After benching Edwards for 1st quarter and Keller scoring twice, Jets lead Miami 14-10 at half

By Tim Reynolds, AP
Monday, September 27, 2010

Keller’s 2 scores give Jets 14-10 lead at half

MIAMI — Maybe the Miami Dolphins still could use Jason Taylor. They certainly needed someone to help slow Dustin Keller down.

Keller had the first two-touchdown game of his career by the time the game was 17 minutes old, Taylor had a sack in his Miami homecoming, and the New York Jets led the Dolphins 14-10 at halftime Sunday night.

The Jets were without wide receiver Braylon Edwards for the opening 15 minutes, suspending him as punishment for his drunken-driving arrest five days earlier. Keller more than picked up the slack, making six catches for 98 yards and the two scores from Mark Sanchez in the opening two quarters.

Down 14-0, Miami answered with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Chad Henne to Anthony Fasano, and Dan Carpenter’s 44-yard field goal cut the Jets’ lead to four. New York’s Nick Folk tried a 61-yard field goal on the final play of the half, getting it blocked by Yeremiah Bell — who was beaten on Keller’s first TD grab of the night.

Taylor made his presence felt, too. He forced Henne into an errant third-down incompletion on Miami’s first drive. And the real fireworks came a bit later when Taylor sacked Henne, then did his celebratory punch — followed by an arms-spread-wide pose as he got booed following a good play for the first time in the Dolphins’ home stadium.

If nothing else, it might have taken attention off the Jets’ latest distraction: the Edwards situation.

The Jets announced about 90 minutes before kickoff they were benching Edwards for the first quarter, as punishment following his arrest for drunken-driving in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. As soon as the clock showed :00 to end the opening quarter, Edwards marched onto the field.

“We’ve made our disappointment clear to Braylon,” Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said in a statement released by the team. “Now he must deal with the consequences of his actions as the legal process runs its course, and the league will determine the appropriate discipline under the guidelines of the collective bargaining agreement.”

It was Miami’s home opener, and the crowd was star-studded.

Fergie and Marc Anthony performed the national anthem, Gloria and Emilio Estefan posed for countless photos on their way in, and LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — who open camp with the Miami Heat — were milling about.

Under different circumstances, they would have been there to cheer for Taylor.

He was the Jets’ lone representative for the pregame coin toss, drawing a modest chorus of boos — which he neatly avoided after warming up a half-hour earlier by leaving the field at the same time his former team was going through the tunnel toward the locker rooms.

Taylor spent 12 of his first 13 NFL seasons with the Dolphins, and was an absolute thorn to the Jets. He had 100 tackles, more than he posted against any other opponent, against the team that he once professed to hate.

But when Bill Parcells didn’t offer Taylor a contract for 2010, the NFL’s active sacks leader had to change course. And that led to Taylor deciding his long chase of a Super Bowl ring would continue with the Jets, a surprising new chapter in the long New York-Miami rivalry.

Throughout game week, however, Taylor’s return to Miami almost seemed like an ancillary part of the circus.

Edwards made headlines for the wrong reasons. Star cornerback Darrelle Revis was ruled out with a strained left hamstring, leaving the Jets without perhaps their three top defenders — adding linebacker Calvin Pace (broken right foot) and nose tackle Kris Jenkins (knee, out for season) — for the Miami matchup.

And of course, Jets coach Rex Ryan is no crowd favorite in Miami, especially after making an obscene gesture to a fan at a mixed martial arts event not far from the Dolphins’ stadium during Pro Bowl week in January.

By now, the Jets are likely used to distractions. They’ve had plenty of them this season, from Ryan’s off-color banter throughout the HBO “Hard Knocks” series that chronicled training camp and coincided with Revis’ holdout, then allegations that a female television reporter from a Mexican station was harassed while covering the team.

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