|Jets brushed off underdog status with impressive victory over Dolphins|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 03 December 2007 14:16|
The New York Jets left Miami overwhelming winners after going there as one-point underdogs, motivated by the lack of respect and determined not to be the winless Dolphins' first victims.
``Everybody picked us to lose,'' linebacker Victor Hobson said after the Jets' 40-13 win Sunday. ``I guess that stops all those rumors.''
If the Jets (3-9) sounded somewhat bitter after the win - an upset, if you believed oddsmakers - it was for good reason.
``I feel bad for those who took the points,'' wide receiver Laveranues Coles said. ``That's just the way it works. It's one of those things where you can't control what people think.''
Coach Eric Mangini insisted Monday that he didn't focus on the underdog talk in his pregame meetings with the team. He also said he didn't spur the Jets on by reminding them that they didn't want to be the first to lose to the Dolphins.
``I would never boil the season down like that,'' Mangini said. ``To me, it's the next game and each opponent is important, not getting caught up with whatever the issues are that really don't affect the outcome of the game. That, to me, just adds distractions.''
That's a fair point, but some of the players, who enjoyed a well-deserved day off Monday, were clearly focused on not being embarrassed.
``Obviously, Miami's season hasn't gone the way they would have liked, but in some ways we can relate,'' quarterback Kellen Clemens said after the game. ``We approached it like it was the most important game of the week.''
And they certainly played that way. New York had its biggest scoring outburst since a 41-14 victory over Miami in 2004. It was also perhaps the Jets' most complete game of the season.
``I was pleased with the way that we played on Sunday across the board,'' Mangini said, a statement he hasn't been able to utter much this season.
Wearing their Titans throwback uniforms, the Jets outgained the Dolphins 372 yards to 187, took advantage of turnovers, regularly converted on third down and stopped Miami in similar situations. New York also got a good game from Clemens and finally got Thomas Jones into the end zone.
After 225 carries and an endless number of questions about his touchdown drought, Jones scored for the first time as a member of the Jets.
``It wasn't one of those things where I thought, 'God, we've got to get Thomas a touch so these guys stop asking about it,''' Mangini said with a smile. ``It was more of, 'I'm happy when anybody wearing the Jets or Titans uniform - New York Titans, not Tennessee - gets into the end zone.'''
Clemens quieted some of his critics, who have been quick to point out that the second-year quarterback has struggled to complete more than 50 percent of his passes and been erratic since replacing Chad Pennington as the starter. He was efficient in going 15-of-24 for 236 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
``There were a lot of things I was happy with about his play,'' said Mangini, who pointed out that Clemens spread the ball to eight receivers and put pressure on Miami's defense by getting everyone involved.
Coles led the Jets with five catches, despite playing with a sprained ankle that caused him to miss last week's game at Dallas. He was clearly not completely healthy and missed most of the second half.
``I thought he did a great job,'' Mangini said. ``He had some big third-down receptions. He fought through a difficult situation and he's been so diligent with trying to get ready to play these games and not being able to have the practice time he usually has.''
Whether Coles gets that this week is unclear. Mangini said it's ``an ongoing process,'' as is the recovery of fellow receiver Jerricho Cotchery, who's sidelined with what is reportedly a broken right index finger.
The Jets will have another day to relax and relish their victory before regrouping Wednesday and preparing for the Cleveland Browns. Sure, the win was against a team in serious danger of becoming the league's first 0-16 squad, but it still felt plenty good - underdogs or not.
``Getting a win against anyone is great,'' linebacker Bryan Thomas said. ``Our opponent's record doesn't dictate if it's the biggest win or the smallest win. A win, period, is just great.''