NFL Nation: Dolphins-Jets 110109

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

A few days ago, I asked readers to submit their votes for the most absurd AFC East outcome through the first half of 2009.

 
 AP Photo/Mike Groll
 The ugly Buffalo-Cleveland game in Week 5 was a tough loss for Bills fans to endure.
While the comments section beneath that blog quickly turned into a trash-talking session between New York Jets and Miami Dolphins fans, a few readers actually attempted to make cases for the game they felt was supremely ridiculous.

The most compelling cases were made for the Week 5 disaster between the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

That catastrophe deserved to end in a tie, but the Browns won 6-3 thanks to a muffed punt deep in Bills territory in the final minutes. Browns quarterback Derek Anderson completed 2 of 17 passes for 23 yards. His 11.8 percent completion percentage was the second-worst for a winning quarterback since the NFL-AFL merger.

Coming in second was the Indianapolis Colts' 27-23 victory over the Dolphins in Week 2. The Colts became the first team since time of possession became an official stat in 1970 to win while holding the ball for less than 15 minutes. The Colts ran only 35 plays.

Here are some of the better submissions on the subject:

Jesse in Omaha wrote into the AFC East mailbag that the Browns-Bills game "was the lowest point I've had as a fan in a long time. Even if I were a Jets fan during the loss to the lowly Bills, at least I could stand by the fact that the opposing team tried to win the game. I'm not convinced Cleveland wanted to beat Buffalo that day."

In the comments section, glui8 declared the Browns-Bills was, "hands down, the most absurd result. Not only was it the worst football game I've ever seen played, whether it be Pop Warner, high school, college or pro, but the losing team (and this is the reason I'm picking it as the most absurd) got beat by a quarterback that completed two, yes, two passes for a whopping total of 23 yards. THAT IS ABSURD and, in my opinion, is way worse than any of the other games nominated."

DolflyerpacerV316 added: "Gotta be the Browns-Bills game. Seriously, they lost to the Browns? Who does that? How they only scored three on the Browns is the first mystery, but losing to them? That just defines absurd!"

Also in the comments section, mrf042579 weighed in: "I'm going to have to vote for the Colts-Dolphins game. As a Bills fan, I am tempted to vote for any of their games, but in all honesty, how do you lose a game when your opponent runs 35 plays and has the ball less than 15 minutes?"

There was no doubt in stevejdolphin's mind: "It was easily the Dolphins-Colts game. I watched that game, and the way the Dolphins completely controlled the pace of the game while their offense was on the field was incredible. This also needs to be put in perspective with all the coaching changes the Colts had in the off-season. This was the second week of the season, and the Colts had struggled the week before against the Jaguars. They didn't have their second-best receiver in Anthony Gonzalez. For Peyton Manning to pull out a win with everything stacked against him is impossible. It happened and it was without a doubt the most absurd AFC East result."

SportsFan1236 made the case for another game, going with the Dolphins frittering a 21-point first-half lead against the Saints: "They went from dominant to dominated. Sorry, but that was the most pathetic loss of the year. To lose a game in a final minutes is bad, but to lose your momentum and such a huge lead right before half is horrible. Could have beat one of the best teams, if not the best team, in the league and choked it away."

To refresh your memories, here are the thumbnails from the other runners-up:

Week 1: Patriots 25, Bills 24. The Bills don't trail for almost 59 minutes, but Leodis McKelvin fumbles a kickoff inside the final two minutes, setting up Tom Brady with a short field. Brady throws his second touchdown in a span of 1:16 to escape with a dramatic victory.

Week 4: Saints 24, Jets 10. The Jets' offense gives up more points than it scores and more points than its defense allows. The Saints score touchdowns on two of Mark Sanchez's four turnovers.

Week 6: Bills 16, Jets 13 (OT). The Bills allow 318 rushing yards, second-most in Jets history. Thomas Jones runs for the most yards of his career, setting a Jets record. His 210 yards are the fifth most in a defeat since the merger. But the Jets throw six interceptions, five of them by Sanchez.

Week 7: Saints 46, Dolphins 34. The Dolphins hold a 21-point lead for the first 29 minutes of the game but collapse the rest of the way, giving up 24 points in the fourth quarter to become the first team in 22 years to blow a 21-point lead and lose by at least a dozen.

