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Blocked punt for TD among Jets' many special-teams errors

Miami Dolphins' Olivier Vernon (50) celebrates with teammate

Miami Dolphins' Olivier Vernon (50) celebrates with teammate Jonathan Freeny (59) after returning a blocked punt for a touchdown during the first half. (Oct. 28, 2012) Credit: AP

From the famous last words department: Rex Ryan noted with pleasure last week that no one rushes punter Robert Malone anymore because of the threat posed by personal protector Tim Tebow to run or pass. It was as if the Jets' coach threw down the gauntlet to Dolphins special-teams coach Darren Rizzi.

On the Jets' second punt Sunday at MetLife Stadium, Rizzi occupied Tebow with one rusher and sent defensive back Jimmy Wilson looping up the middle past the backup quarterback to bat Malone's punt into the end zone, where Olivier Vernon recovered the ball for the first touchdown in Miami's 30-9 rout.

"That's inexcusable," Ryan said.

With the Jets heading to their bye week, special-teams coach Mike Westhoff has time to explain that gaffe and other errors by his unit that allowed the Dolphins to dominate.

Earlier, Rizzi sent a message after the Dolphins kicked a field goal on the game's opening drive and recovered an onside kick. The punt block that followed put Miami up 10-0.

"I honestly didn't see it at all," Malone said. "I thought it was clean. They blocked it a little later than usual. The ball was already in the air."

Westhoff and Tebow discussed the play on the sideline, as if there might have been something Tebow could have done.

"I think we are going to have to watch the film and see exactly what happened," Tebow said. "They had a good rush designed. We weren't confused. They used good speed to get around us."

In this case, Miami used Tebow's presence on special teams against the Jets.

"They do a lot of tricks with Tebow, but we wanted to take advantage of Tebow in the regular punt set," Wilson said. "I knew that if Tebow blocked Jonathon Amaya, I would be open for the block.

"That would happen to anybody in the league, not just Tim Tebow. There were two guys coming at him at the same time. He had to take one of them. That's really not his fault."

It didn't stop there. The Dolphins' Marcus Thigpen returned a kickoff 57 yards to set up a touchdown in the third quarter, and Brandon Fields placed four punts inside the Jets' 20, allowing no returns by Jeremy Kerley. The Dolphins also blocked a 35-yard field-goal attempt by Nick Folk in the final minute of the first half.

"You have to give the credit to them," Jets receiver Chaz Schilens said. "But we shot ourselves in the foot with the punt block and some big returns they had."

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