EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Crisis averted.
With their season on the brink of unraveling because of mounting losses and infighting, Rex Ryan and his feuding New York Jets got back on track with a 24-6 victory over the winless Miami Dolphins on Monday night.
“Hey, we needed a win in the worst way,” a relieved Ryan said. “I’m just happy that we found a way to get one.”
The Jets (3-3) came into the game as a team in turmoil, and this victory was far from pretty or convincing. But it didn’t need to be. It only needed to not be another loss.
“Anytime you lose three games straight, you’re going to lack some confidence,” running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. “You’re going to start to question yourself a little bit.”
Darrelle Revis ran back the first of his two interceptions 100 yards for a touchdown and the Jets did just enough to avoid their first four-game skid under Ryan. Mark Sanchez threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes and ran for another score as the Jets – who called this a “must-win” game – capped a tough week by sending the Dolphins to their fifth straight loss.
“Losing was tough,” Revis said. “It was hard coming to work. We wanted to get this win. We came in with a great game plan and guys stuck together.”
There were some serious doubts whether that would be the case, though. With frustration quickly seeping into the locker room, New York traded wide receiver Derrick Mason to Houston for what the team said was a lack of production. Then, the Jets had to deal with some infighting as Holmes called out the offensive line for not giving Sanchez enough time to throw deep. Right guard Brandon Moore fired back, saying those comments could have a “fragmenting effect” and were not what a captain, which Holmes is, should do.
Ryan, who insisted his team’s Super Bowl hopes would not be undone by locker room disharmony, even sent Holmes and Moore out as the captains for the pregame coin toss.
“It was good,” Holmes said. “We both looked each other in the eye and said, ‘Let’s go. It’s time to play some football.’ ”
Turns out, this game against the Dolphins (0-5) came at just the right time as the Jets got their season back on track. Next up for New York: the San Diego Chargers (4-1) on Sunday, with a chance to head into the bye week on a high note.
“In every locker room, things like this happen,” Ryan said. “Trust me, we’re past that thing. It’s unfortunate that it happened. We’re chasing a much bigger thing than that. We’re moving forward.”
Sanchez finished 14 of 25 for 201 yards and the touchdown pass to Holmes, and Shonn Greene ran for 74 yards on 21 carries.