After a week of back-and-forth trash talk, the Miami 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.
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 the Jets (3-5), who have lost two straight.
Tannehill injured his left knee and quadriceps muscle on a sack by Calvin Pace on the Dolphins’ second possession. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury, but Moore finished 11 of 19 for 131 yards after Tannehill was 2 of 5 for 18 yards.
Rex 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.
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 Jared Odrick recovered the fumble at New York’s 32. Moore led an efficient six-play drive capped by Daniel Thomas’ 3-yard run to make it 17-0 less.
Carpenter added a 39-yard field goal later in the half to give the Dolphins a 20-0 lead.
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 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 Chaz 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.
Carpenter hit a 42-yarder to cap the scoring, with the stadium mostly empty by that time.
The latest installment of one of the NFL’s best rivalries had some added spice after the teams yapped at each other all week. It started from the first meeting, a 23-20 overtime win by New York, when Ryan said the Jets needed to put “hot sauce” on Reggie Bush — explaining he meant extra attention on the playmaking running back. Bush hurt his knee in the game and took Ryan’s comments to mean the Jets intended to injure him, so he said it was karma that Darrelle Revis was knocked out for the season.
Capping the chippy week, Antonio Cromartie said Bush’s comments about Revis were “unprofessional.”
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.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.