Dolphins trample Jets 30-9
Jets drop second game in row
A swarming Miami Dolphins clamped down on the New York Jets to grab a 30-9 victory as heavy winds blew at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
Olivier Vernon picked up a blocked punt in the end zone and the Dolphins sacked Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez four times.
Backup quarterback Matt Moore threw a touchdown pass in relief of injured starter Ryan Tannehill as the Dolphins (4-3) won their third in a row and remained in the thick of the AFC East and wild card races.
The Jets (3-5) lost their second straight as their playoff hopes took a big hit.
The two teams exchanged plenty of trash talk in the days leading up to the game, but the Dolphins were the ones who wasted little time backing it up.
Reggie Bush, who believed the Jets intentionally tried to hurt him in the first meeting between the teams Sept. 23, raced 19 yards on the Dolphins' fourth play from scrimmage and then goaded Antonio Cromartie into a 15-yard personal foul that helped set up the first of Dan Carpenter's three field goals.
The Dolphins recovered an onside kick following Carpenter's 33-yard field goal, though they could not capitalize. They didn't wait long to make their mark on special teams, though.
Following the Jets' second possession, Jimmy Wilson blocked Robert Malone's punt and Vernon picked it up on the bounce in the end zone to extend the Dolphins' lead to 10-0. It was the first blocked punt returned for a touchdown against the Jets in the regular season since 1984.
The Dolphins set up their next score on defense when Nolan Carroll sacked and stripped the ball from Sanchez late in the first quarter. Jared Odrick recovered and Daniel Thomas ran 3 yards for a touchdown six plays later.
That was more than enough for the Dolphins, even with Tannehill out after suffering quad and knee injuries on a first quarter sack by Calvin Pace. Moore, who started 12 games for the Dolphins last year, showed a deft touch on the deep ball in methodically moving the Dolphins. His 4-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Fasano put the Dolphins up 27-3 in the third quarter.
While the Dolphins succeeded with two quarterbacks, the Jets continued to flounder with Sanchez and Tim Tebow. Sanchez (28 of 54 for 283 yards) threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Chaz Schilens in the fourth quarter but was under pressure all day. He had several passes knocked down and threw a costly interception at the goal line in the third quarter. His struggles led to chants from a rapidly thinning crowd for Tebow, but the popular backup had just one touch on offense.
Notes: The Jets retired the number of former defensive end Dennis Byrd at halftime. Byrd's career ended when he suffered a fractured vertebra during a game against the Chiefs Nov. 29. 1992. Byrd was the Jets' "12th Man" Sunday and delivered a rousing pregame speech after the Jets exited the tunnel. ... Jets linebacker Bart Scott's consecutive games played streak ended at 119 when he was inactive because of a toe injury. ... Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby (elbow) exited the game in the first half but returned. Tackle Tony McDaniel (knee) did not come back after suffering his injury. ... The Dolphins improved to 13-10 immediately following a bye and 1-3 when playing the Jets immediately after a bye.