Week 8: Dolphins 30, Jets 25. A sublime Jets defense holds the Dolphins to 104 total yards (third fewest in franchise history) and 1.9 yards per pass attempt. The Dolphins score one offensive touchdown, but two Ted Ginn kickoff returns and a Jason Taylor fumble return -- all in the third quarter -- make the difference.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Miami Dolphins linebacker Jason Taylor, exultant over collecting a fumble and returning it 48 yards for a touchdown Sunday against the New York Jets, looked for the appropriate way to express himself.

Taylor greeted his trailing teammates then spun and fired the ball at the Jets logo on the wall behind the end zone.

 
 Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE
 Jason Taylor's Dolphins have two wins over the Jets this season.
"To score a touchdown in New York against the Jets in the last time I'll be in the hellhole they call a stadium up there before they get rid of it and move to the new one," Taylor said, "it was outstanding."

Taylor delivered that quote in an interview scheduled to air Friday on Sirius NFL Radio.

Taylor's distaste for the Jets and their fans is well-known. In the spring, when he was discussing the possibilities of which team he might play for in 2009, he said, "it'd be very, very, very difficult" to play for the Jets given all of the strong opinions he'd voiced about them over the years.

Sirius host Adam Schein got Taylor going on the subject again. They discussed the Dolphins knocking off the Jets twice this year after so much trash-talking between the teams.

"The problem I have is with the Jets fans," Taylor said. "It's not really a problem; it's kind of this rivalry that has gone on, and they love to hate me, and I love to hate them, and we've had some fun over the years. They've had a lot of fun at my expense. I've had some fun at their expense at times.

"It's the times like this where you beat them and they just keep talking. They just keep going, and they just don't know when to be quiet.

"You know, I've said a lot of things about Jets fans in the past, and I’m sure at heart they're good people. Most of them are good people. The Giants fans are a different type of people. Just put it that way. There's a little more class on the Giants' side, and some Jets fans take the 'c-l' out of class."

Shein asked Taylor if the Jets talk too much for their own good and perhaps get opponents additionally jacked up to play them.

"We tried to make a concerted effort to stay out of the trash-talking, although we did engage in some, and I know it dated back to the offseason with Channing Crowder and Rex Ryan and their little spat there for a couple of weeks," Taylor said.

"Everyone's going to have a different opinion as to whether or not somebody talks too much. When you lose two games to the same team in a year it is probably time to stop talking a little bit and move on to your next opponent and get ready to play.

"After we beat them the first time here in Miami, they talked about it for a few weeks. Because our games were three weeks apart, they talked about it for a few weeks, and maybe it got in the way and tripped them up against the Buffalo Bills. They lost to the Bills up there in New York.

"So there comes a point where you’ve got to win with class, and you've got to lose with class, and we try to do that. We're not perfect. We do engage in some of the trash going back and forth, but at the end of the day we have two wins, and I think that gives us a little more reason to talk."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Nowhere else in sports have stats been more irrelevant than in the AFC East, where illogical verdicts have been rendered on a near-weekly basis.

The Miami Dolphins have had their share but came out ahead for a change Sunday by gaining 104 yards in a victory over the New York Jets, just the latest in a growing collection of incredible results relative to the box score.

There have been enough of these crazy outcomes to put them up for a vote. Take a look at the seven candidates below and then submit your vote and your reasoning in the comments section. I will tally them up and compile the most compelling arguments for a blog entry later in the week that reveals your pick for the most absurd game through the first half of the 2009 season.
 
 Geoff Burke/US Presswire
 There have been several outcomes in the AFC East this season, including the Jets’ Week 6 loss to the Bills, that defied statistical probability.


Not sure if this explains anything, but I attended six of the seven games.

Week 1: Patriots 25, Bills 24. The Bills don't trail for almost 59 minutes, but Leodis McKelvin fumbles a kickoff inside the final two minutes, setting up Tom Brady with a short field. Brady throws his second touchdown in a span of 1:16 to escape with a dramatic victory.

Week 2: Colts 27, Dolphins 23. The Colts run only 35 offensive plays because the Dolphins hold the ball for an amazing 45:07. But the Colts average an obnoxious 10.7 yards per snap and 12.3 yards per pass attempt, becoming the first team to win with a recorded time of possession of less than 15 minutes.

Week 4: Saints 24, Jets 10. The Jets' offense gives up more points than it scores and more points than its defense allows. The Saints score touchdowns on two of Mark Sanchez's four turnovers.

