to drag down Marshall at the 11-yard line.
"Man, I thought I had enough speed to get there," Marshall said. "I'm kind of mad at myself. We set it up well, and hats off to [Fasano] for getting down field, but I just didn't have enough in my legs to get in the end zone. I'm kicking myself right now."
The next four plays: Henne incompletion, Henne scramble for 1 yard, Henne completion for 5 yards to Ronnie Brown, Henne interception to Drew Coleman. Game over.
The Dolphins still would have needed to make the two-point conversion and had struggled from point-blank range all night. But you never know.
"The tackle he made on the 11-yard line," Jets coach Rex Ryan said, "clearly that's going to be a touchdown if he doesn't make it. Game-saving tackle right there.
"Sometimes when the game is on the line like that, you look for people to step up, and Brodney did."