November 1, 2004
Martin, Jordan flatten Dolphins' defense
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Jets gave the Miami Dolphins a little of Curtis Martin, and a little of LaMont Jordan.
They made a perfect combination. The running back duo helped the Jets embarrass the hapless Dolphins, sending their defense to a new low in a 41-14 rout Monday night. Martin and Jordan each ran for 115 yards and a score, and the 275 yards the Jets racked up on the ground are the most in the NFL this season.
"We always talk about being a 1-2 punch," Martin said. "And you could see that from us tonight."
The last time the teams met on Monday night, the Jets erased a 23-point, fourth-quarter deficit for a 40-37 overtime win in 2000 in what is known as the "Monday Night Miracle."
There was no chance of a comeback this time around. The Jets (6-1) scored 34 straight points, stifling the ineffective Dolphins (1-7) on offense and humiliating the proud Miami defense, which entered the game ranked fourth in the NFL.
Chad Pennington threw three touchdown passes and went 11-of-19 for 189 yards before being lifted for Quincy Carter in the fourth quarter. The Jets finished with 472 yards of total offense.
"They gave us an old-fashioned beating," Dolphins linebacker Junior Seau said. "I tip my hat to them, for not only what they did against us but the whole year."
New York entered the game after its first loss of the season, 13-7 to New England last weekend, but turned in its most complete performance of the year. Jets coach Herman Edwards knew it was important to keep pace with the Patriots and Steelers, both 6-1 in the AFC.
"If you can keep this bottled up, we have a chance to be a pretty good football team," Edwards said.
The last time the Jets had two 100-yard rushers in a game was Sept. 28, 1975, when John Riggins ran for 145 yards and Carl Garrett had 135 in a 30-24 win over Kansas City. Miami last allowed two 100-yard rushers on Oct. 29, 1989, at Buffalo, when Thurman Thomas had 148 yards and Larry Kinnebrew added 121.
Martin, 31, has had a renaissance in his 10th NFL season. He came into the game second in the league in rushing, while carrying the Jets burden on the ground.
That all changed against the Dolphins. Edwards made it a point to use both backs and wear down the Dolphins defense in the second half. Martin finished with 19 carries and Jordan had 14.
"It feels good any time you have a 100-yard rusher and we had two," Jets left tackle Kareem McKenzie said. "How often does that happen? That's something you can tell to your grandkids."
The Jets defense harassed Jay Fiedler the entire game, sacking the Dolphins quarterback four times and picking him off twice. Miami got a meaningless score as the game ended, when Fiedler threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Derrius Thompson. Fiedler finished 20-of-41 for 218 yards.
Sammy Morris had 11 carries for 48 yards.
"When you don't run the football and you don't stop the run, you don't win," Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said. "No one understands that more than I do because that's how we've won around here."
The complete humiliation of the Miami defense was perhaps the most confounding part of the game.
Pennington connected on one big passing play after another on the vaunted Miami secondary, repeatedly taking advantage of cornerbacks Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain.
After Donald Lee fumbled and the Jets recovered, Pennington needed three plays to convert the turnover into points, throwing a 35-yard touchdown pass to Wayne Chrebet.
Randy McMichael caught a 21-yard TD pass from Fiedler to tie the game at 7, but the Dolphins never got closer.
Pennington responded with a 27-yard scoring pass to Justin McCareins, who took advantage when Madison fell down. McCareins toed the line to stay in bounds at the 2 and stretched the ball into the end zone for his first touchdown as a Jet.
They added to the lead just before the break, going 39 yards in four plays in only 20 seconds. Doug Brien kicked a 49-yard field goal as time expired in the half to make it 17-7.
The Jets got possession first to start the second half and kept rolling. Martin scored on a 25-yard run and left the game after one more carry with a bruised knee. Edwards said the injury is not serious.
"When Curtis had that long touchdown to the outside I was on the sideline throwing my fist down and cheering," Jordan said. "I was saying, 'That guy can't be getting old.' He's having such a great season."
Jordan got the reigns after Martin exited the game, and he scored on a 25-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
Jets backup guard/tackle Brent Smith hurt his left knee, and Edwards said he would be re-evaluated this week. ... The 27-point margin of victory is the largest for the Jets in the series. ... Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael finished with seven catches for 87 yards. ... Chrebet caught his first touchdown pass since the third game of last season.