Week 5: Browns 6, Bills 3. Browns quarterback Derek Anderson starts, plays the entire game and completes two passes for 23 yards. His 11.8 completion percentage is the second-worst since the NFL-AFL merger for a winning quarterback with at least 15 attempts.

Week 6: Bills 16, Jets 13 (OT). The Bills allow 318 rushing yards, second-most in Jets history. Thomas Jones runs for the most yards of his career, setting a Jets record. His 210 yards are the fifth most in a defeat since the merger. But the Jets throw six interceptions, five of them by Sanchez.

Week 7: Saints 46, Dolphins 34. The Dolphins hold a 21-point lead for the first 29 minutes of the game but collapse the rest of the way, giving up 24 points in the fourth quarter to become the first team in 22 years to blow a 21-point lead and lose by at least a dozen.

Week 8: Dolphins 30, Jets 25. A sublime Jets defense holds the Dolphins to 104 total yards (third fewest in franchise history) and 1.9 yards per pass attempt. The Dolphins score one offensive touchdown, but two Ted Ginn kickoff returns and a Jason Taylor fumble return -- all in the third quarter -- make the difference.
AP Photo/Peter Morgan
Dolphins return man Ted Ginn gashed the Jets for 299 return yards Sunday.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- In an orange-and-aqua streak, Ted Ginn bolted up the right sideline in front of his whooping, towel-waving teammates. Not once, but twice he ran from goal line to goal line, leaving New York Jets defenders and the critics singed by his afterburners.
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Ginn became the first player in NFL history to run the length of the field for touchdowns twice, darting 100 and 101 yards on back-to-back kickoff returns in the third quarter to propel the Dolphins past the Jets, 30-25.

In their locker room all week, the Miami Dolphins embraced Ginn in a show of support. The besieged receiver lost his starting job for costly drops in last week's loss to the New Orleans Saints. He called it the worst game of his career and the days to follow one of the toughest weeks of his life.

On Sunday at the Meadowlands, the Dolphins were hugging him a little tighter out of gratitude.

Out of the offensive lineup, Ginn contributed the only way the coaching staff permitted.

"He was down the last couple weeks," Dolphins outside linebacker Joey Porter said. "Then it comes down to not being in the game like he wants to be.

"Two big plays like that will bring you out of the doghouse in a hurry."

Ginn helped the Dolphins steal a game they probably had no business winning. Miami is now 3-4 overall, 3-0 against AFC East opponents.

"Sometimes, things just don't make sense," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "Statistically, this game is not going to look close."

The Jets (4-4) outgained the Dolphins in yards from scrimmage 378-104, the third-fewest yards the Dolphins have gained in team history -- win or lose.

The Dolphins received the ball to start the second half and still ran just three offensive plays in the third quarter. Dan Carpenter kicked as many extra points as the Dolphins ran plays. Sandwiched in between Ginn's kickoff returns, outside linebacker Jason Taylor returned a fumble 48 yards for his ninth career defensive touchdown and Davone Bess fumbled a punt.

"They were hungry on defense," Dolphins left guard Justin Smiley said. "They talked a lot of smack and did a nice job. They backed it up.

"Thank goodness our defense came to play and Ted Ginn did his thing."

Ginn has been the source of ridicule since the moment Miami drafted him ninth overall in 2007. He's symbolic of the failed Cam Cameron era, generally viewed as a wasted opportunity. He was projected as no better than a No. 2 receiver. Who takes a return specialist with the ninth pick?

Dolfans begged the front office to draft Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, but even if management wanted to address another position, prospects still on the board included future Pro Bowlers Patrick Willis, Marshawn Lynch and Darrelle Revis.

But Dolfans got Ginn, and they've been mostly dissatisfied ever since. He was dazzling on returns at Ohio State. It's what he did best, but he couldn't even keep that job.

Ginn occasionally flashed his thrilling play-making ability. He scorched Revis for a long touchdown in Week 5. But Ginn also elicited boos for dropping catchable passes and scurrying out of bounds to avoid contact.

Dolphins coach Tony Sparano apparently had seen enough drops and benched him in favor of a fellow Buckeye, rookie Brian Hartline.

Had original return man Patrick Cobbs not suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Jets three weeks ago, Ginn might not have been on the field much at all against the Jets. He had one pass thrown his way all afternoon.

"This was probably one of the toughest weeks I've ever experienced playing football," Ginn said. "Last week was one of the toughest games I ever had, the worst game of my career."

