MIAMI (AP) — A pair of injuries to star players marred the last meeting between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.
It’s been five weeks, but the emotions from that matchup are still lingering.
With a war of words continuing, the Jets will try to sweep the season series from the Dolphins for the first time in five years Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Nick Folk’s 33-yard field goal in overtime gave New York (3-4) a 23-20 win at Miami (3-3) in Week 3, but the Jets were dealt a major blow when All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis went down for the season with a torn ACL.
The Dolphins’ Reggie Bush left the game in the first half with a knee injury suffered on a hit by safety LaRon Landry.
Bush said the injury to Revis was a case of “what goes around comes around” after Ryan said the Jets were going to put “hot sauce” on the Miami running back.
“I apologized for my comment,” Ryan said. “I expect him to do the same.”
Bush, who returned the following week but has struggled with just 2.8 yards per carry in his last three games, hasn’t offered an apology and said he’s not worried about being targeted this time.
“Retaliation? They’re the ones who started this,” Bush said. “If there was ever any retaliation, it would come from us. But this team and the caliber of guys and the character we have are guys who play with respect for the game and play hard.
“It’s football. I didn’t go and complain or whine about being a target of the Jets. I expect that every game. I don’t expect for it to be any different this game. I expect it to be a tough game, probably some trash talking going on. It’s going to be a physical, tough game.”
It’s also become especially important for the Jets after they lost for the third time in four games last Sunday, falling 29-26 in overtime at division-leading New England despite a spirited fourth-quarter comeback.
“Obviously, this is a critical game,” Ryan said. “It is huge, and the fact that we haven’t swept Miami in the past (since 2007), it’d be quite an accomplishment.
“This is going to be a big game.”
Mark Sanchez has struggled in three home meetings with Miami, completing 49.0 percent of his passes for 682 yards with three touchdowns and one interception while getting sacked nine times. The Jets lost two of those.
Sanchez, though, had a season-high 328 yards last week with one touchdown and a pick while connecting on 28 of 41 passes. That was a dramatic improvement after he compiled a 48.7 completion percentage with 415 yards over the previous three contests, and he perhaps quieted cries for Tim Tebow to see more action.
“I think they have plenty of trust in me,” Sanchez said of the coaches. “They’re trying to put us in a position to win and calling the best plays we possibly can. We’re all in this thing together.”
Sanchez and the offense will be dealing with a Dolphins defense that has held opponents to 27 total points to spur back-to-back wins.
Miami is emerging from a bye after beating St. Louis 17-14 two weeks ago, but the Dolphins were hardly impressive in that game. They gave up a season-high 462 yards while gaining just 192, including 17 on 12 carries by Bush.
“One thing I said to the team, part one of the statement was, ‘Progress has been made. There’s no doubt about it,'” coach Joe Philbin said. “Part two of the statement was, ‘There’s a heck of a lot of work still left to be done.’ I see us playing better football than we were earlier in the season, no question. But we’re still not where we need to be.”
Ryan Tannehill seems headed in the right direction, connecting on 66.7 percent of his passes for 839 yards in his last three games. Before that stretch, the Jets held the rookie to 16-of-36 passing for 196 yards and an interception by Landry, who returned it 18 yards for a touchdown.
Landry, known for his physical play, wants to act as a reminder to Bush.
“I’m grateful for another opportunity to play this guy, and he will remember that hit,” he said. “Every time he sees me, he will remember that hit.
“Just watch the way he runs. We’ll see when he comes out here this Sunday.”
The Jets may have some added emotion as they retire Dennis Byrd’s No. 90 at halftime. The former defensive lineman had his career cut short due to a broken vertebra in his neck during a collision in 1992.
However, linebacker Bart Scott is doubtful to play because of a toe injury, meaning his streak of appearing in 119 straight games is likely to end.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)