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NY JETS articles 11/3/08

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November 3, 2008

ORCHARD PARK - This was exactly what you've been waiting for, New York Jets fans: A signature, statement victory over a division opponent with a winning record in the their house.

There are eight more regular season games to be played for the Jets and there are a lot of different twists and turns this season still can take. But, if the Jets turn out to be the playoff team they know they have the talent to be, yesterday's gritty 26-17 win over the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium may very well be viewed as the turning point of the season.

This stadium has been a house of horrors over the years for the Jets. Most recently, they entered yesterday having lost four of their previous five games here.

The Bills, who entered the game leading the AFC East at 5-2, already were 3-0 at home this season.

The Jets - who by virtue of New England's loss to the Colts last night are now tied with the Bills and Patriots for first place in the AFC East at 5-3 - had not been very successful under coach Eric Mangini against opponents with winning records (3-9 before yesterday).

So this game represented an exorcising of demons on so many levels, and the Jets did just that and did it in style by winning with clutch plays in the crucial moments.

"Believe me, that win, to me, feels as good as any win I've ever been a part of," Brett Favre said. "Just a great win."

Great not because of anything Favre did statistically (he was a modest 19 of 28 for 201 yards, no touchdowns and, yes, another interception), but for the resilience the entire team showed at the end of the game.

Favre's lone interception was one of those plays that, in past Jets years, would have led to another devastating loss. It was a hospital pass in the direction of Jerricho Cotchery that was picked off by Bills' cornerback Jabari Greer and returned 42 yards for a touchdown to cut the Jets lead to an uncomfortable 23-17.

The Jets had a 13-point lead (23-10) and had silenced the sellout crowd and the Bills and Favre gave Buffalo hope, seemingly woke up all of western New York.

Favre recalled a game he played with the Packers in Minnesota when he threw a similar late interception to give the Vikings hope and momentum and turn their done into a deafening frenzy.

"Believe me," he said, "when I walked off the field after that pick, I thought, 'We don't stand a chance.' I didn't tell anyone that. But the one thing that couldn't happen in my mind happened. Crowd was roaring. We still had the lead, but we didn't have the momentum."

The Jets rebounded on the ensuing possession, punishing the Buffalo defense with a 14-play drive that swallowed 8:41 off the fourth-quarter clock and ended in a game-sealing, 31-yard Jay Feely field goal that gave the Jets a 26-17 lead with 2:12 remaining.

"That drive was one of the most important drives for us offensively all year - not only because is helped win the game, but it was sort of a statement drive - not only to other teams, but to ourselves," Favre said.

The Jets got it done in so many levels.

Their defense stifled the Buffalo running game, which managed just 30 yards on 17 carries for a 1.8-yard average.

They sacked Trent Edwards (24-of-35, 289 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) five times and how have matched their 2007 sack total in half a season (29).

Jets safety Abram Elam , starting in place of the injured Eric Smith, picked off Edwards and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first quarter. That gave the Jets a 13-7 lead they would never relinquish.

The Jets, who entered the game having not forced a turnover in three games, forced three yesterday, scoring 10 points off them.

Feely kicked field goals of 37, 26, 20 and 31 yards, missing a 37-yarder at the end of the first half.

Everyone contributed - right down to the punter, Reggie Hodges, who corralled several high snaps on the field goal attempt from James Dearth - and that's what pleased Mangini most.

"This is a lot closer to complete football that I believe we can play," Mangini said. "All three phases were doing positive things."

"We found out about ourselves today," Laveranues Coles said.


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Posted: 4:34 am

November 3, 2008

ORCHARD PARK - All three turnovers the JetsNew York Jets forced yesterday were the result of film study during the week and tendencies to which the Jets coaching staff alerted players.

On the first, Jets CB Darrelle Revis sacked Trent Edwards - his first career sack - forced a fumble and recovered it at the Buffalo 7-yard line in the first quarter. Revis said later that the coaches pointed out the way Edwards handles the ball, which gave him the chance to make the strip sack.

On the second one, an interception returned for a touchdown by Abram Elam , the Jets safety said he watched tape of the Bills running that play all week and, "I just believed what I saw."

Revis later sealed the game by picking off Edwards in the final moments in the Jets' end zone - his team-leading fourth interception of the season and the ninth of his career.


Great line from Brett Favre after the game when he said, "It's one of those games where we won the game and I didn't throw a TD pass . . . at least to us."

Favre threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Bills CB Jabari Greer. It was the third pick Favre has had returned for a touchdown this season and the NFL-high 300th interception of his career.


Fullback Tony Richardson made his first rushing attempt as a Jet, a 3-yard run for a first down late in the game. . . . Thomas Jones, who rushed for 69 yards on 12 carries, scored his fifth rushing touchdown of the season after having only one last year.

