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Coles, Jets hold off Dolphins' fourth-quarter comeback

Oct 15, 2006 - 11:49 PM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Laveranues Coles made some big plays for the New York Jets in the second half. Olindo Mare failed to cash in on his opportunity to make a big kick for the Miami Dolphins.

Coles caught two touchdown passes and Chad Pennington threw for 175 yards as the Jets held on for a 20-17 victory over the disappointing Dolphins in a battle of AFC East rivals.

New York withstood a late rally and escaped when Mare missed a 51-yard field goal in the final seconds that left Miami with a 1-5 record and frustrated that their comeback fell short.

"It's getting to the point where it's embarrassing. I'm embarrassed to be in the position we're in," Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor said. "The Jets aren't a better football team than us. They won today."

Coles had a career-long 58 yard TD reception in the third quarter and a 22-yard score in the fourth to help the Jets (3-3) move back to .500.

"I have always thought he was a top receiver in this league," Pennington said. "He's not flashy. He's a blue-collar guy that makes the plays."

Coles finished with five catches for 106 yards. His first TD came late in the third quarter when he faked out cornerback Eddie Jackson and caught a pass from Pennington before racing up the left sideline.

"It was a slant-and-go and he just bit hard," said Coles, who appeared uneasy with talk of him being an elite receiver in the league. "I'm just happy to be a starting receiver in this league."

Last week, Pennington threw three interceptions and was sacked six times in a 41-0 loss at Jacksonville. On Sunday, Pennington did not turn the ball over at all as the Jets and Dolphins added another chapter to a rivalry with many exciting finishes.

"This was the way most Dolphins-Jets games are," New York's first-year coach Eric Mangini said. "We didn't disappoint."

Joey Harrington made his second start for Miami and nearly rallied the Dolphins from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit.

Harrington tossed a two-yard touchdown pass to Chris Chambers and a one-yard run by Ronnie Brown pulled Miami within 20-17 with 3:46 remaining.

"We moved the ball well all day, but in the first three quarters we made mistakes to stop ourselves," said Harrington, who completed 27-of-43 passes for 266 yards with one touchdown and a pair of first-half interceptions. "It was a sense of being free and loose in the second half with nothing to lose."

The Dolphins had a chance to tie the game as Harrington moved Miami from its own 10 to the Jets 32. A third-down pass was incomplete and Mare's 51-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds fell short.

"We thought he could make it," Dolphins coach Nick Saban said. "We have all the confidence in him."

Brown ran for 127 yards on 22 carries for Miami, which is in last place in the AFC East and 0-3 against division rivals.

"I'd give back the 100 yards to have a victory," Brown said.

The only score of the first half was a 33-yard field goal by Mike Nugent, who made a kick from the same distance early in the second half.

New York won at home for the first time under Mangini after losses to New England and Indianapolis. But it did not come easy.

"I don't know if it was stressful in that last drive because we were just worried about our assignments," cornerback Erik Coleman said. "We just stayed poised."

Rookie Leon Washington carried 11 times for 58 yards for the Jets.

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