- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
- 0 Shares
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J -- The chippiness started right after the opening kickoff.
Five plays in, Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush broke a 19-yard run only to meet a tackle from New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie. The two didn't like each other to start, and when Cromartie head-butted Bush, the pink penalty flag hit the field.
"I didn't lose my composure, I was just telling him that he's a punk," Cromartie said. "That's exactly what he is."
A scrum broke out, the first of a number of scuffles as the Jets got schooled 30-9 at MetLife Stadium entering their bye. Cromartie dislocated his pinkie finger on the play, and afterward he disputed the call -- kind of.
"I didn't head-butt him," Cromartie said. "I pushed him first and then I head-butted him."
As much as the Jets talked leading up to the AFC East rivalry game Sunday, they couldn't get anywhere in the backing-it-up department. After the game from the calm of the Dolphins podium, Bush admitted that the first-half surge and 20-0 halftime lead were extremely gratifying after the buildup.
"It was very satisfying," Bush said. "I'm not gonna lie to you and say we didn't think much about it."
Bush admitted he went over to Jets coach Rex Ryan and started talking, but he said he didn't want to get into the specifics and was ready to move on.
Afterward, Ryan was asked if the "hot sauce" and the hot air had any effect on how well Miami played from the start. But this time, the man who personally called out Patriots coach Bill Belichick before a playoff game was at a loss to talk about how pregame talk can affect a game.
"I don't know what specifically motivated them, or whatever," Ryan said.
Jets wide receiver Chaz Schilens said the talk translated into some questionable contact during the game.
"They're not a very clean team, I would say that," Schilens said. "They're a little cheap as far as I'm concerned."
Clearly, the back and forth between the Jets and the Dolphins has not stopped just because the Dolphins clearly and thoroughly won the game. Although it appears the Dolphins, for one, can sleep well if you listened to a satisfied Mike Pouncey, the Dolphins center who loudly called linebacker Aaron Maybin a "joke" leading up to the game.
"It got real chippy, it was just a lot of animosity," Pouncey said. "The Dolphins and Jets rivalry, it's going to be like that every year we play them. Whether there's somebody talking or not, we're going to go out there and play the same way."
After all the talk, was the win more gratifying?
"It was extra satisfying," Pouncey said. "Just going out there and getting a 'W' for this team. I think our team played a complete game today."
For his part, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez seemed a little taken aback by the impact the chatter had on what took place on the field.
"Apparently it was something bigger than what I thought," Sanchez said.
And it will continue to be, because Cromartie already was adding fuel to the ongoing grudge between himself and Bush.
"He tried to cuss me out," Cromartie said. "But at the end of the day we know his true colors."