Leon Washington made a brilliant heads-up play when he fielded a bouncing Bills third-quarter kickoff with one of his feet out of bounds, thus penalizing Buffalo for kicking the ball out of bounds and giving the Jets the ball at their own 40.


The Jets have won four of their last five. Their 5-3 record at the halfway mark gives them one more win than they had last season. The last time the Jets had as many as five wins by the midpoint of the season was in 2004, when they started 6-2.


As expected, the Jets were without ILB David Harris, their leading tackler who's nursing a groin injury. David Bowens started in his place and struggled early. . . . S Eric Smith (concussion) also was inactive as was TE Bubba Franks (hip). . . . CB Justin Miller was a healthy scratch.

LB Jason Trusnik and S James Ihedigbo were elevated to the active roster and played their first games of the season. For Ihedigbo, it was his NFL debut. Both played special teams.

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Posted: 4:34 am

November 3, 2008

ORCHARD PARK - The mere mention of Kris Jenkins' name after yesterday's stirring 26-17 New York Jets win over the Bills elicited this response from linebacker Calvin Pace: "That's our MVP, man."

Not Brett Favre, not anyone else on this team has had more of a profound impact on the 5-3 Jets than the 360-pound defensive tackle they acquired in a trade with Carolina in the offseason.

Jenkins was a man possessed yesterday, serving not only as the linchpin to suffocating the Bills' rushing attack (30 yards and a 1.8-yard average), but also as a game-changing pass rusher (he had two sacks).

It was the fourth time in his career Jenkins had two sacks in a game (the first time since 2003) and it gives him three this season.

"He's not just a run stopper - you figure you got the big guy in the middle to stop the run - but he had two sacks," Pace said.

"He's two people," cornerback Darrelle RevisDarrelle Revis said. "We don't have 11, we have 12."

Coach Eric Mangini called the 360-pound Jenkins "a beast."

"He's tough to handle," Mangini said. "He plays with very good technique and he's able to control the gap . . . and he's got another gear when he's getting off the ball in a pure pass-rushing situation. He just causes a lot of problems internally for all of our opponents."

You won't find a more affable or modest lad in the Jets' locker room than Jenkins, either.

Asked yesterday if this was his best game as a Jet, Jenkins said, "I don't think that's for me to say. I'm just trying to be the best I can. I'm never really satisfied with what I do and I think that's what keeps me going."

Revis said the addition of Jenkins and Favre "has changed our team. It has given us a lot of energy."

"We both have 10 other teammates on each side of the ball," Jenkins said. "I can't do it all by myself and Brett can't do it all by himself. We both just try to play our part, and if I can have a real good game sometimes and it helps, I appreciate the compliments from (the media) and the fans."

It has truly been inspiring to watch the way Jenkins, who came to New York having played a "three-technique" defensive tackle position in a 4-3 alignment, adapt to the 3-4 the Jets play.

"As a 3-4 nose you have to be patient, very stout, because you can't always get the first jump on the ball," Jenkins said. "You have to do your best to be a force by being patient by controlling the line of scrimmage. It's a very tough position to master.

"I've been so used to: Get up the field, get up the field and just run. Now it's control the guy in front of you and play both gaps and whatever happens don't let them run the ball in the middle. It's a big responsibility. It is daunting at times, but I take pride in being able to succeed in doing it."

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Posted: 4:34 am

November 3, 2008

ORCHARD PARK - The crowd of 70,000-plus at Ralph Wilson Stadium was on its feet in delirious celebration after watching Bills cornerback Jabari Greer return a Brett Favre interception 42 yards for a touchdown, cutting the New York Jets ' lead to six points. It was the Jets' worst nightmare.

Fourth-quarter momentum was clearly with the hometown team, and Favre, now standing on the sidelines, was having flashbacks of a Christmas Eve game at Minnesota in 2004, when he threw a late pick that was run back for a score and that put that game in jeopardy.

"I thought, 'We don't have a chance because the one thing that couldn't happen, happened,' " Favre said later.

It was a smiling Kris Jenkins, all 360 pounds of him, who approached a despondent Favre on the sideline as the celebrating Bills prepared to seize control of the game.

"Just relax," the Jets nose tackle whispered in Favre's ear. "You've been playing 48 years. What are you getting upset about?"

Asked about it later, Jenkins said: "Sometimes even the best of them need to hear some encouragement. We've played against each other for so long and we both love to compete. I just wanted him to know we had his back."

Many positives emerged from the Jets' 26-17 victory over the Bills. There was the heroic final drive that burned 8:41 of the final 10:47 off the clock en route to a field goal that iced the game. There was an opportunistic defense that generated fives sacks, limited the Bills to 30 yards rushing and intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown.

