Revved-up Jets are flying on course
MIAMI — Braylon Edwards spent the first quarter on the sideline. Soon enough, he was dancing in the end zone for the New York Jets.
Benched at the start because of a drunken-driving arrest, Edwards turned a short pass into a 67-yard touchdown, and the Jets beat the Miami Dolphins, 31-23, last night.
Mark Sanchez threw three touchdown passes for the second week in a row, and the Jets forged a three-way tie atop the AFC East with the Dolphins and Patriots. All are 2-1.
There were cheers for LeBron James, jeers for Jason Taylor, and mostly silence for Edwards, who sprinted untouched to the end zone to celebrate the touchdown that put the Jets ahead to stay.
“The biggest thing I can say about this week is that I really am glad that I have teammates and an organization like the Jets,’’ Edwards said. “They’ve been very supportive.’’
Edwards was arrested in Manhattan around 5 a.m. Tuesday and apologized the next day. The Jets decided to suspend him for one quarter.
“It was obviously not the situation I want to be in,’’ he said. “But I was there supporting my team. I was there for every play, watching and knowing what it was, up and cheering guys on. I was just being the best teammate I could be.’’
His only other catch was also a big one — a 20-yarder on third and 10 to keep alive the touchdown drive that put the Jets up, 31-23, with 1:55 left. That score came on 1-yard run by LaDainian Tomlinson.
The Dolphins then drove 64 yards to the 5 with 34 seconds remaining, but Chad Henne’s fourth-down pass was deflected by Eric Smith and intercepted in the end zone by Drew Coleman.
Smith also blocked a punt to set up a field goal.
Miami rallied from a 14-0 deficit with help from Brandon Marshall, who made 10 catches for 166 yards and scored his first touchdown for the Dolphins. They opened the second half with a six-minute, 73-yard drive capped by Henne’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Marshall.
That put Miami ahead for the only time, 17-14, and the Jets needed just 18 seconds to regain the lead. Edwards caught a pass near the sideline, then sprinted the final 55 yards untouched after cornerback Jason Allen slipped and fell.
“All week we said we just want to make plays after the catch,’’ Edwards said. “Anybody can throw a deep ball. For us, we just wanted yards after the catch. It was a situation where I caught it outside and Jason slipped, and I was able to go the distance.’’
The capacity crowd included Miami Heat newcomer James, who wore a Florida Marlins cap. Fans roared when he was shown on the video scoreboard, while they booed Taylor, who was facing the Dolphins for the first time after 12 seasons with Miami.
The Dolphins gave up only two touchdowns in their first two games, but the Jets took the opening possession and marched 72 yards for a TD. Sanchez converted two third downs with completions, then hit Dustin Keller with a 24-yard score.
Sanchez hit Keller with a 12-yard touchdown pass to cap a 90-yard drive, putting the Jets ahead, 14-0.
The early lead helped negate the Dolphins’ ground game. Henne threw for a career-high 363 yards, completing 26 of 44 passes, but Ronnie Brown (54 yards) and Ricky Williams (28) were held in check.