NY Jets 21, Miami 17

Oct. 14, 2001 at 10:56 PM
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Vinny Testaverde hit Laveranues Coles with a pair of second-half touchdown passes Sunday as the New York Jets posted another come-from-behind victory over the Miami Dolphins, 21-17.

Last Oct. 23 here, the Jets erased a 23-point fourth-quarter deficit and staged one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history. With Testaverde leading the way, the Jets scored 30 points in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime and John Hall eventually booted the game-winning field goal to lift the Jets to an improbable 40-37 victory.

Testaverde passed for 235 yards and four touchdowns in the fourth quarter of that game.

This time, the Jets rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit as Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt could only stare in disbelief as his highly-touted defense crumbled once again.

"In the second half, they made the catches and had the big runs," Wannstedt said. "We didn't make any plays in the second half. We had the ball inside the 10 and didn't score. We didn't do a good job of stopping the run on the perimeter.

"Then there's four turnovers (three in the second half) to none. Forget about all the stats but that one."

Miami dominated the first half, outgaining the Jets, 250 yards to 27, and controlling the ball for 22 minutes. The Jets had minus-two yards passing and managed only three first downs compared to 14 for the Dolphins.

Jay Fiedler hit running back Lamar Smith with a 14-yard touchdown pass, rookie Travis Minor scored on a 29-yard run and Olindo Mare kicked a 26-yard field goal to stake Miami to the 17-0 lead.

"We were moving the ball effectively in the first half," Fiedler said. "We were making plays and getting yards after the catch."

But as was the case last season here, the second half was a different story. After gaining 27 yards on three first-half possessions, the Jets opened the second half with a seven-play, 78-yard drive which Testaverde capped with a 22-yard touchdown to Coles.

On Miami's ensuing possession, Smith fumbled when hit by defensive end Shaun Ellis and linebacker Marvin Jones recovered for the Jets at the Miami 27.

Curtis Martin wasted no time making Miami pay for the turnover, breaking off a 27-yard scoring run around right end to give the Jets two touchdowns in a span of 28 seconds, pulling them within 17-14.

The Jets took the lead for good when Coles bulled past Pro Bowl cornerback Sam Madison and caught a 25-yard touchdown with 12:08 left in the fourth quarter.

"We kind of got tangled up and he (Madison) fell down," Coles said. "Vinny threw a strike. I was so wide open I almost dropped it."

The Dolphins reached the New York six after a 26-yard scramble by Fiedler just after the two-minute warning. But on the next play, Fiedler threw an ill-advised pass to a well-covered Oronde Gadsden in the end zone and safety Damien Robinson and cornerback Marcus Coleman combined to knock the ball away and Jones picked it off with 1:10 left.

"You hope that the safety bites a little, but it just took the worst possible bounce," Fiedler said. "I could have thrown it away but it was a jump ball for Oronde and they made the play."

"I was just trying to slap it down or break it up," said Gadsden, who had six catches for 73 yards. "We both touched the ball and I just lost sight of it."

Miami got the ball back at its own 46 after the defense held, but a long pass by Fiedler down the right sideline wasintercepted by safety Victor Green at the New York 21, sealing the Jets' seventh straight win over their AFC East rivals.

Testaverde completed 15 of 22 passes for 168 yards and remains the only NFL starter without an interception.

"Vinny did an excellent job," Jets coach Herman Edwards said. "He bought us some time on the rush and made some big throws and big plays. This was a big win for us."

Coles, a second-year player from Florida State, caught five passes for 77 yards.

"With the guys we have like Wayne Chrebet, Curtis Martin and Richie Anderson, they draw a lot of attention away from guys like me," Coles said. "I can go out and get a lot of one-on-one coverage and make plays."

While Martin rushed for 120 yards, the Jets, who had ranked last in the NFL in run defense, held Smith to 54 yards on 24 carries.

"As I said to the players, not to make this too simple but they beat us at our own game," Wannstedt said. "They ran the ball when they had to and we didn't when we had to."

Fiedler was 23 of 34 for 213 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown. Former Jet Ray Lucas came in briefly and completed a 28-yard pass.

Smith caught his scoring pass with 50 seconds left in the first quarter, capping a four-play, 49-yard drive. The highlight was a 26-yard pass from Fiedler to rookie Chris Chambers.

Minor's 29-yard touchdown capped an eight-play, 89-yard drive which featured a 28-yard pass from Lucas to Chambers.

Mare kicked a 26-yard field goal on the final play of the half, capping a 15-play, 67-yard drive which lasted nearly seven minutes.

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