<
>

Jets 'D' records seven sacks

10/12/2003

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Vinny Testaverde threw three
touchdown passes. Curtis Martin gained key yards. The defense had
seven sacks, forced four turnovers and stopped Travis Henry.

Question on the Bills: What's going on with the Bills?
The Bills have made a 180-degree turnaround since Week 1, when they dominated the New England Patriots. Drew Bledsoe looks like a standing target, just like he did at the end of his tenure with the Patriots. The Bills have to get some type of running game going if they want to return to their early season dominance.

Question on the Jets: Will the Jets be able to build momentum off today's win?
The Jets may be able to build off this game, because two things happened: One, Vinny Testaverde looked comfortable and two, they finally were able to run the football. This was the first game the Jets received over 100 yards rushing and it's no coincidence that it's also their first victory.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Could these be the same New York Jets who did nothing right in a
bumbling 0-4 start?

Well, they sure were. The Jets won after their bye week yet
again, this time routing the Buffalo Bills 30-3 Sunday for their
first victory of the season.

Martin came through. The defense came through. And Testaverde
came through, helping the Jets break out of their offensive lull.

"We were desperate," Martin said.

Entering the bye week, the Jets could not run or stop the run
and could barely score, especially inside the 20. Against the
Bills, those problems seemed to be solved.

Martin ran for a season-high 77 yards on 20 carries as the Jets
finally got their running game going, tallying over 100 total yards
on the ground for the first time this season.

The Jets held Henry to 53 yards on 18 carries -- though he did
catch seven passes for 35 yards as Buffalo (3-3) played without top
receiver Eric Moulds, out with a strained groin.

Testaverde finished 11-of-17 for 130 yards and threw three
touchdown passes in a game for the first time since tossing five in
a 40-37 overtime victory over Miami on Oct. 23, 2000.

It should be one of his final starts for the Jets this season.
Starter Chad Pennington, out since the preseason with a broken and
dislocated left wrist, began practicing this week and worked out at
the Meadowlands on Sunday morning before the start of the game.

Pennington could return as early as Oct. 26 against the Eagles.
He helped rally the Jets last season, and the win against the Bills
could help them start to turn around their season.

"It's huge," center Kevin Mawae said. "To get this monkey off
our back, to get the win and do it the way we did it -- we were the
team we wanted to be all along."

The Jets would not leave Drew Bledsoe alone -- even without Pro
Bowl end John Abraham, held out of the game because of a drunken
driving arrest. Shaun Ellis and Jason Ferguson each had two sacks,
while first-round draft pick Dewayne Robertson notched his first
sack. Sam Cowart, playing against his former team, had a sack and
finished with a game-high 15 tackles.

The last time the Jets had seven sacks was in a 34-17 win over
New England on Oct. 15, 2000.

Bledsoe threw an interception and fumbled once, finishing
24-of-40 for 202 yards before being pulled for Alex Van Pelt with
three minutes left. Van Pelt threw an interception on his first
pass.

"We did have our backs against the wall," said Jets cornerback
Ray Mickens, who had an interception. "In the bye week we made
some changes, and like we did the last two years, we came out and
played well."

The Jets improved to 3-0 after a week off under coach Herman
Edwards.

Last season, they were 1-4 entering the bye but finished the
season with the AFC East title and a 9-7 record.

"I wish we had a bye week all the time," defensive coordinator
Ted Cottrell said.

The Bills took a quick 3-0 lead, but their fortunes changed
after Henry gained no yards on fourth-and-1 from the Jets 34 toward
the end of the first quarter. The Jets took over, and nine plays
later, Testaverde threw a 1-yard TD pass to tight end Anthony
Becht.

On Buffalo's next possession, Bledsoe could not handle a bad
snap from center Trey Teague, and the ball went bouncing 21 yards
behind him, before Bryan Thomas recovered for the Jets at the
Buffalo 17. Despite the good field position, they could only manage
a Doug Brien's 27-yard field goal to make it 10-3.

Santana Moss set up their next TD. After the Bills went
three-and-out to start the third quarter, Moss returned a punt 47
yards to the Buffalo 18. One play later, Testaverde threw his
second TD pass to Becht, making it 20-3.

Moss finished with three punt returns for 102 yards, and also
had a 4-yard TD reception just before the end of the third quarter.

"We didn't play well enough in any area, didn't coach well
enough, and they were inspired and outplayed us in every phase,"
Buffalo coach Gregg Williams said.

Next up, the Jets travel to Houston with renewed confidence and
hope they can save their season.

"It gives us a little life," Edwards said, "but we still have
a long way to go."

Game notes
Several players were injured. For the Bills: OT Jonas
Jennings (hip flexor). For the Jets: LB Victor Hobson (ribs), CB
Jamie Henderson (knee), S Jon McGraw (shoulder), CB Leonard Myers
(shoulder), WR Wayne Chrebet (had wind knocked out). ... Testaverde
passed Joe Montana for seventh place on the NFL's career yardage
list.