Ted Ginn Jr. had two long kickoff returns for touchdowns in the third quarter, and the Dolphins held off the New York Jets for a 30-25 victory Sunday.
Miami (3-4) swept the two regular-season games after the teams met for the second time in 20 days, capping a week filled with trash talk from both sides in a reignited AFC East rivalry. The bad feelings were evident even before the game, when the Jets’ Kerry Rhodes and a few Dolphins players got into a shoving match during warmups.
And, just like the last time these teams met, the game came down to the wire.
Facing a fourth-and-13 following a sack by Randy Starks with just over a minute remaining, Mark Sanchez scrambled before firing an incomplete pass over an outstretched Dustin Keller in the end zone to seal the loss for the Jets (4-4).
Ginn became the first player to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same quarter since Green Bay’s Travis Williams in 1967. Ginn had returns of 100 and 101 yards against the Jets.
Still, the Jets had a chance in the end after they made it 30-25 on a pretty diving touchdown catch by Keller with 5:52 remaining.
Sanchez connected with Wallace Wright for the 2-point conversion, but it was negated by an illegal shift penalty. Sanchez’s next attempt was way over Jerricho Cotchery, keeping it a five-point game.
After New York’s defense stopped Miami, the Jets had a shot to stun the Dolphins the way they were by Ronnie Brown and the wildcat on Oct. 12. But, Sanchez, who had two touchdown passes, and the offense couldn’t come through in the end.
The story line coming in centered on the Dolphins’ wildcat, but the Jets were able to mostly stuff it this time. The Jets’ defense didn’t allow the offense to do much at all — 104 yards of total offense — but the Dolphins found other ways to beat New York.
After Jay Feely kicked a 55-yard field goal to tie a career and Jets high to give New York a 6-3 lead, Miami struck back immediately.
Ginn, who was replaced by Brian Hartline in the starting lineup at wide receiver, returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards. He cut to his left and then quickly broke for the right sideline and avoided a couple of tackles for his first career kickoff return for a score.
He did it again almost exactly 7 minutes later, this time returning a kickoff 101 yards to make it 24-13. Ginn avoided a tackle by Larry Izzo before breaking through the crowd for another score.
New York struck right back on Braylon Edwards’ one-handed 19-yard touchdown catch with 1:35 remaining in the quarter. Edwards caught the pass with his left hand and then wrestled himself into the end zone with Sean Smith and Chris Clemons all over him.
The 2-point conversion was picked off by Vontae Davis, making it 24-19.
Miami had its best offensive drive on the ensuing possession, capping it with a 5-yard touchdown catch by Joey Haynos. The 2-point conversion failed, but the 13-play, 67-yard drive made it 30-19 with 8:48 left after going into the possession with 54 yards total offense.
Jason Taylor made it 17-6 with 7:32 left in the third quarter when he returned a fumble 48 yards for a touchdown. Rookie Shonn Greene was stopped behind the line of scrimmage and had the ball knocked out by Paul Solai. Taylor pounced on it and took it into the end zone with a convoy of Dolphins.
Sanchez executed a perfect play-action fake for a 1-yard touchdown run that made it 17-13 with 3:26 left in the third quarter. He faked the handoff to Thomas Jones, and then rolled to his left with the ball and raised it in his left hand as he crossed the goal line while every other player was in a pile at the line of scrimmage.
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