EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—Chad Pennington stepped into the end zone, spiked the football and then pumped his fist and bumped chests with some teammates.
“Anytime you get into the end zone, it’s always a thrill,” Pennington said with a big grin.
Pennington showed his injured right ankle was feeling a lot better by throwing two touchdown passes and running for another.
Pennington was injured in the opener against New England, and backup Kellen Clemens started in his place last Sunday at Baltimore. Clemens had an impressive fourth quarter that left some fans hoping he would see more action soon.
Pennington showed this is still his team, going 15-of-22 for 124 yards and moving the offense efficiently.
“He’s the ultimate competitor,” tight end Chris Baker said.
Ronnie Brown scored on a 22-yard pass from Trent Green with 1:15 left to pull the Dolphins within three points. After Baker was called for batting the ball forward out of bounds on an onside kick attempt to give Miami another opportunity, Eric Smith recovered the ensuing kick to seal the win for the Jets.
“I held my breath,” Washington said. “We practice that all the time. Unfortunately, the first one didn’t go our way. On the second one, we kind of lost it and Eric Smith jumped on top of it.”
Brown had 112 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries and added six catches for 99 yards and a TD for the Dolphins (0-3).
“Individual performances like that are good, but it doesn’t mean too much until we start getting victories,” Brown said. “We still have a long way to go as a team.”
Pennington threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles, a 4-yarder to Baker and also ran the ball 2 yards in with 12:51 left—his first rush for a touchdown since 2004.
“It’s emotional, and I almost forgot that I’m still trying to get healthy,” Pennington said.
Baker was far from impressed by Pennington’s celebration.
“That was an ugly spike,” he said with a laugh. “I guess that was a lot of intensity coming out of him, but you’ve got to work on that. That was a bad one.”
Cam Cameron is off to the worst start for a first-year Miami coach since George Wilson dropped his opening five games with the AFL expansion team in 1966.
“I think it’s clear we have areas we’re improving in,” Cameron said. “We’ll have to find a way to learn and grow. We have to continue to believe that these games are never over until they’re over.”
Miami got within 10 with 8:56 left when Brown scored on a 2-yard run and then converted a 2-point conversion on a sequence reminiscent of Boise State’s Statue of Liberty play in the Fiesta Bowl. Green faked a throw and Brown took the ball from behind the quarterback’s back.
“We don’t panic,” Jets safety Kerry Rhodes said. “We knew it was going to be tight.”
The Jets took their first lead of the season late in the first quarter when Pennington hit Coles for a 3-yard touchdown pass in the left corner of the end zone.
Brown tied it at 7 on a 1-yard touchdown run, his first of the season, early in the second quarter. That came two plays after Erik Coleman was called for pass interference on Green’s throw into the end zone to defensive end Jason Taylor, who lined up at tight end.
The Jets came right back when Washington, filling in for injured Pro Bowl returner Justin Miller, took the ball at the 2, found a lane on the left side of the field, brushed off a tackle attempt by kicker Jay Feely and took off down the sideline untouched into the end zone.
“I tried to hit it like Forrest Gump, man,” Washington said. “I just hit it fast.”
After Feely kicked field goals of 31 and 39 yards before the half to make it 14-13, Pennington found Baker in the back of the end zone for a touchdown with 2 seconds left.
Green finished 22-of-36 for 318 yards and one touchdown and an interception for Miami.
“You have to give New York a tremendous amount of credit and Chad Pennington,” Cameron said. “Out there playing on one leg, he did an outstanding job.”
Shaun Ellis’ sack in the first quarter was the Jets’ first this season, and Rhodes’ interception in the third quarter was the Jets’ first takeaway. … Miami’s Chris Chambers had six catches for 101 yards. … The Jets honored former wide receiver Wayne Chrebet during a ceremony at halftime.