EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Rex Ryan was frustrated again, a feeling that's becoming a regular thing for the New York Jets coach.
There was some anger in Ryan's red face, probably some embarrassment, too, while trying to make sense of this latest mess for his team.
"To say I never saw this coming is an understatement," Ryan said after a 30-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. "This one, no question, is a tough one to accept."
Ryan thought the Jets had prepared well and had a good week of practice, coming into the game expecting to "empty our tanks" as the Jets tried to sweep the Dolphins for the first time in his four seasons as coach.
Not this year.
Matt Moore threw a touchdown pass to Anthony Fasano after stepping in for the injured Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins didn't miss a beat, rolling past the Jets for their third straight victory.
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.
"You don't expect it to go like that," right guard Brandon Moore said. "Who does?"
Certainly not his teammates, who head into a bye-week break with plenty of questions and a coaching staff searching desperately for answers.
"It's time for a bye," wide receiver Chaz Schilens said. "It's time for us to regroup, figure out what we're doing wrong and figure out a way to do it better."
The week started with a lot of trash talk as both teams took shots at each other. Stung by the loss, a few Jets players were still zinging the Dolphins after the game.
"They're not a very clean team," Schilens said. "They're a little cheap."
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie also called running back Reggie 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.
"It was very satisfying for us, as good as it gets," said Bush, who was at the heart of most of the trash talk. "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."
Miami raced to a 20-0 lead by midway through the second quarter, and New York couldn't recover.
The Jets couldn't even get going after Miami needed 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 the backup come in and perform like that," Bush said, "not missing a beat."
Sanchez had a brutal performance, making mistakes throughout, not hitting open receivers at times — and not taking care of the football.
You look at some of our losses this year, and we're right there," Sanchez said. "This one got away from us and it's just too bad."
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.
"I'm just ready and willing," Tebow said. "Whenever they call my number, I go out there to help the team and (I'm) not listening to what the crowd is saying."
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.
Sanchez turned it over on the Jets' next possession when he was sacked by Carroll and Paul Soliai recovered the fumble at the New York 32. Moore led an efficient 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.
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.
"You have to give Miami a lot of credit," Ryan said. "I know they were obviously confident coming in here. They played much better than we did, especially earlier in the game."
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 previous 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.
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