Ginn bobbled a pass three plays into the second half against the Saints. Darren Sharper pounced on it and returned the interception for a game-changing touchdown.

A photo in this week's Sports Illustrated showed Ginn had hustled back into the play and stripped Sharper at the 1-yard line. The ball bounced out of the end zone and should have been a touchback, giving the Dolphins the ball on their own 20. But the touchdown stood, and Ginn would have to wait a week for vindication.

Ginn conceded that losing his job to Hartline was a wakeup call.

"Me not being in that starting lineup hurt me deep down inside," Ginn said. "I just wanted to be able to make plays however I can make plays. Nobody said you have to be a starter to make plays.

"Being a big-play guy, a player that started when he was so young, to not be a starter really hurt."

Ginn's first return was pure speed. He ran up the middle for a piece and then bolted up the right sideline. He was a blur. The only contact he felt came from three diving defenders slapping in vain at his ankles.

At the end of the third quarter, after Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez cut the Dolphins' lead to four points with a brilliant fake handoff and touchdown run, the Jets made the mistake of kicking to Ginn again.

"We have a lot of faith in our coverage," Ryan said. "We're one of the best coverage teams in the league. We thought we had a good plan."

Ginn made them look foolish. He fielded the kick a yard deep and ran up the right hashmarks, then dashed to the left and came to a dead stop at the 15-yard line.

"I'm like a mouse trapped in a corner," Ginn said. "You always wonder how that mouse gets out."

He sidestepped to the left to dodge Larry Izzo, then to the left to avoid Ryan Fowler.

"I really felt like I was trapped," Ginn said. "I tried to use what I have as far as my feet, play off my blocks. My motive was to get to the outside. Once I get that opening and turn on them burners, I'm gone."

In a whoosh, he was. Ginn found an opening and exploded, untouched the rest of the way.

Ginn is the eighth player to return two kicks in the same game, but the first to go 100 yards or more on both of them. His 299 kick return yards for the entire game -- no, the Jets didn't kick away from him -- rank second all-time, five yards behind Tyrone Hughes (Saints vs. Rams) in 1994.

Ginn's return average of 49.8 yards is the highest in NFL history for players who fielded at least five kickoffs.

"You have a couple bad games, they'll throw you away in this league," Porter said. "That's just how it goes. Everybody loves a guy when he makes plays, but as soon as you have a bad week or two, then they hate you.

"It'll be exciting to see everybody get back on the bandwagon and holler about how great he is."

Porter should know. He has been there before. Porter said he wants to see Ginn build from this, not merely assume that one sensational game will be good enough to silence the critics for good.

For now, though, the Dolphins can be happy he responded.

"Some people, they rise up. Some people, they don't," Sparano said. "Teddy rose up."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Rex Ryan can't believe his team lost to the Miami Dolphins.

Not once, but twice.

The Dolphins backed up their Week 5 victory over the New York Jets by beating them again Sunday at the Meadowlands. The Dolphins won despite gaining their third-fewest yards in team history and the Jets' defense allowing their fourth-fewest ever.

The Jets had the ball for eight more minutes than the Dolphins and out-gained them 378-104. The Dolphins averaged 2.0 yards a play, 1.9 yards per pass attempt. On seven Wildcat plays, the Dolphins gained 6 yards. Only one play went for more than a yard.

The Jets recorded six sacks, limiting the Dolphins to 52 net yards passing.

"It stinks," Jets coach Rex Ryan said of being swept. "That's the truth. We totally outplayed them, but got beat."

Then Ryan delivered a pointed comment.

"I'd rather be in their locker room with a win than here," Ryan said, "even though I'd rather be in this one moving forward.

"We have a better record right now, so I'll still take this locker room."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Miami Dolphins refuse to fade away, and the New York Jets can't get their stuff together.

In a result that certainly made New England Patriots fans happy, the AFC East standings were further muddled Sunday, when the Dolphins beat the Jets 30-25 at the Meadowlands.

The Jets could have pulled within a half game of the Patriots with a victory. Instead, they are .500, while the Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, who lost Sunday, each have three wins.

The Dolphins scored only one offensive touchdown, a 5-yard touchdown reception for Joey Haynos in the fourth quarter.

Technically, those were the winning points, but three other touchdowns were the difference-makers, turning the tide in third quarter from a game the Jets seemed to be in control of at halftime despite a 3-3 score.

