In a four-hour game featuring a rare 300-yard passing effort from Mark Sanchez, left knee injuries to a key player on each team, two missed field goals by the normally reliable Dan Carpenter, Tim Tebow picking up a first down on a fake punt, and first-year head coach Joe Philbin burned by calling a timeout to ice the kicker, the New York Jets improved to 2-1 (2-0 within the AFC East) with a 23-20 overtime win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
The Jets' plan to use Tebow as the personal punt protector finally paid off Sunday. With the Jets trailing 10-0, and an offense that had only reached the Dolphins' 49-yard line in the first 25 minutes, Jets head coach Rex Ryan bravely called Tebow's number on a 4th-and-3 play from their own 25-yard line. Tebow picked up five yards on the play, and the Jets responded to the new life by driving down to Miami's 15-yard line before Nick Folk drilled a 33-yard field goal to give Gang Green their first points of the game.
Tebow was used quite frequently on offense, but did not attempt a pass. That was left up to Sanchez, who was making his 50th start in the NFL and his 306 passing yards on Sunday were just the sixth time in his career he has thrown for 300+ yards. The Jets are 4-2 in games where Sanchez tops 300 yards.
The Jets' win is potentially marred by a left knee injury to All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, who was carted off to the locker room towards the end of the third quarter. According to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, the Jets fear that Revis suffered an ACL injury, but the official diagnosis will not be known until further tests are conducted on Monday.
For the Dolphins, running back Reggie Bush injured his left knee in the second quarter and would not return. Bush entered Sunday as one of the leading rushers in the NFL and had 10 carries for 61 yards before exiting. Bush's injury is not believed to be season-threatening, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports.
Of course, the Jets may not have had an opportunity for a win if the normally reliable Carpenter makes a 48-yard attempt after the Dolphins' first possession in overtime. A Pro Bowler in 2009 with a career success rate of 82.6 percent, Carpenter had missed from 47 yards out earlier in the game and now three-of-five on field goal attempts in the first three weeks of the season. Afterwards, Carpenter felt as though both his misses were makeable kicks, Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.
"I let the team down. First of all, there shouldn't have been an overtime. We should never have even been there. I just didn't come through. It's something you don't want to do through, but you know there is nothing I can do about it now."
Philbin expressed confidence in Carpenter, saying that "he'll come through and win us a game" if put in that same position again. Philbin is drawing criticism for calling a timeout that negated a blocked field goal, but stood by that strategy.
"I thought it was the right call," Philbin concluded.
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