Jets Out-Slug Dolphins 31-23 In Prime Time
MIAMI (AP) – There were cheers for LeBron James and jeers for Jason Taylor.
And for Braylon Edwards? Stunned silence.
Edwards began the game in the doghouse but was soon dancing in the end zone, celebrating a 67-yard touchdown catch that helped the New York Jets beat the Miami Dolphins 31-23 on Sunday night.
Mark Sanchez threw three touchdown passes for the second week in a row, and the Jets forged a three-way tie atop the AFC East with the Dolphins and Patriots. All are 2-1.
Brandon Marshall had 166 receiving yards and a score for Miami, but Edwards made the night’s biggest grab. Benched briefly because of a drunken-driving arrest, he caught a short pass, juked cornerback Jason Allen to the ground and sprinted untouched to the end zone to put New York ahead to stay.
“The biggest thing I can say about this week is that I really am glad that I have teammates and an organization like the Jets,” Edwards said. “They’ve been very supportive, been there for me and they’ve allowed me to have a better week than maybe somewhere else.”
Drew Coleman’s fourth-down interception in the end zone with 27 seconds left sealed the win.
The capacity crowd included Miami Heat newcomer James, who wore a Florida Marlins cap. Fans roared when he was shown on the video scoreboard, while they booed Taylor, playing against the Dolphins for the first time after 12 seasons with Miami.
Taylor drew hoots when he represented his new team for the coin toss, and again when he sacked Chad Henne in the first period.
“They booed, and I smiled,” Taylor said.
At the end of the game, Jets coach Rex Ryan helped soak Taylor by dumping a bucket of sideline refreshment on him.
The victory capped an emotional week for Taylor, and a tumultuous one for Edwards. The star receiver was arrested in Manhattan around 5 a.m. Tuesday and apologized the next day.
The Jets decided to suspend him for one quarter.
“It was obviously not the situation I want to be in,” Edwards said. “But I was there supporting my team. I was there for every play, watching and knowing what it was, up and cheering guys on. I was just being the best teammate I could be.”
His only other catch was also a big one – a 20-yarder on third and 10 to keep alive the touchdown drive that put the Jets up 31-23 with 1:55 left. That score came on 1-yard run by LaDainian Tomlinson.
The Dolphins then drove 64 yards to the 5 with 34 seconds remaining, but Henne’s fourth-down pass was deflected by Eric Smith and intercepted by Coleman.
“We kept fighting at the end,” Henne said. “Sad how it turned out.”
Smith also blocked a punt to set up a field goal.
Miami rallied from a 14-0 deficit with help from Marshall, whose 10 catches included his first touchdown for the Dolphins. They opened the second half with a 6-minute, 73-yard drive capped by Henne’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Marshall on third down.
That put Miami ahead for the only time, 17-14.
The Jets needed just 18 seconds to regain the lead. Edwards caught a pass near the sideline, then sprinted the final 55 yards untouched after Allen went sprawling.
“Not a good feeling,” Allen said. “My job is to not let him catch any balls, and he caught the ball.”
It was Edwards’ longest reception since joining New York last year.
“All week we said we just want to make plays after the catch,” he said. “Anybody can throw a deep ball. For us, we just wanted yards after the catch. It was a situation where I caught it outside and Jason slipped, and I was able to go the distance.”
The Dolphins gave up only two touchdowns in their first two games, but the Jets took the opening possession and marched 72 yards for a TD. Sanchez converted two third downs with completions, then hit Dustin Keller with a 24-yard score.
Sanchez hit Keller with a 12-yard touchdown pass to cap a 90-yard drive that put the Jets ahead 14-0.
The early lead helped negate the Dolphins’ potent ground game. Henne threw for a career-high 363 yards, completing 26 of 44 passes, but Ronnie Brown ran for only 54 yards, and Ricky Williams was held to 28.
“This is one of those games where you’ve got to have it,” Marshall said. “It was a fun atmosphere to play in. The crowd was awesome, and I’m disappointed we couldn’t get them the win.”
Notes: Williams fumbled twice. The Dolphins recovered one, and the other was overturned by a replay review. … An interception by Allen in the fourth quarter was also overturned on review. … The Jets had nine more penalties, giving them 29 this season.
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