Ted Ginn, who lost his gig as a starting receiver because he couldn't hold onto the ball, made his presence felt in another way. With utility back and returner Patrick Cobbs out for the season, Ginn has been returning kicks the past few games. He might not ever lose that job after Sunday's display.

Ginn streaked two kickoffs back for touchdowns in the third quarter. The first went for 100 yards, but the second was even more dazzling. He juked several Jets before bolting up the sideline again for 101 yards.

Dolphins outside linebacker Jason Taylor added another dramatic touchdown in the third quarter, recovering a fumble in stride and running it 48 yards.

One would think monster plays such as those would be enough to win comfortably, but the Jets' drive inside the Dolphins' 10-yard line inside the final two minutes. Mark Sanchez sailed a pass incomplete on fourth down.

Sanchez had a good afternoon. He completed 20 of 35 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also ran in for a score.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- I'll bet Ted Ginn will be happy to speak after this game.

  Ginn
The beleaguered Miami Dolphins receiver and return man slithered out of the locker room after last week's droptastic performance against the New Orleans Saints. He ducked reporters a few more days beyond that.

But I have a feeling he'll be downright chatty after returning two kickoffs for touchdowns in the third quarter against the New York Jets at the Meadowlands. His second score put the Dolphins ahead 24-13.

Ginn brought both back up the right sideline, in front of his Dolphins teammates. The first was for 100 yards, the second for 101.

Ginn has struggled to catch the ball lately and lost his spot in the Dolphins' starting lineup Sunday. He was replaced by Brian Hartline.

And here's another thing to keep in mind: Had original kick returner Patrick Cobbs not suffered a season-ending knee injury three weeks ago, Ginn probably wouldn't have been returning kicks, either.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Through two quarters at the Meadowlands, the New York Jets have out-adjusted the Miami Dolphins in a game that's tied at 3.

We'll see who makes the better modifications at halftime, where the Jets are honoring legendary tackle Winston Hill, an eight-time AFL All-Star. Hill will be a member of the inaugural class for the Jets' Ring of Fame when the new stadium opens next year.

Hill just told the crowd "The second half is going to belong to us," and aside from the score, the first half has gone quite well for the Jets.

Three weeks after the Dolphins stampeded their way to a 31-27 victory, the Jets' defense has been formidable in the rematch.

Miami's high-wattage Wildcat has looked as powerful as a night light. The Wildcat has been engulfed, generating negative yardage. Overall, Ronnie Brown has six carries for 11 yards. Ricky Williams has three attempts for 3 yards.

The Dolphins also are struggling on third downs. They went three-and-out on each of their first three possessions and are 1 for 8 on third-down conversions.

New York almost certainly won't rush for 300 yards a third straight week, but Thomas Jones has 12 carries for 49 yards. Rookie back Shonn Greene, coming off his big breakout game, has five carries for 19 yards.

Last time they played, the Dolphins eliminated Jets tight end Dustin Keller from the game. He had zero catches. But the Jets got him involved early Sunday. Keller has a game-high four catches for 21 yards at halftime.

The biggest highlights for Miami have been produced by safety Gibril Wilson, who has had a rough season, especially with missed tackles, and has conceded some snaps to rookie Chris Clemons.

But Wilson has recorded the two biggest hits of the afternoon, both on Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. Wilson detonated him as he threw in the first quarter and got a sack on a another safety blitz in the second quarter.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

The New York Jets have missed Jerricho Cotchery.

"When J-Co was at practice the other day," Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. "I got a warm, fuzzy feeling."
 Cotchery


For the first time since the Jets acquired Braylon Edwards three weeks ago, their top three receivers will be healthy and available Sunday against the Miami Dolphins at the Meadowlands.

Cotchery played in Edwards' first Jets appearance but essentially was a non-factor because of a hamstring injury. Cotchery caught one pass for 4 yards in a shootout loss to the Dolphins in Land Shark Stadium. Mark Sanchez targeted him twice.

Cotchery was inactive for the past two games, an overtime defeat to the Buffalo Bills and a shutout victory over the Oakland Raiders. But he still leads the Jets with 24 receptions for 360 yards and one touchdown.

"It's obviously always nice to see him out there," Schottenheimer said. "Matchup problems are the biggest thing. Jerricho's probably had the longest tenure in the system. ... We can move him around anywhere. We can put him in a bunch of different spots.

