East Rutherford, NJ – Matt Moore came off the bench to throw for 131 yards and a touchdown, and the Miami Dolphins dominated on defense and special teams en route to a convincing 30-9 rout of the rival New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.
Moore replaced Ryan Tannehill after the rookie first-round pick injured his left quadriceps on a sack by New York's Calvin Pace during the Dolphins' second drive and completed 11-of-19 passes without a turnover. He received plenty of support from a defense that sacked Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez four times and came up with two takeaways as Miami (4-3) registered its third straight win following a 1-3 start.
The Dolphins also got a touchdown from Olivier Vernon on a blocked punt in building a commanding 20-0 halftime lead, while Daniel Thomas and Anthony Fasano each had scores to help Miami avenge a 23-20 home overtime loss to the Jets in Week 3.
"It was a team victory in every regard," said Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. "All three phases contributed to the win and I thought our guys came out ready to play after the bye week. We got off to a fast start and there were a lot of positives out there."
Sanchez finished 28-of-54 for 283 yards with one touchdown and one interception for New York (3-5), which fell into last place in the AFC East with its second division defeat in a row. Ex-Dolphin Clyde Gates posted career bests of seven catches and 82 receiving yards in the setback, while Shonn Greene rushed for 77 yards on 15 carries.
"To say I never saw this coming is an understatement," Jets head coach Rex Ryan remarked. "You have to give Miami a lot of credit. They played much better than we did, especially earlier in the game."
Tannehill did not return after landing awkwardly on Pace's hit just over five minutes into the contest and made good on just 2-of-5 throws for 18 yards before exiting.
As it turned out, Miami didn't need its prized youngster after excelling in other phases.
The rookie did march the Dolphins 63 yards in nine plays on the game's opening possession, highlighted by a 19-yard run by Reggie Bush that combined with a personal foul penalty on the Jets' Antonio Cromartie for a late hit out of bounds, brought Miami to the New York 33-yard line.
Tannehill fired a 12-yard pass to Brian Hartline on the next play, but the Jets would hold inside the red zone and force a Dan Carpenter 33-yard field goal that gave Miami a 3-0 edge.
The Dolphins then caught New York by surprise by successfully executing an onside kick, though Pace's third-down sack of Tannehill prevented Miami from capitalizing.
Miami's special teams would come up big later on, though. Jimmy Wilson broke free and blocked Robert Malone's punt near the goal line, with the ball bouncing right into Vernon's hands for a 3-yard touchdown with 3:59 left in the opening quarter.
Just over two minutes later, Sanchez was blind-sided on a corner blitz from Nolan Carroll and lost a fumble that the Dolphins' Paul Soliai pounced on at the New York 32. Consecutive completions by Moore to Davone Bess and Hartline led to a 1st-and-goal, and Miami cashed in on the miscue when Thomas plowed into the end zone from three yards out in the early stages of the second quarter.
The Jets' offense continued to sputter, and Miami extended the margin to 20-0 on Carpenter's 39-yard field goal with just under seven minutes remaining before halftime. The kick was set up by a well-thrown deep ball from Moore to Marlon Moore that resulted in a 37-yard gain.
New York mustered a mere 37 total yards and two first downs over its first six drives, but was finally able to get something going near the end of the half.
Sanchez hit on five of his first six passes on the series, including a 21-yard connection to Greene that put the Jets in field goal range. They would again come away empty, however, when Vernon deflected Nick Folk's 35-yard attempt to preserve Miami's 20-0 lead at the break.
"I thought we had a great effort during the week, probably one of our best weeks of practice," said Sanchez. That's the most frustrating thing. We didn't get it translated to the field today. There were too many mistakes."
New York did get on the scoreboard on its initial touch of the second half, with a 47-yard kick return by Gates and Sanchez's 23-yard strike to Dustin Keller leading to Folk's 38-yard field goal 3:07 into the third quarter.
However, the Dolphins responded with a touchdown on the following drive to pad the margin to 27-3. Marcus Thigpen took the subsequent kickoff 57 yards to the Jets' 40 and Matt Moore delivered a 30-yard pass to Jabar Gaffney before finding Fasano near the left corner of the end zone from four yards out on a third-down play.
"I kind of had to get a couple of plays under my belt," said Matt Moore. Once we got in the swing of things and put some drives together here and there I felt more comfortable. I felt good and a lot of guys on the offense made plays out there today. The two deep balls to Marlon Moore and Jabar Gaffney helped my confidence, and that was a great catch by Marlon."
Bush fumbled at his own 32 on Miami's next possession, but again the Jets failed to take advantage. After moving into the red zone, Sanchez threw into coverage near the goal line and Chris Clemons came up with the interception to thwart a potential comeback bid with 3:45 remaining in the third quarter.
New York did make its first trip into the end zone with 5:47 left to play, with Sanchez capping a 13-play, 94-yard sequence with a 5-yard toss to Chaz Schilens. A two-point try wound up unsuccessful, however, when Sanchez misfired in Keller's direction.
The Jets then lined up for an onsides kick, which Hartline alertly recovered for Miami at the New York 45-yard line. A 13-yard hookup between Matt Moore and Bess enabled Carpenter to knock home his third field goal of the afternoon, a 42-yard shot with 4:30 to go that accounted for the final score.
The victory was Miami's fourth on the road over the Jets in the last five seasons ... Vernon's blocked punt was the first against New York since a Dec. 8, 1984 matchup against Buffalo, a span of 440 straight games ... Jets linebacker Bart Scott had a streak of 119 consecutive games played end when he was held out due to a dislocated big toe. The 11-year veteran's last missed contest was the 2004 regular-season finale, while then a member of the Baltimore Ravens ... New York running back Joe McKnight did not return after aggravating an existing ankle injury on a kickoff return in the second quarter ... The Jets retired former defensive end Dennis Byrd's No. 90 jersey at halftime. Byrd suffered a career-ending broken neck and was temporarily paralyzed in a game against Kansas City on Nov. 29, 1992.