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Bucking the trend

Broncos stave off another Jets comeback for 30-23 win

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Posted: Sunday November 05, 2000 7:43 PM
Updated: Monday November 06, 2000 11:10 PM

  Terrell Davis Terrell Davis made a triumphant return to the Broncos' starting lineup, rushing for 115 yards and a touchdown. AP

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Brian Griese looked like his old man and Terrell Davis looked like his old self. That was enough for the Denver Broncos to beat the New York Jets 30-23 on Sunday.

The comeback magic the Jets have possessed all season helped them overcome a 17-0 hole. But they couldn't stop Denver's offense when it mattered most, and they couldn't get in from the 2-yard line in four tries in the final minute.

"It's big," said Griese, the son of Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese. He was coolly efficient, particularly on third downs, in passing for 327 yards and two touchdowns to Ed McCaffrey.

"I'm happy the way this game ended, because it will give the defense extra confidence in the big plays they made."

Most of the big plays belonged to Griese, however. Denver (5-4) converted 12 of 18 third downs, including a 47-yard pass to Ed McCaffrey for the winning points. He also had a 49-yard connection with Rod Smith on third down to set up Jason Elam's third field goal, a 23-yarder that broke a 20-20 tie.

"He made great throws in a lot of different situations," McCaffrey said. "He's still young, but he keeps making the plays."

An arrest on suspicion of drunk driving during the bye week didn't bother Griese, who 23-for-35 in exploiting the Jets' leaky secondary.

"It's been a tough week for me and I was happy to go back on the field and put all that stuff behind me," said Griese, who has thrown 18 touchdowns and three interceptions this season.

Davis, returning from foot and ankle injuries that hobbled him since the season opener, rushed for 115 yards -- his first 100-yard game since Denver won its second consecutive Super Bowl in January 1999.

SI's Don Banks
  • What We Learned: The Jets are running low on comebacks these days. They came close Sunday at home against the still-breathing Broncos, but found a way to drop a key game in the AFC playoff-contending field. Here are three observations from Denver's 30-23 victory at Giants Stadium.
  • Insider: Even his nickname, of course, is synonymous with six points. But for the man they call "T.D.", it had been a long while since the moniker rang anything but hollow. Pointless, in fact. Welcome back, Terrell Davis. Rest assured you have been missed. 

    "It felt pretty good," Davis said. "It felt like a normal game, normal flow."

    New York (6-3) threw four times from the 2 on its final drive, including Vinny Testaverde's lob under heavy pressure that fell short of wide-open Richie Anderson in the end zone on fourth down.

    "We ran those same plays and had success with them," Testaverde said. "That's not anything new for us. All the plays we called were good plays. We just have to get them done as players."

    Griese's precision passing was evident almost immediately as he led Denver 70 yards on 13 plays on its second series. He converted four third downs with passes, including the 1-yarder to McCaffrey to make it 7-0. McCaffrey never got into the end zone, but stretched the ball over the goal line.

    The Jets had four turnovers in a loss at Buffalo last week and three in the first half Sunday. Curtis Martin bobbled a pitchout and Maa Tanuvasa recovered at the New York 31, leading to Elam's 31-yard field goal. Then Testaverde's pass from the Denver 11 was tipped by John Mobley and intercepted by Kenoy Kennedy to end a Jets threat.

    Griese and Davis led the Broncos 94 yards in 15 plays, including two more third-down pass conversions. Davis had eight runs for 35 yards on the drive he capped with a 4-yard run for a 17-0 margin.

    New York avoided mistakes long enough to stage a 73-yard drive Martin finished with a 1-yard run. James Farrior grabbed Griese's tipped pass on the next play at the Broncos' 43, but Testaverde's floater for Chrebet, who appeared to be held on the play, went directly to safety Eric Brown.

    A 33-yard pass to Smith set up Elam's 41-yarder for a 20-7 lead.

    The Jets, who have won four games with fourth-quarter comebacks, didn't flinch. A 45-yard field goal by John Hall with nine seconds left in the half and a third-quarter opening drive capped by rookie Anthony Becht's first NFL score on a 1-yard pass made it 20-17.

    Hall's 26-yarder on New York's next series tied it, but then it was Denver that found the late-game winning touch.

    Notes: After yielding 407 yards rushing in their last game at Cincinnati, the Broncos allowed 88 ... Smith had five catches for 134 yards, giving him 969 yards this season ... McCaffrey caught six for 96 yards ... Griese hit eight receivers ... Rookie Mike Anderson, who had 676 yards rushing filling in for Davis, had one carry for 3 yards ... Farrior's interception was the first of his four-year career ... New York played three free safeties -- Chris Hayes, Scott Frost and Kevin Williams -- and all were burned by Griese.

    Related information
    SI's King: Miami's Davis could blow into Washington
    Broncos-Jets Game Summary
    Jets coach Al Groh says turnovers hurt his team. (96 K)
    Jets QB Vinny Testaverde is a little confused about who he just played. (83 K)
    Testaverde is proud of the way his team fights to the end. (103 K)
    Denver LB Bill Romanowski says the Broncos had a do-or-die approach. (101 K)
    Jets coach Al Groh jokingly blames the team diet for the loss. (155 K)
    Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was pleased with the Broncos pass protection. (109 K)
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