"You put the two guys [Cotchery and Edwards] on opposite sides and that creates problems. You have Dustin [Keller] inside. There is a confidence level in his ability to make plays and win one-on-one matchups. He's a terrific player that we are very happy to have back. He's champing at the bit."

Even with Cotchery back, head coach Rex Ryan doesn't see quicksilver third receiver David Clowney being marginalized in the offense.

"I don't think that’s going to happen anymore," Ryan said of Clowney's hit-or-miss involvement. "I think there's a lot of trust now. Our coaches believe that he's going to be where he's supposed to be. David is getting the mental part down.

"Obviously, he has the physical tools. David gives you a weapon that if you want to just play man-free coverage or single-high safety, then he can blow the roof off it. He's proven that. That's going to help us."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

It's not unheard of for a team to start rookies at both cornerback spots.

But it's usually not a harbinger of success.

Miami Dolphins rookies Vontae Davis and Sean Smith are expected to start at cornerback Sunday when they play the New York Jets at the Meadowlands.
 Davis
 Smith


The Dolphins aren't inserting rookies at such critical defensive positions by choice. Top cornerback Will Allen went down with a knee injury in Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints and is done for the season.

Miami coach Tony Sparano was asked Wednesday if he could recall ever going into a game with two first-year starting cornerbacks.

"I can't recall," Sparano replied. "I really can't. Thanks. You just cost me a couple of hours of sleep."

Miami, however, isn't turning over the jobs to a couple of greenhorns. Both are top draft choices with bright futures. Smith, a second-round pick, has started all year. Davis, a first-rounder, has seen considerable action in sub packages and special teams.

"I don't recall being in this situation with two young corners," Sparano said, "but I will say this: I really like their makeup, what they are all about and what they bring to the table for our team.

"I have said all along that there would be growing pains and bumps in the road. We have been putting them right out there. So this isn't new. ... I wouldn't expect that they would be big eyed or any of those things."

It's difficult to compile a definitive list of teams that have started rookies at both cornerback positions for an extended period. As Elias Sports Bureau points out, records aren't always detailed enough to be sure. For instance, a player might be listed vaguely as a defensive back in the starting lineup as opposed to a safety, cornerback or nickel back.

But I have put together a quick list of rookie cornerback tandems. To jog my memory, I used a subscription service that searches archives of major newspapers and magazines.

I didn't include duos such as Jason McCourty and Ryan Mouton, who've started two games together for the Tennessee Titans this year, including that 59-0 loss to the New England Patriots. I looked for combos that lasted a little longer.

You'll notice the records aren't always disastrous, but it helps to have Joe Montana.

2008 Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): left corner Brandon Carr, 16 starts; right corner Brandon Flowers, 13 starts.

2005 Tennessee Titans (4-12): left corner Reynaldo Hill, 10 starts; right corner Pacman Jones, 13 starts.

2002 Detroit Lions (3-13): left corner Andre Goodman, six starts; right corner Chris Cash, 12 starts.

2001 New York Giants (7-9): left corner Will Allen, 12 starts; right cornerback Will Peterson, five starts.

2000 San Francisco 49ers (6-10): left corner Ahmed Plummer, 14 starts; right corner Jason Webster, 10 starts.

1997 Lions (9-7, wild card): left corner Bryant Westbrook, 14 starts; right corner Kevin Abrams, four starts. A quote from Lions coach Bobby Ross before Westbrook and Abrams started against Dan Marino: "I could sit and think about it and not sleep at night, but I'm not going to do that. I've got to sleep."

1986 49ers (10-5-1, first in NFC West): left corner Tim McKyer, 16 starts; right corner Don Griffin, 15 starts.

1981 49ers (13-3, Super Bowl champs): left corner Ronnie Lott, 16 starts; right corner Eric Wright, 16 starts.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott is making plans with bad intentions for the Miami Dolphins.

When the Dolphins visit the Meadowlands on Sunday, it will be the season's first AFC East rematch. The Dolphins scored a sweet victory over the Jets three weeks ago on "Monday Night Football."
Scott

Scott wants revenge, particularly on a couple of Dolphins offensive linemen he declined to name but accused of playing dirty.

"I got a couple linemen that I got some payback for," Scott said on "Barking With Bart," his weekly show on NewYorkJets.com.

"This is one of those types of games you hit anything that's standing around. It doesn't matter who it is, what their involvement is in the play. Anybody standing around, they're getting hit."

