Final

Texans 7

(5-7, 2-4 away)

Jets 29

(9-3, 5-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, December 5, 2004

 

1 2 3 4 T
HOU 0 7 0 07
NYJ 3 3 7 1629

Pennington's presence inspires Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Everyone could feel his presence on the field.

Defensive tackle Jason Ferguson did. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma did. The entire offense did.

So with Chad Pennington back to the delight of his teammates, the franchise quarterback immediately showed why the Jets need him so much entering the stretch drive. Pennington directed three second-half touchdown drives and helped lift the Jets to a 29-7 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Allen's Analysis

Eric Allen

Texans at Jets: What's been the key to the Jets' turnaround on defense this year?

The key to their success has been the excellent play of their corps of linebackers. This team made the right move by going younger and faster in the offseason and it has paid off. These 'backers make this team an above average defensive unit. I say that because the rest of the defense is good, but none stand out as well as that particular group.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

"That's our leader," Ferguson said. "We know we have a lot better chance to win with him."

Pennington had help. Curtis Martin ran for his seventh 100-yard game of the season and the defense shut out the Texans (5-7) in the second half -- the sixth time this season the Jets blanked an opponent over the final two quarters.

But perhaps Pennington made the biggest difference. After missing the last three games with a strained right rotator cuff, the offense finally showed signs of life with him.

The Jets had 360 yards, the most since a 41-14 win over Miami on Nov. 1. The 29 points also were the most since that victory, helping the Jets (9-3) stay in the thick of the AFC playoff race.

"It's obvious how good it is to have Chad back: 29 points," Vilma said.

Martin had 134 yards on 23 carries, going over the 1,300-yard mark on the season. He needs 26 yards to become the fifth back to reach 13,000 in a career. In all, the Jets had 36 carries for 210 yards on the ground.

Pennington completed his first nine passes and finished 20-of-27 for 155 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also had a big scramble on the first play of the fourth quarter.

On third-and-8 from the Houston 16, Pennington ran up the middle for 11 yards, but failed to slide. He immediately bounced up and emphatically signaled first down, showing he has no fear of running after getting hurt on a scramble against Buffalo on Nov. 7.

"I was just fired up," Pennington said of his mini-celebration. "That's kind of like a solar eclipse happening."

The Jets scored two plays later when Pennington threw a 5-yard pass to Martin to go up 19-7.

It was Martin's 4-yard TD run in the third that gave the Jets the lead for good following a bizarre sequence on Houston's first drive of the half.

Facing fourth-and-7 from their 6, the Texans snapped the ball into the leg of the referee standing in the end zone, and the Jets thought they had a safety. But the play was whistled dead before the snap because the officials were not ready.

Try again.

This time, Houston was called for holding, moving the ball back to the 3. On the third punt attempt, Chad Stanley got it off for 47 yards, but Santana Moss returned the ball 46 to the Texans 4.

Martin plunged in from there, making it 13-7.

The Texans were still in it, but their following drive ended in disaster. After a big 37-yard pass from David Carr to Andre Johnson to the Jets 37, the Texans moved backward thanks to intentional grounding and a personal foul on left guard Chester Pitts.

They never mustered much after that.

"We are better than this," said Carr, who took a shot to the head early in the game and missed one play before returning. "We shouldn't get beat like that. We should not lose a football game like that."

Pennington added a 2-yard TD pass to Anthony Becht following an interception by Erik Coleman, putting the game out of reach. Doug Brien also kicked three field goals (41, 26, 25).

Carr finished 12-of-25 for 157 yards with two interceptions and said his neck was sore, while Johnson had 125 yards on seven catches for his first 1,000-yard season. The Jets held Domanick Davis to 52 yards on 17 carries.

Houston led 7-6 on Davis' 2-yard TD run. But the Texans could have had more. Carr threw incomplete in the end zone on fourth down early on, and Davis also had a 60-yard touchdown run called back because of a holding penalty.

As for the Jets, they can go into next week's big game at Pittsburgh with confidence and momentum thanks to Pennington.

"He's the energy on offense," coach Herman Edwards said. "When you have a guy like that, that's not at the top of his game right now, he can still do some things. He played well and good enough for us to win."

Game notes


Jets DE John Abraham sprained his right knee in the second quarter and will have an MRI exam Monday. ... Houston LB Jay Foreman is out for the season with a sprained left ankle that will require surgery. P Chad Stanley had his back tighten up during pre-game warmups but still played.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
Houston
NY Jets
1st Downs1326
3rd down efficiency
4-115-10
4th down efficiency
1-30-0
Total Yards230360
Yards per play4.45.6
Total Drives14
Passing147150
Comp-Att
12-2520-27
Yards per pass
5.95.6
Interceptions thrown
21
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-101-5
Rushing83210
Rushing Attempts
2536
Yards per rush
3.35.8
Penalties5-486-49
Turnovers21
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
21
Possession25:1734:43

Passing Leaders

HOUC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Carr12/251576.3022-10
NYJC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Pennington20/271555.7211-5

Rushing Leaders

HOUCARYDSAVGTDLG
Davis17523.1110
Carr4164.0011
NYJCARYDSAVGTDLG
Martin231345.8122
Jordan11605.5020

Receiving Leaders

HOURECYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson712517.9037
Gaffney22110.5013
NYJRECYDSAVGTDLG
McCareins44711.8015
Sowell5387.6018

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERHOUNYJ
FG10:30DOUG BRIEN 41 YD
Drive: 9 plays, 44 yds, 5:00
03
SECOND QUARTERHOUNYJ
FG4:47DOUG BRIEN 26 YD
Drive: 10 plays, 55 yds, 5:53
06
TD10:15DOMANICK DAVIS 2 YD RUN (KRIS BROWN KICK)
Drive: 10 plays, 75 yds, 5:28
76
THIRD QUARTERHOUNYJ
TD7:01CURTIS MARTIN 4 YD RUN (DOUG BRIEN KICK)
Drive: 2 plays, 4 yds, :44
713
FOURTH QUARTERHOUNYJ
TD1:30CURTIS MARTIN 5 YD PASS FROM CHAD PENNINGTON (TWO-POINT PASS CONVERSION FAILED)
Drive: 12 plays, 80 yds, 6:10
719
TD5:55ANTHONY BECHT 2 YD PASS FROM CHAD PENNINGTON (DOUG BRIEN KICK)
Drive: 5 plays, 40 yds, 2:08
726
FG12:51DOUG BRIEN 25 YD
Drive: 11 plays, 56 yds, 6:03
729