Flat Jets steamrolled by Dolphins, 30-9
Shonn Greene sat in front of his locker, still in his green and white uniform, with his legs stretched out in front of him.
For more than 15 minutes, the Jets running back stayed in that position, barely saying a word as his teammates headed to the showers. Greene later declined interview requests, but there really was nothing to say.
On a day when they retired Dennis Byrd's No. 90 jersey, the Jets showed no heart, and even less fight, in an embarrassing 30-9 home loss to the Dolphins.
The Jets had hoped to enter the bye week at .500, but instead they have two weeks to stew over the defeat before they play at Seattle Nov. 11.
Rex Ryan searched for answers as he stood behind the lectern. This time there was no anger from the coach. Just genuine shock at how all three phases of his team -- and most notably, Mike Westhoff's heralded special teams -- could have failed so miserably.
The Dolphins' onside kick and recovery less than five minutes into the game was an omen. "To say I never saw this coming is an understatement," Ryan said. "I'm blown away by it."
The Jets (3-5) fell to 2-2 in the AFC East, making their climb up the standings more difficult. And while Mark Sanchez (28-for-54, 283 yards) and the offense struggled, the Dolphins (4-3) made it look easy.
Miami took a 20-0 halftime lead thanks to stout defense and several blunders by the Jets' special teams. Jimmy Wilson blocked a Robert Malone punt and Olivier Vernon recovered in the end zone for a 10-0 lead. Daniel Thomas scored on a 3-yard run early in the second quarter before Dan Carpenter's 39-yard field goal made it 20-0 with 2:26 left in the half. Nick Folk's 35-yard field-goal try in the final minute of the half was blocked, capping the follies by the special teams.
The Jets finally scored 3:07 into the third on Folk's 38-yard field goal, and Chaz Schilens caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez in the fourth.
One thing Ryan said he is certain of is that Sanchez will remain his starting quarterback. Even after the bye. The boos -- and chants for Tim Tebow -- rained down on Sanchez, who was sacked four times. But Sanchez did himself no favors, holding on to the ball for too long and failing to recognize blitzes.
Dolphins backup Matt Moore, on the other hand, completed 11 of 19 for 131 yards and a TD in relief of Ryan Tannehill, who left in the first quarter after he injured his left knee and quadriceps on a sack by Calvin Pace.
After David Harris' forced fumble and recovery by Yeremiah Bell, Sanchez gave the momentum right back to the Dolphins late in the third with a red-zone interception on second-and-11 at the 15.
"Their defense came out and dominated our offense," said cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who called the special teams miscues things "that can't happen."
Cromartie, however, aided the Dolphins in the first quarter, being flagged for unnecessary roughness when he pushed and head-butted Reggie Bush out of bounds.
Cromartie, one of several Jets who engaged in last week's trash-talking, kept it up by calling Bush "a punk" in his postgame interview. But all that chatter was for naught. The Dolphins set out to make the rematch personal, and they succeeded.
Linebacker Aaron Maybin, whose Wednesday comments about Bush helped ignite the rivalry, called the loss "disheartening." Schilens described it as "humiliating." LaRon Landry, another trash-talk participant, said the Jets must use the bye week to figure out "who we want to be as a team. Who you want to be as an individual and how you want to finish things off."
As Cromartie put it: "Either you're going to put up or shut up at the end of the day. And right now, it's time for us to shut up and start putting up."
But talk, as we've come to learn from the Jets, is just that. Each week they preach the importance of fundamentals, execution and playing "Jets football." But they've lost four of their past five games.
Tight end Dustin Keller (seven catches, 67 yards) said the Jets are "a much better team than we displayed out there today." But he said inconsistency remains their Achilles' heel.
Said Keller: "The thing that kills me about us is, when we're playing good football, we're as good as anybody."