Final

Buccaneers 12

(4-1, 2-1 away)

Jets 14

(2-3, 2-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, October 9, 2005

 

1 2 3 4 T
TB 3 6 0 312
NYJ 0 7 7 014

Top Performers

Passing: B. Griese (TB) - 226 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing: C. Martin (NYJ) - 23 CAR, 59 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: L. Coles (NYJ) - 6 REC, 89 YDS

Cadillac-less Bucs can't drive past Vinny and the Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- More than anything, Vinny Testaverde wanted to make his teammates believe in him.

It was over when ...
The clock ran out. The Jets had to punt with a minute remaining, but the Bucs ran out of time trying to get into field-goal range.
Game ball goes to ...
Vinny Testaverde. After being out of football for nine months, the everything-old-is-new-again Jets QB guided two TD drives and helped the team double its win total.
ESPN's take ...
Eric Allen The loss of Cadillac Williams will seriously impact this team for as long as he's out of the lineup because he's the catalyst for both the offense and the defense. Offensively he makes the offensive line look much better because they don't have to do as much work and the quarterback also looks better because he just needs to manage the game. Defensively he helps because he provides the defense a rest when he's grinding out yards, so without him this entire team has a different personality.
-- Eric Allen

He did that and more Sunday. The 41-year-old Jets quarterback looked comfortable in the pocket, guiding two scoring drives and getting rousing cheers in helping the Jets beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14-12.

Two weeks ago, Testaverde was on his couch in Long Island watching starter Chad Pennington and backup Jay Fiedler go down within minutes. He phoned coach Herman Edwards to offer his services. Now Testaverde has given his team a renewed confidence -- and perhaps saved the season from ruin.

"My goal was to get the guys to believe in me, so we can get the season turned around," Testaverde said. "I think they believe in me. I believe in them."

Going into the game, the Jets (2-3) had one win and were on their fourth starting quarterback of the season. The offense was in a shambles. A year that started with so much promise was on the brink of disaster. But Testaverde took command the moment he stepped on the field.

The Meadowlands crowd welcomed him back with a standing ovation.

"It sent chills through me," Testaverde said. "I wish I could express how I felt. I had goosebumps all over when I went out on the field."

Testaverde finished 13-of-19 for 163 yards with an interception but got plenty of help. Curtis Martin rushed for his first two touchdowns of the season, and the defense harassed Brian Griese and the rest of the Bucs (4-1).

Tampa Bay played without injured running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams because of foot and hamstring injuries and could never generate anything offensively. Michael Pittman, who filled in for Williams, finished with 13 carries for 46 yards, while Griese was 27-of-42 for 226 yards with an interception.

The Jets had three sacks and limited Tampa Bay to 285 yards despite 71 plays. That averages to 4 yards a play.

Tampa Bay was 2-of-14 on third down and also committed 12 penalties for 87 yards. Matt Bryant was the lone bright spot with four field goals (35, 36, 43, 30).

"They got after us early," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. "We had sacks in our first five or six passes. That will knock any quarterback out of rhythm."

Still, the Bucs had a chance in the end. They forced the Jets to punt with one minute remaining but ran out of time trying to get into field-goal range.

The day might have been meant for Testaverde, in his second stint after his first ended following the 2003 season. He spent last year in Dallas but was out of football for nearly nine months before putting on the familiar green and white.

"He made a couple of good throws for a guy who has been home eating potato chips," Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber said.

It took a while for the Jets to take their first lead of the game. On the first possession of the second half, Testaverde expertly led the Jets down the field, going 3-for-3 for 32 yards on the series.

But it wasn't easy. The Jets went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1. Martin plunged in to put the Jets up 14-9. Martin finished with 59 yards on 23 carries.

The lone miscue of the day for Testaverde nearly cost the Jets. Barber intercepted a hurried Testaverde in the fourth quarter, and Tampa Bay converted the turnover into points when Bryant kicked a 30-yard field goal with four minutes remaining.

But that was as close as it would get.

Early on, the Jets failed to give Testaverde much help. Two interceptions were called back because of penalties, including one late in the second quarter.

New York capitalized on its lone takeaway in the first half, but there were some fireworks. After Ty Law returned an interception 43 yards to the Bucs' 8, Martin carried for 3 yards. That's when Kevin Mawae and Barber got into a heated exchange; Barber swung at Mawae but inadvertently hit umpire Butch Hannah in the eye.

Rather than getting ejected, Barber was given a 15-yard personal foul penalty. The Jets scored one play later, when Martin ran from 2 yards.

Now the Jets hope to use the victory for momentum for the rest of the season.

"It's a big win for us after what we went through the last couple weeks," receiver Wayne Chrebet said. "It's a step in the right direction."

Game notes


Jets backup running back Derrick Blaylock (broken foot) is out for the season. The Buccaneers announced no new injuries, but Gruden said Williams will be questionable heading into next week's game against Miami. ... Former Jets tight end Anthony Becht had two catches for 6 yards for Tampa Bay.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
TB
NYJ
1st Downs2015
Passing 1st downs
129
Rushing 1st downs
43
1st downs from penalties
43
3rd down efficiency
2-143-10
4th down efficiency
2-21-1
Total Plays7148
Total Yards285212
Yards per play4.04.4
Total Drives119
Passing201150
Comp-Att
27-4213-19
Yards per pass
4.57.1
Interceptions thrown
11
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-252-13
Rushing8462
Rushing Attempts
2627
Yards per rush
3.22.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-30-2
Penalties12-876-46
Turnovers13
Fumbles lost
02
Interceptions thrown
11
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession33:1126:49

Passing Leaders

TBC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Griese27/422265.4013-25
NYJC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Testaverde13/191638.6012-13

Rushing Leaders

TBCARYDSAVGTDLG
Pittman13463.5010
Graham7182.608
NYJCARYDSAVGTDLG
Martin23592.6212
Testaverde122.002

Receiving Leaders

TBRECYDSAVGTDLG
Galloway58717.4026
Smith5469.2017
NYJRECYDSAVGTDLG
Coles68914.8031
Jolley34615.3022

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERTBNYJ
tbFG8:57Matt Bryant 27 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 14 plays, 29 yds, 5:57
30
SECOND QUARTERTBNYJ
tbFG11:25Matt Bryant 28 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 16 plays, 46 yds, 8:01
60
nyjTD7:38Curtis Martin, 2 yd run (Mike Nugent kick is good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 5 yds, 0:27
67
tbFG0:10Matt Bryant 35 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 16 plays, 64 yds, 2:53
97
THIRD QUARTERTBNYJ
nyjTD9:10Curtis Martin, 1 yd run (Mike Nugent kick is good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 54 yds, 5:43
914
FOURTH QUARTERTBNYJ
tbFG4:05Matt Bryant 22 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 70 yds, 4:41
1214