But the biggest residual from yesterday's win was the emergence of a team that finally has found its identity. It's called complementary football.

For the first time this season, the Jets played the way they envisioned they could play: smart, together, with the offense, defense and special teams all contributing. It's a formula that often is talked about, but difficult to achieve.

"We finally played Jets football," said Jenkins, who had two sacks. "It all about how you handle adversity. We kept fighting. That's what it's going to take to be a good team."

Favre played more like Chad Pennington , throwing mostly slants and swing passes while completing 19-of-28 for 201 yards and no touchdowns. The interception came on one of the few plays when the Bills' pass rush was able to apply some pressure. It was a chuck-and-duck throw toward the sideline that changed the momentum of the game.

The Jets should be able to survive one bad throw, and they did. The final drive was "a statement drive," Favre said, not just for the game, "but to ourselves." It produced 48 of the Jets' 96 rushing yards and should offer inspiration for the rest of the season.

"This is the first game where all phases complemented each other," said right tackle Damien Woody. "We're a good team with good players who work hard. If we do this on a consistent level, we can be a pretty good team."

Favre was annoyed by questions suggesting the Jets employed a conservative gameplan to keep him from making mistakes. He insisted the short passes were a product of what the defense gave him. If the Jets continue to play as well in all phases as they did yesterday, Favre can be more manager than magician.

"The bottom line is we won the game the way we wanted," he said.

Jenkins, who spent seven seasons with Carolina before the Jets got him in a trade, wants to bring a mentality not just to the defense, but to the entire team. That process took root yesterday.

"It's good to know you can stand for something and accomplish what you stand for," he said.

Complementary football, indeed.


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Farve, Jets' defense shut down bumbling Bills

Monday, November 3, 2008

JETS 26, BILLS 17: Abram Elam, starting in place of injured safety Eric Smith, returned an interception thrown by Trent Edwards 92 yards for a touchdown, sparking New York's victory Sunday over bumbling Buffalo in East Rutherford, N.J.

The Jets (5-3) have won four of five and have caught the Bills in the division standings. Buffalo (5-3) has lost three of four and lost all the momentum it had generated following a 4-0 start.

Brett Favre wasn't exactly perfect a week after he threw three interceptions before securing a 28-24 win over Kansas City. Against Buffalo, he forced a throw to the left sideline and was intercepted by Jabari Greer, who returned it 42 yards for a touchdown that cut the Jets' lead to 23-17 with less than 11 minutes left.

Favre, 19-for-28 for 201 yards, responded by efficiently producing a 14-play, 65-yard drive that ate up nearly nine minutes and ended with Jay Feely hitting a 31-yard field goal.

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Jets' Favre: From gambler to game managerJohnette Howard

November 3, 2008


It was about time Eric Mangini and his dream-big Jets went out and won one of these statement games. They needed this.

The Jets were up against AFC East co-leader Buffalo. With a win at Ralph Wilson Stadium and a loss by New England last night, the Jets could force a three-way tie for first place halfway through the season. Which is exactly what happened.

But the upset wasn't that the Jets upset the Bills as much as how they did it.

"It was hard to pass up a little dink right in front of me," he said after the Jets' 26-17 win. "If you have a touchdown, great. But try to move the chains. Control the clock. Manage the game, or whatever."

This was the same quarterback who minted his legend in Green Bay as an inveterate risk-taker, a mad bomber?

Admit it. No one was really sure Favre had this kind of measured game in him.

For a day, anyway, Favre, the NFL's most notorious gunslinger, left his six-shooters at home. Suddenly he was in love with the swing pass, the 6-yard slant. He was dumping off the ball and living for that more obscure stat of YAC: Yards after catch.

Except for one bad flashback - a desperate, falling-backwards heave by Favre that the Bills' Jabari Green picked off on the left sideline and returned 42 yards for a touchdown - Favre not only stuck religiously to the play-it-safe script but actually seemed to be enjoying it.

Quite a few times, Favre dumped the ball off on a screen or short swing pass and then looked nothing like a 39-year-old quarterback as he took off downfield looking for someone to block. Another time, he rolled away from the Bills' rush and actually threw the ball into the ground when he had nothing.

On purpose.

Favre finished 19-for-28 passing for a modest 201 yards. Then, true to his hyperbolic nature, he forgot all about the two Super Bowl runs with Green Bay and all the other unforgettable games he's played and said, "This win feels as good to me as any win I've ever been part of."

He probably meant any win he's been part of here.

