Rugby World Cup
This Week's Issue
Life of Reilly
SI for Women
CNN/SI - TV
Golf Pro Shop
MLB Gear Store
NFL Gear Store
SI FOR KIDS
No respect for elders
Jets run over Falcons, DeBerg with 28-3 victory
Posted: Sunday October 25, 1998 06:13 PM
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) -- After going 9-7 and barely missing a 1997 wild-card playoff berth, the New York Jets decided they needed more talent. On Sunday, they reaped the benefits of free agency in a big way.
Curtis Martin rushed for more than 100 yards for the fourth straight game. Vinny Testaverde threw for two TDs, while Anthony Pleasant and Bryan Cox led a stingy defense in New York's 28-3 victory Sunday over the Atlanta Falcons. All joined the Jets as free agents this season.
Jerome Henderson, who signed with New York before last season, went 53 yards with a fumble return off a sack of 44-year-old Steve DeBerg by Victor Green (free agency 1993), and Keith Byars, another free-agent addition this year, had a 22-yard TD reception for the Jets (4-3).
"We're starting to become like a little family now," said Martin, who gained 101 yards on 25 carries and scored a touchdown. "One thing I'm glad we did as a team was refocus and people have even worked harder, and I believe it is beginning to show."
Martin was the most costly signing -- the Jets sent a first-round and third-round pick to New England for him. Testaverde, Pleasant, Henderson, Green and Cox cost only money.
Pleasant, who got his third sack of the year, and his defensive teammates made life miserable for DeBerg, who might think again about his comeback. DeBerg was the oldest starting quarterback in NFL history when he replaced injured Chris Chandler on Sunday. DeBerg was a coach the last two years.
DeBerg went 9-for-17 for 117 yards and an interception in just under three quarters. Tony Graziani didn't fare much better as Atlanta gained a mere 207 yards. The Jets also had five sacks.
"They outperformed us, outprepared us and outcoached us," DeBerg said. "It seemed like they almost knew our plays. We were not very focused. I would have thought with Chris out, we'd be more focused, but it turned out the other way."
The Falcons (5-2) ran for 55 yards, despite having the NFC's leading rusher, Jamal Anderson. New York held Anderson to 46 yards after he gained at least 100 in each of his last four outings.
"It was a collective effort," Lewis said. "We smothered the line and he couldn't find any holes and he couldn't get outside. We knew they would get the ball to Jamal and we knew if we could stop the run, we'd be OK."
The Jets used a revitalized weapon, tight end Kyle Brady, to spark their 86-yard march to Martin's 2-yard TD run and a 7-0 lead. Brady, little more than a glorified tackle for most of his three-year career, had five catches and two scores last week. Against Atlanta, he got free for a 26-yard gain on third down to highlight New York's 13-play first-quarter drive.
His recently improved performances are indicative.
Green's sack and Henderson's return made it 14-0 on the first play of the second quarter. On the final play of the period, Morten Andersen nailed a 53-yard field goal set up by some strange strategy by the Jets.
On fourth-and-8 from the Atlanta 38, the Jets eschewed a field goal or punt and Testaverde was sacked by Lester Archambeau. The Falcons took over at their 47 and, 37 seconds later, they got Andersen's long field goal.
That was it for the Falcons, while the Jets added Keyshawn Johnson's 12-yard scoring reception and Byars' TD.
Martin finished with 101 yards on 25 carries. Testaverde was 16-for-29 for 206 yards.
"Anytime you can have that balance, it takes pressure off," Testaverde said. "We were able to dictate to the defense the flow of the game."
The Jets responded to a miserable effort at St. Louis with impressive wins over the Patriots and Falcons.
"It's a true testament to the way the guys have hung in," linebacker Cox said. "We don't get beaten by our mistakes and we correct them and prosper."
Notes: Bill Parcells is 5-0 coaching against Dan Reeves, including a victory in the 1987 Super Bowl ... New York broke an 11-game slide against the NFC West ... Atlanta was plus-8 in turnover differential, but had the only three of Sunday's game ... The Falcons led the league in time of possession with a 33:06 average, but had the ball for just 27:56 ... Atlanta's injuries included wide receiver-kick returner Tim Dwight and cornerback Ronnie Bradford, both with sprained knees. Middle linebacker Jessie Tuggle sprained his left ankle.
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.