2009 Week 8 - Jets vs Miami Photos
"Terrible. Indescribable," said Jets special teamer Wallace Wright after the unit gave up two kick returns for touchdowns that directly contributed to the 30-25 loss to Miami on Sunday afternoon. "I've never seen anything like that since I've been in the NFL. Never seen nothing like that."
Wright wasn't the only one scratching his head while reflecting on Dolphins returner Ted Ginn taking two to the house – a 100-yarder followed up by a 101-yarder. It was the first time in history that a Jets opponent returned two kickoffs for TDs in one game and the 16th time it's been done in NFL history.
"The whole week we just saw that they overload to one side," Ginn said after the game. "As they kick to the left I saw two guys loop over. I knew if I got it to the backside, big things could happen."
Both returns occurred in the third quarter. The first began with a line drive kickoff by Jay Feely that the Jets failed to contain on their left side, giving the speedy returner plenty of open space.
"You can't allow a guy that's got excellent speed to get outside of you," said Feely, who tackled Ginn twice on earlier returns. "The first kickoff that he took back was not a good kick. I put it in the middle. I was supposed to kick it out wide right. That set us up in a bad situation."
It was the first touchdown of the game and it put Miami ahead on the scoreboard for the first time in what was a 3-3 defensive battle in the first half. The 'Fins went up, 10-6, and would never trail again.
Return No. 2 came just three series later with Ginn using his evasive moves to dodge two attempted tackles before getting loose around the Jets' left side again.
"The second one I kicked, it was a good kick, I kicked it where I was supposed to," said Feely. "What Ted tries to do is go to the wide side because that is where he's good, that's where he can use his speed. We wanted to kick it in the middle and corral him."
The Jets came into this game ranked No. 2 in the NFL in opponents' drive start after kickoffs. Mike Westhoff's unit was instrumental in the Green & White's Meadowlands victory over Tennessee in Week 3 and is consistently regarded as one of the best in the league year after year.
They hadn't allowed a kickoff return TD by an opponent since the Patriots' Ellis Hobbs went an NFL-record 108 yards with the second-half kickoff in the 2007 season opener. But this is the NFL and like head coach Rex Ryan said after the game, "Sometimes it just doesn't make sense."
"We have one job when we go down there and that's to tackle. Obviously, we didn't get that done," said Larry Izzo. "It wasn't just one person that missed him. We have 10 guys plus the kicker. The job is to go down and tackle him and we didn't get that done as a group. It's on us."
"I take pride in special teams," said Wright. "So when a guy brings back two kicks on us, I'll take blame for that. In my mind, we're responsible for the loss. That's how I look at it. That killed us today."
Justin Miller made his first appearance for the Jets in 2009 on the opening kickoff, returning it 27 yards, but the former Pro Bowl returner's 23.0-yard average (five returns, 115 yards) on this day was bested by the third-year man Ginn's 49.8-yard average (6-299).
With the loss, the Jets head into the bye week at .500, 4-4, having to let the sour taste from this one linger until they get a chance to play again two weeks from now.
"The bye couldn't come at a worse time, in my opinion," said Izzo. "After a performance like this you just want to go out and play again. We'll do what we can do, go out and rest our bodies and come back ready to roll and learn from the mistakes we've made."
"This one definitely hurts," said Wright. "You can't lose your confidence, of course, but everybody has a week off to get away from football.
"Everybody needs to take a hard look in the mirror and find out where we're at."