In a season in which every week has been a referendum on Favre, this was the first notable win he and the Jets pulled off in his eight-game tenure here. It improved the Jets to 5-3. But most importantly, as nose tackle Kris Jenkins and wideout Laveranues Coles said, it gave the Jets reason to believe they can be a contender. As Coles put it, "We're in the mix. This puts us back in the mix."

"It's a good feeling to know you stand for something [as a team]," Jenkins said. "Sometimes you need to be able to walk it."

To this point, the Jets had just talked the talk of being a playoff team. They've been frank about how much better they expected to play after adding Favre, Jenkins, pass-rushing linebacker Calvin Pace and offensive linemen Alan Faneca and Damien Woody in the offseason. But until this game, they hadn't gotten a terrific all-around effort since smacking around Arizona a few weeks ago.

Two weeks ago, the Jets lost an abysmal game to the awful Raiders. Then they struggled to beat a lousy Chiefs team as Favre threw three interceptions, which shoved him into the NFL lead with 11.

Favre had promised to be more judicious yesterday. But the question with him - as always - was whether he could maintain such discipline for an entire game, something Favre acknowledged as he enthused about how good this win felt even though "I didn't throw a touchdown pass."

Pause. "At least not to us," Favre joked. The crowd at his news conference broke up laughing.

There was a lot for the Jets to be happy about after this win. Their defense forced three turnovers, rang up five sacks and stopped Buffalo on a fourth-and-1 at the 8 in the second quarter. At that point, the Bills had held the ball for the last 15 minutes, 8 seconds on two drives - and the Jets had outscored them 7-0, thanks to Abram Elam's 92-yard interception return.

After Greer's interception return of Favre's bad pass made it 23-17, the Jets' offense had its best moment of the season: Favre led them on a grinding 65-yard drive that ended with Jay Feely's 31-yard field goal to ice the game.

Told later that 14-play march chewed up nearly nine minutes, Favre blinked and said, "Did it?"

"Eight minutes and 41 seconds," he was told.

"Wow," Favre said.

Don't blame the guy for not knowing. After 18 seasons, he's new at this System Quarterback thing.

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November 3, 2008


B The Jets saw the Bills were susceptible to short passes and screens and armed Brett Favre with a game plan to take advantage of it. The running game picked up 96 yards on 25 carries, and Thomas Jones (12 for 69) had a 7-yard TD run to give the Jets a 23-10 lead. The unit gets downgraded a bit for settling for a pair of first-quarter field goals, especially after starting a drive at the Bills' 6 and "driving" minus-2 yards.


A- Covering the slot receiver remains a major issue as Drew Coleman still hasn't made a play this season. But the defense forced three Bills miscues, including Abram Elam's 92-yard INT return for a TD. Kris Jenkins had two of the team's five sacks, which increased the season total to 29, the same number reached in 16 games last year.


B+ Leon Washington returned the opening kickoff 40 yards and made the heads-up play of the year on the third-quarter kickoff on which he drew a penalty. Leodis McKelvin proved elusive early - he had a 44-yard return - but Wallace Wright leveled the kick returner on the second half's opening kickoff with an open-field stick at the 18. Jay Feely's misses are becoming worrisome.


A- The Jets turned in three straight subpar performances after their bye week, which is unlike an Eric Mangini-coached team. But when they needed it most yesterday, on the road against the division leader, they came the closest they have all season in playing a solid 60-minute game. The team needed this kind of afternoon. So did Mangini.

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Favre is a lot less picky - BY ERIK BOLAND | erik.boland@newsday.com

November 3, 2008

After all that talk about INTs last week, did Brett Favre get the message?

For the most part, yes. Favre did a good enough job, handed a game plan that called for him to throw short passes. He finished 19-for-28 for 201 yards with one interception - a milestone of sorts, as it was his 300th career pick, a record. His longest completions of the day, a 40-yarder to Leon Washington and a 35-yarder to Jerricho Cotchery, were almost entirely the product of the open-field abilities of the receivers.

"I would love to throw 70-yard bombs every play, throw caution to the wind, but that's not the way you win football games," Favre said. "That's not the way we were going to win that game today."

At the same time, he was unapologetic about the interception return for a touchdown by Jabari Greer that made it a game in the fourth. "It is control the clock, manage the game, whatever, but at some point, you have to make plays," Favre said. "We made enough to win."

So exactly what did Leon Washington know on that kickoff play that the rest of us didn't?

Plenty. When Washington straddled the sideline on a third-quarter kickoff by the Bills, he made sure he had one foot out of bounds as he stretched back inbounds to touch the ball, which was resting inbounds at the 8-yard line. The crowd erupted, thinking the Jets would be pinned, but Washington motioned to the official, as did Brad Smith, that he should drop the flag. After several seconds, he did.