Scott, a free-agent acquisition who spent his career with the Baltimore Ravens, is making his second pass through the AFC East, and he obviously has an aversion to the Dolphins.

"Right now, I'm starting to learn this division and figure out who to hate," Scott said. "That's been the toughest thing for me, adjusting [to the AFC East]. I don't know who to hate. I don't know what players to hate. You only get that by playing against the guys a couple times.

"I got a couple guys I want to pick out, a couple guys I got some payback for. That's the beauty of this. I'm kind of figuring out how players play, what they do, what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are and when they take a dirty shot, how they like to do it and how I'm going to respond to it."

The Jets suffered a tough defeat in Land Shark Stadium, their first of the season and the second "L" in a three-game losing streak.

In a five-touchdown fourth quarter, the Dolphins scored three of them. The decisive blow came with six seconds left on the clock, when Ronnie Brown took their 16th Wildcat snap of the game and darted into the end zone from 2 yards out.

"This is about us, our defense, getting our swagger back," Scott said. "They took it from us. They took our mojo, so to speak. It's time for us to get our redemption. I look forward to coming back and having a better showing."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

New York Jets all-purpose weapon Leon Washington can do it all. He's the Sammy Davis Jr. of the gridiron.

For you youngsters out there who don't know who Sammy was, just think Justin Timberlake but with a scotch and soda cradled in the same fingers as a lit cigarette. Sammy could sing, dance, act and bring the funny.
 Washington


Washington was the Jets' most diversified star performer. As Newsday columnist Bob Glauber pointed out in Tuesday's column, Washington's loss will hurt the Jets in so many ways. He ran, caught, returned punts, returned kickoffs, operated the direct-snap Seminole package and probably could do a mean rendition of "Mr. Bojangles." But not with a busted leg.

"Maybe three or four guys have to replace him because he's so versatile," Jets coach Rex Ryan said.

The Jets on Tuesday signed one of those stand-ins, welcoming back old friend Justin Miller to return kicks and add some depth at defensive back.

The Jets placed Washington on season-ending injured reserve and used the roster spot for Miller, a 2005 second-round pick and 2006 Pro Bowler they released last year after he was hobbled by a bum toe. Miller joined the Oakland Raiders, and in seven games returned two punts for touchdowns.

Miller played one game for the Raiders this year, but was let go.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

The New York Jets are out for some Wildcat revenge.

 
 Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
 Ronnie Brown ran for 74 yards and two scores in the Jets-Dolphins game earlier this month.
Jets outside linebacker Calvin Pace was incredulous after the Miami Dolphins ran riot with the Wildcat three weeks ago. Pace couldn't believe a self-respecting NFL team would run what he considered to be an absurd offense.

"I can't respect that stuff, all that Wildcat," Pace said at the time. "We're in the NFL. Don't come here with that nonsense."

The Jets will get another crack at stopping it Sunday at the Meadowlands. Pace and his defensive mates are surging after a 38-0 victory over the Oakland Raiders snapped a three-game losing skid that began in Land Shark Stadium.

"There are so many different motivational factors," Pace said Monday, a day after recording three sacks in Oakland. "It's a division opponent, a rival, the way the defense played in the first game. There are so many different ways you can look at it and get motivated.

"It's going to be a tough, physical game, bottom line. Whoever establishes the run and sticks with it is going to probably win. You have two teams that pride themselves in running the ball. Something has to give."

The Jets rushed for 318 yards in Oakland and 316 yards against the Buffalo Bills the week before. No team ever has rushed for 300 yards three straight games, and the last team to have at least 316 run yards in consecutive games was the 1934 Detroit Lions with Ernie Caddel and Dutch Clark.

You know a record is old when a guy named "Dutch" was involved.

But the Jets know they can't simply pound away and win. The Bills beat them in overtime, after all.

The Wildcat must be contained if the Jets have any hope of winning. The Dolphins ran it 16 times for 110 yards and the winning touchdown.

"We put a lot of things into the game plan that we thought was going to destroy the Wildcat," Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis said. "Obviously, it didn’t."

Said Pace: "It's about just stopping it, reading our keys and really getting a lot of hats to the ball, especially with the two real good backs that they have. I don't know if there is a better duo in the league than [Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams]. We really have to go out there and get a lot of hats to the ball and try to get them away from the Wildcat."

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