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Monday, September 27, 2010
Jets survive poor defensive performance

By Tim Graham

Jets Defense
The Jets defense gave up 23 points and 436 yards -- including a touchdown to Brandon Marshall.
MIAMI -- The numbers were gaudy, especially for a so-called running team.

The Miami Dolphins threw hither and yon against the New York Jets. Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne passed for the most yards in his pro career. Brandon Marshall had a big day even by his standards. Davone Bess and Brian Hartline inflicted additional damage. Tight end Anthony Fasano scored a touchdown.

The Dolphins, it seemed, could do whatever they wanted through the air.

"Yeah," Jets coach Rex Ryan snapped, "except score when it counted."

On their final play of a grueling Sunday night for the Jets' defenders, they intercepted Henne in the end zone to secure a 31-23 victory in Sun Life Stadium.

After the two-minute warning, the Dolphins drove from their 31-yard line to the doorstep of tying the game. That's where the Jets finally stopped Henne from knifing them. Defensive back Drew Coleman came down with the interception on fourth down with 27 seconds on the clock.

"The pass defense was horrendous," Ryan said, "but we got it done, though. It was a team effort. Clearly, you've got to give credit to their football team. They do a nice job. They had some guys open, made some catches."

For the first time under Ryan, the Jets' offense had to rescue their defense. The defense hadn't allowed more than 17 points in a victory. Before Sunday night, they'd given up more than 14 points and won only twice during the Ryan regime.

"It feels good just to know that we can get their back," said Jets tight end Dustin Keller, who had six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns -- all in the first half. "As great of a defense as they are, occasionally they're going to have a bad game. We just know that we can pull up the slack for them like they've done for us so many times."

The real estate the Jets yielded was frightening. The Dolphins rolled up 436 yards. Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts were the only ones to amass more yards last year, gaining 461 to eliminate the Jets from the postseason.

The most yards the Jets had allowed in a victory were 344 to the San Diego Chargers in the playoffs.

Henne threw for 363 yards himself Sunday night, the most Ryan's defense has given up through the air. Henne found Marshall 10 times for 166 yards and a touchdown. It wasn't the best night for Antonio Cromartie.

Dustin Keller
Dustin Keller led the Jets with 98 yards and two touchdowns.
"They completed a lot more than we expected," Jets safety Jim Leonhard said. "They had it rolling. They got in a good rhythm. It was tough. You don't expect them to throw for that many yards. We weren't making plays as a secondary. They hit us a few times, but we fought to the end."

Henne was particularly sharp on third downs, completing nine of his 14 attempts for 123 yards, six first downs and one touchdown. He converted four third downs of 6 yards or longer, including a 15-yarder and a 10-yarder in the third quarter.

The Dolphins' offense was so effective, on a nine-play, 76-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter, they didn't face any third downs. The possession was aided by rookie cornerback Kyle Wilson's pass interference on a second-and-22 play.

When does Darrelle Revis get back?

The Jets will play the Buffalo Bills next week in Ralph Wilson Stadium. That might sound slightly more difficult than a bye week, but for those who didn't pay attention Sunday, the Bills' offense woke up against the New England Patriots.

The Bills scored one fewer point than the Jets did Sunday. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 247 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

After that, the Jets play host to Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings at the Meadowlands.

The Jets, however, got another strong game out of their offense on a night reminiscent of the great Dan Marino-Ken O'Brien shootouts.

Henne might have recorded the more prolific stats, but Mark Sanchez had the better night: 15-of-28 for 256 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 120.5 passer rating -- and the W.

Sanchez threw for three touchdowns for the first time as a pro last week. Now he's done it twice in a row.

"I remember telling the offense before that sometimes the offense is going to have to pick up the defense," Ryan said. "That'd be what happened today. I told them in the locker room 'You know, I had confidence in our offense, but I don't know I really believed that statement.' "

Asked to elaborate about why he didn't have total faith in his offense, Ryan backed off a little.

"I always knew our offense could play to this level," Ryan said. "I just never thought our defense could play to this level, to be honest with you."