" Mike Westhoff did a good job making us aware that if the ball's close to the sideline, you step out, establish one foot in and you touch it, it's like the ball's been kicked out of bounds," Washington said. "You obviously have to think on the run, you have to think fast. I had an opportunity to make that play, and you make plays like that and give your team good field position, it's big."

It was for the Jets, leading to a four-play, 60-yard drive that ended with Thomas Jones' 7-yard TD run that gave the Jets a 23-10 lead.

What went into Eric Mangini's decision to decline that penalty?

Facing third-and-11 from the Jets' 25-yard line late in the first quarter, the Bills were called for an ineligible man downfield. By declining, the Jets would have forced the Bills into a 43-yard field-goal attempt, but Mangini chose to accept the penalty, giving the Bills third-and-16 at the 30. Trent Edwards converted by completing a 22-yard pass to Roscoe Parrish.

"At that point, I thought we had a good chance to get the stop with the 5 yards, get them out of field-goal range and keep the points off the board," Mangini said.

And the Jets did when Abram Elam picked off Edwards on the final play of the quarter and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown.


Eric Mangini gave his thought process for accepting the ineligible man downfield penalty in the first quarter, which allowed the Bills one more chance. It might have been sound reasoning if Mangini had three Darrelle Revises instead of one, and had Abram Elam not bailed out his coach with the 92-yard INT return, there might be a lot of howling about the decision today.


Reggie Hodges

On Jay Feely's game-clinching field goal, a 31-yarder with 2:12 left that made it 26-17, Hodges fielded a high snap by James Dearth and smoothly placed the ball. Feely, undisturbed, kicked it down the middle.

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Jenkins comes up big- BY JOHNETTE HOWARD | johnette.howard@newsday.com

November 3, 2008

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - He stands 6-4, which doesn't make him unusual for a football player. It's those 349 pounds that Jets nose tackle Kris Jenkins is listed at that make him stand out, and the way he uses his bulk when he's stuffing the run.

And yesterday, it was the way he plowed toward the quarterback to pick up a couple of sacks against a Buffalo Bills team that ultimately had no answer for Jenkins or the Jets.

"He's taking sacks away from the outside guys who are paid to get some," joked Jets linebacker Calvin Pace, a pass-rushing specialist himself.

Pace laughed. He's in his first year as a Jet, same as Jenkins, and he acknowledged that this could be a long week of listening to the irrepressible Jenkins boast and tease everyone else on the defense about his role in the Jets' 26-17 win.

After all, nose tackles are supposed to clog up the middle and stuff the run. Basically, they're paid to make all that bulk useful. But when a nose tackle is nimble as a cat, as Jenkins is, and he can pitch in as many sacks and quarterback pressures as Jenkins did yesterday, the Jets' defense hits a whole different level.

The Jets obtained Jenkins from Carolina during the offseason after finally giving up on the idea that former No. 1 pick Dewayne Robertson could survive as an undersized nose tackle in coach Eric Mangini's 3-4 defense. And the change has been game-changing: Jenkins has been terrific.

The Bills, who began yesterday sharing the AFC East lead with New England, finished the game with only 30 yards rushing on 17 carries. Trent Edwards was sacked five times and hurried another eight times, three of those by Jenkins.

On one play in the second half, Jenkins merely seemed to chest-bump Edwards just as he threw the ball. Jenkins didn't even lower his shoulder or try to punish him. But Edwards flew a few yards anyway before hitting the turf with a thud.

With 29 sacks, the Jets already have matched their 2007 season total with eight games to go. Jenkins' ability to control the middle has been freeing the linebackers behind him and the defensive ends rushing off the edge.

"He's a beast," Mangini said.

"I know I wouldn't want to be underneath all that falling on me," Pace deadpanned as he thoughtfully scratched his chin.

Said Jenkins: "Honestly, I just think I'm doing my job - we don't get paid to look pretty now."

A lot of linemen are called Big Uglies. But to the Jets, the sight of their big nose tackle sacking quarterbacks is about as pretty as football gets.

Nowhere to run

The Jets have not allowed an opposing runner to rush for 100 yards this season. In fact, in five victories they've held the opposition to under 100 yards rushing. In their three losses, the opposition has topped 100 yards.

5 Victories

Opp. Yds. Top RB

Bills 30 Lynch (16)

Chiefs 80 Charles (45)

Bengals 43 Fitzpatrick (23)

Cardinals 42 James (29)

Dolphins 49 Williams (24)

Avg. 48.8 yards rushing

3 Losses

Opp. Yds. Top RB

Raiders 153 Fargas (74)

Chargers 107 Tomlinson (67)

Patriots 104 Jordan (62)

Avg. 121.3 yards rushing

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Jets top Bills, 26-17, to climb in division-BY ERIK BOLAND | erik.boland@newsday.com

November 3, 2008

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - It wasn't just fans and media who were questioning the Jets.

Players, too, recognized that yesterday's game against the Bills was something more than one of 16.

"A chance for us to come out against a good team and prove our worth a little bit," safety Kerry Rhodes said during the week.

The Jets, behind a defense that ended its turnover drought and an offense that produced a clock-eating drive in the fourth quarter, did just that with a 26-17 victory over the first-place Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium, maybe the second most significant victory in the Eric Mangini Era.

The Jets (5-3) pulled even with the Bills and within a half-game of the Patriots (5-2), who faced the Colts last night.

"We proved we could come on the road and get a big win," Rhodes said. "This is a big game for us. They're a team that was No. 1 in the division before today and we were able to come here on their home field and get a win. That's tough in any division, especially ours."

Players didn't downplay the game's importance during the week, and they didn't do it in the locker room when it was over, either.

"It was huge, man," said linebacker Calvin Pace, part of a defense that hadn't created a turnover in three games but produced three yesterday. "We needed this one."

Brett Favre, whose interceptions - seven in the previous three games - were a major topic last week, was given a game plan that required mostly short passes, and he avoided those kinds of mistakes yesterday.

Until the fourth quarter, that is. Then he single-handedly injected life into the crowd with an interception that was brought back for a touchdown, making it a one-possession game. Later, however, he would contribute to the drive that clinched the win.

With the Jets leading 23-10 early in the fourth quarter and having all the momentum after Buffalo's Rian Lindell missed a 43-yard field goal, Favre, who entered the game with an 0-3 record in Buffalo, made his first bad decision.

On first-and-10 from the Jets' 33-yard line, Favre (19-for-28 for 201 yards), under heavy pressure, lofted a floater down the left sideline for Jerricho Cotchery. Cornerback Jabari Greer stepped in front of Cotchery to intercept the pass and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown that had the stadium shaking and the Bills trailing just 23-17 with 10:53 left. It was the 300th interception of Favre's career.

But the Jets responded with what Favre called "the most important drive of our season," going 65 yards in 14 plays, with Jay Feely kicking a 31-yard field goal that made it 26-17 with 2:12 left. The drive, which included three third-down conversions, was mostly run-driven, with the offensive line imposing its will on the Bills. Favre completed all five of his passes for only 17 yards on a drive that featured a 23-yard run by Thomas Jones and, most important, took 8:41 off the clock.

"It was just gut-check time and our guys stepped up to it," said Favre, who earlier admitted to being "nervous as hell" when the drive started.

"Situation like that, we throw a pick but come right back out and just ram it right down the length of the field," right tackle Damien Woody said. "Mixing the run and the pass up, we just did what we wanted to do. But like I said last week, I feel like we're capable of doing that against anybody. But I think this was the first game where all phases of the game really complemented each other."

Which had not been the case in the three games after the bye week in which the Jets went 2-1 but were undistinguished in doing so. The defense had played OK but was leaky against the pass and didn't create one turnover against three teams - the Bengals, Raiders and Chiefs - that entered yesterday a combined 3-19.

Darrelle Revis ended that drought on the Bills' second possession, blitzing from the corner on first-and-10 from the Bills' 15 and jarring the ball loose from Trent Edwards. Revis recovered at the 6, leading to Feely's 26-yard field goal that pulled the Jets to within 7-6.

Abram Elam, starting for the injured Eric Smith at safety, victimized Edwards on the final play of the first quarter, stepping in front of a pass intended for Roscoe Parrish in the left flat and returning it 92 yards for a touchdown to put the Jets ahead for good at 13-7. It tied for the third-longest interception return in franchise history.

Revis accounted for the Jets' third turnover, picking off Edwards (24-for-35, 289 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) in the end zone with 1:11 left in the game.

So for one day, it was about someone else's interceptions.

"You don't have to throw six touchdowns to win football games," Favre said about the game plan. "Believe me, that win feels as good as any win I have ever been a part of."

Marathon men

Abram Elam is the fifth Jet in franchise history with an interception return for a touchdown of 90 yards or longer.


100 AARON GLENN At Miami 9/15/96

98 MARCUS COLEMAN At Miami 12/27/99

92 ABRAM ELAM At Buffalo 11/2/08

ERIK McMILLAN Indianapolis 10/1/89

90 MARCUS TURNER At Minnesota 11/20/94

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Jets soar on wings of defense



Sunday, November 2nd 2008, 8:40 PM

ORCHARD PARK - For those still skeptical about the Jets' defense, Kris Jenkins delivered a message after Sunday's 26-17 win over the Bills.

"I don't think people can look at us as the Jets of last year," the big nose tackle said after a dominating performance at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The Jets, perennially soft against the run, flaunted their new and improved defense, limiting the Bills to 30 yards on the ground. But the real story was the big plays. The Jets forced three turnovers, including a 92-yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Abram Elam, and stuffed the Bills on a pivotal fourth-and-1.

Jenkins was involved in the latter two plays, pressuring Trent Edwards into the interception and teaming with safety Kerry Rhodes to stop Fred Jackson for no gain at the Jets 8.

"He's two guys," cornerback Darrelle Revis said of the 360-pound Jenkins. "We don't have 11, we have 12."

Edwards, looking for Roscoe Parrish, was squashed on the play by Jenkins. He never saw Elam, who provided over-the-top help on Parrish. For Elam, who started for the injured Eric Smith, it was his first career interception. If he had to run another yard, he might have been tackled before the end zone. He ran out of gas faster than a Hummer.

"It was a big momentum swing," Elam said of his play, which gave the Jets the lead for good - 13-7 on the final play of the first quarter.

The next big play came on the Bills' ensuing possession. On fourth-and-1 from the Jets' 8, Buffalo coach Dick Jauron took a chance, eschewing a chip-shot field goal. He ran Jackson off left guard, where he met Jenkins and Rhodes, who filled the hole nicely from his safety spot.

"From watching film, I knew that on third- and fourth-and-short, they like to go to the left side," said Rhodes, who later saved a touchdown with a pass-breakup. "I was able to get down there and stuff the play."

It also was a big day for Revis, who returned to the scene of his worst day as a rookie. A year ago, he was beaten on at least eight completions by Bills receivers. This time, he recorded a strip sack and sealed the game with an end-zone interception in the final seconds. He was matched against Lee Evans most of the game, holding the Bills' top receiver to four catches for 41 yards.

It was a much-needed game for the Jets' defense, which had produced only one takeaway (no interceptions) in the previous three games.

"Our defense played outstanding," quarterback Brett Favre said.

Credit the big fella, who took a modest approach.

"I just don't want to be the person that causes us to lose," Jenkins said.

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Brett Favre picks his spots against the Bills

Sunday, November 2nd 2008, 11:25 PM


Brett Favre finds conservative day points to win.

ORCHARD PARK - After Brett Favre had thrown an interception that Bills cornerback Jabari Greer returned 42 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to cut the Jets' lead to 23-17, his mind flashed to Christmas Eve at Minnesota in 2004.

Favre said he had played a near-flawless game that night and a check of his stats showed that he finished with a 70% completion rate (30-for-43) for 365 yards, three TDs and one interception.

"I throw a pick for a touchdown and their place was never louder," Favre said. "When I walked off that field after that pick, I thought, 'We don't stand a chance.' I didn't tell anyone that."


Fortunately, Favre was able to shake that momentary lapse of faith, gather himself and lead the Packers to a victory over the Vikings.

As Favre returned to the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium for the Jets' next possession after his pick Sunday, he described himself as "nervous." A bit of that Minnesota chill began creeping up his spine.

He needed to silence the crowd again, regain the momentum and most importantly lead the team to a score to truly keep that "no chance" feeling from taking hold. A Jets loss here and the shaky wheels on the 2008 Green and White express would start falling off.

Favre came through. He guided the Jets on a controlled, 14-play, 65-yard drive that ate up 8:41 and set up a 31-yard field goal by Jay Feely that gave the Jets a 26-17 lead, which held up as the final score. "That drive was one of the most important drives for us offensively all year," Favre said. "Not only because it helped win the game, but it was a statement drive."

Not only did it demonstrate that the Jets, under Favre, are capable of eating up yards and time, it also shows they can avoid killer mistakes and score in crunch time. In the last three games Favre has guided the Jets to scoring drives late in regulation. They lost in overtime in the Oakland debacle, but they beat Kansas City last week and the Bills Sunday on those drives.

The significance of the victory was that the Jets (5-3) went into a hostile environment on the road against a division opponent with a winning record and came away with a victory that boosted them into a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East. They now have exceeded their victory total from last season and with the way their defense played Sunday, they have a chance to make a serious playoff push.

Favre is the key to the whole thing.

Much was made of Eric Mangini sitting down with Favre last week and telling him that he was going to have to holster his penchant for the big play and eliminate the costly turnovers.

"It wasn't like we had a giant summit on Tuesday," Mangini said. "We meet every Tuesday."

He didn't say who brought the pound cake. But he described it as going over the last game and emphasizing the improvements that needed to be made going forward. Along the way, maybe he brought up something about eliminating the turnovers, keeping drives going via the dink-and-dunk route. Mangini also issued a strong warning to the other players.

"With the guys we have on this team they have to step up and accept their roles," receiver Laveranues Coles said. "You have to take your role and if you don't somebody will take it for you."

Favre certainly looked like a more controlled quarterback - the pick six notwithstanding. He wasn't forcing balls into double coverage. In essence Favre used a pop gun rather than a howitzer. And it worked.

Favre threw slants to receivers, and screens and swing passes to backs. Running back Leon Washington took one 40 yards in the first quarter.

Favre said he tried to take what the Bills gave him. He played the percentages, completed 19 of 28 passes, but didn't have a touchdown toss.

"At least not to us," he quipped. "I hate to laugh about that."

He sounded almost apologetic for winning in the most un-Farve-like manner. No heroics. Just steady at the helm with one hiccup.

"We won the game the way we won the game no matter how that happened to be," he said.

In the first half, the Jets had eight plays in the red zone for minus-4 yards. Favre didn't take a single shot at the end zone. The Jets took a 13-7 lead into intermission, and in the locker room talked about finishing the game.

Mangini, for the sake of his own sanity, needs Favre to keep this mind-set. He needs Favre to buy into the role of quarterback as a methodical, unspectacular, low-risk cog in a bigger, more efficient machine.

"You don't have to throw six touchdowns to win a football game," Favre said. "That win felt as good as any win I've ever been a part of ... I'd love to throw 70-yard bombs on every play, but that's not the way you're going to win every game. And that's not how we were going to win today."

With Favre and the Jets, "today" is the operative word.


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Leon Washington's trick a treat on kickoff against Bills



Sunday, November 2nd 2008, 11:40 PM

ORCHARD PARK - Leon Washington is fast on his feet. And a quick thinker, too.

Taking advantage of a quirky, little-known rule, Washington made a brilliant, heads-up play on a third-quarter kickoff return, setting up a touchdown in the Jets' 26-17 victory over the Bills Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The situation: Waiting for Rian Lindell's kickoff to bounce out of bounds at the Jets' 8, Washington reacted quickly when he realized the ball was going to stay in. He extended his right leg, allowing him to straddle the sideline - one leg in, one leg out. He fielded the kickoff, prompting the officials to rule it was the Jets' ball at the8.

Ah, but the officials, with some prodding from Washington, realized that because the player is off the field, the ball is also. An out-of-bounds kickoff is a penalty and it gave the Jets the ball at the 40 - a 32-yard change in field position. Four plays later, Thomas Jones scored on a 7-yard run to give the Jets a 23-10 lead.

"It was a big, heads-up play," said Washington, noting that special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff had discussed that scenario in practice. "When you make plays like that, you give yourself a chance to win."

BETTER LUCKY: Eric Mangini was bailed out on a decision that backfired. Instead of declining a 5-yard penalty on the Bills, which would have made them try a 43-yard FG in the first quarter, he accepted the penalty. That made it third-and-16 from the 30, and, sure enough, the Bills completed a 22-yard pass.

They appeared on their way to a touchdown, but the Jets' Abram Elam intercepted a pass and returned it for a score.

Later, Mangini won a replay challenge, resulting in a too-many-men-on-the-field penalty for the Bills.

INSIDE MOVE: David Bowens' debut at starting inside linebacker didn't get off to a great start. On the Bills' first play, he blew the coverage on a screen to RB Marshawn Lynch, resulting in a 42-yard gain. Moments later, TE Derek Fine was wide open on a 9-yard touchdown. Bowens was in the area, but Fine wasn't his responsibility. Bowens started for David Harris (pulled groin). He finished with five tackles and a sack. ... Rookie OLB Vernon Gholston received a 90-minute tutorial from Lawrence Taylor, Fox Sports reported. Mangini said he had no knowledge of that. ... Kris Jenkins recorded the first two-sack game of his career.

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News answers burning questions about PSLs as issue continues to simmer



Monday, November 3rd 2008, 12:20 AM

This past summer, the Giants and Jets unveiled their respective Personal Seat License programs - one-time fees assessed to season-ticket holders. The move, for the most part, has been met with anger from fans of both teams. As fans struggle to make ends meet in an ever-worsening economy, the Jets and Giants - each worth nearly $1.2 billion, according to Forbes - insist that PSLs are necessary to pay for the new Meadowlands stadium scheduled to open in 2010.

In the months following the Jets

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Lowery benched


The Jets benched rookie CB Dwight Lowery in the second half Sunday against the Bills and replaced him with David Barrett.

Lowery has been victimized all year, partially because no one wants to throw in Darrelle Revis' direction and partially because he's beatable deep. Barrett offers more experience and would probably be a more confident and reliable option for the Jets, even if he doesn't have the upside of Lowery.

Source: Newark Star-Ledger

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