Matt Moore steps in for injured Ryan Tannehill as Dolphins rout Jets 30-9
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Reggie Bush and the Miami Dolphins were over all that trash talking from earlier in the week.
The New York Jets? They were still going at it after the game. But after a week of back-and-forth chatter, the Dolphins settled this one on the field.
And it was no contest.
Matt Moore threw a touchdown pass to Anthony Fasano after stepping in for injured Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins didn't miss a beat, rolling past the New York Jets 30-9 on Sunday for their third straight victory.
"It was very satisfying for us, as good as it gets," Bush said. "We wanted to have the opportunity to jump on them early and we accomplished that. Once we got them down early, I thought that was it."
Olivier Vernon recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown and blocked a field goal, and the Dolphins (4-3) smothered Mark Sanchez and the Jets' offense. They were helped by some hideous play by New York (3-5), which has lost two straight.
Stung by the loss, a few Jets players were still zinging the Dolphins after the game.
"They're not a very clean team," wide receiver Chaz Schilens said. "They're a little cheap."
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie also called Bush "a punk" who showed "his true colors."
As far as the Dolphins are concerned, they'll take all the shots from their AFC East rivals. After all, they got the win and sent the Jets into a bye-week break searching for answers.
"It feels good to do no more talking and feels even better to back it up," Moore said. "Our special teams put us in great situation to win this, but we were ready as soon as we stepped off the bus."
It showed, as Miami raced to a 20-0 lead by midway through the second quarter, and New York couldn't recover.
"To say I never saw this coming is an understatement," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "This one, no question, is a tough one to accept."
New York couldn't get going even with Miami needing to turn to its backup quarterback after Tannehill injured his left knee and quadriceps muscle on a sack by Calvin Pace on the Dolphins' second possession.
Coach Joe Philbin had no immediate word on the severity of the injury, saying Tannehill would be evaluated after the Dolphins arrived home. Moore filled in nicely, though, finishing 11 of 19 for 131 yards after Tannehill was 2 of 5 for 18 yards.
"It always helps having backup come in and perform like that," Bush said, "not missing a beat."
Ryan said the Jets would "empty our tanks" as they tried to sweep the Dolphins for the first time in his four seasons as coach. But Sanchez had a brutal performance, making mistakes throughout, not hitting open receivers at times — and not taking care of the football.
He was 28 of 54 for 283 yards with a touchdown and interception, and was done in late in the opening quarter by a fumble on a sack by Nolan Carroll that the Dolphins turned into a touchdown. He also had the Jets driving while trailing 27-3 in the third quarter, but Chris Clemons intercepted a throw intended for Dustin Keller.
That brought out loud boos and some chants for Tim Tebow by the angry crowd at MetLife Stadium, which had a few thousand empty seats, more than likely because of the threats of the approaching Hurricane Sandy.
"That chanting's B.S. as far as I'm concerned," Schilens said. "Mark's the quarterback."
Ryan said he had no thoughts of switching to Tebow, who had one carry for 2 yards in limited action again. The team also backed Sanchez as the starting quarterback.
"I believe in Mark," Cromartie said. "I believe in the guys we have."
But even the retirement of former defensive end Dennis Byrd's No. 90 jersey couldn't inspire the Jets in this one.
Dan Carpenter kicked a 33-yard field goal less than 4 minutes in. Miami then recovered an onside kick, and although the Dolphins didn't turn it into points, the special teams unit came up big again later in the quarter. Jimmy Wilson blocked Robert Malone's punt and Vernon recovered to make it 10-0.
"We had the punt block on there," Wilson said. "I didn't expect it to be that wide open."
Sanchez turned it over on the Jets' next possession when he was sacked by Carroll and Paul Soliai recovered the fumble at New York's 32. Moore led a six-play drive capped by Daniel Thomas' 3-yard run to make it 17-0.
Even the one area that had been flawless until Sunday failed the Jets. Nick Folk's 35-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Vernon; Folk had opened the season 11 for 11.
"We can't have these mental lapses," Cromartie said.
New York finally got on the scoreboard a few minutes into the second half on Folk's 38-yarder, but the Jets couldn't keep the momentum. Moore connected with Fasano in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown to make it 27-3.
New York got closer on Schilens' 5-yard touchdown catch with 7:20 left. The 2-point conversion failed and the Jets had made too many mistakes and fallen too far behind to mount much of a comeback.
Now, the Jets head into a bye week with plenty of uncertainty — and in last place in the division. Meanwhile, the surging Dolphins kept pace with the New England, remaining a half-game behind the AFC East leaders.
"We all had a job to do," Philbin said. "We didn't want to turn it into a personal affair. It was a big game and it came at a good time, coming off the bye, a divisional game on the road."
NOTES: Cromartie missed a few plays after dislocating his right pinkie early in the first quarter after falling and then getting into it with Bush on the sideline. ... Jets LB Bart Scott had his streak of 119 consecutive games played end because of a toe injury that has bothered him since the last time the teams played in Week 3. ... Byrd, briefly paralyzed 20 years ago in a game against Kansas City, became the fifth former Jets player to have his number retired, joining Joe Namath, Don Maynard, Joe Klecko and Curtis Martin.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL