In his first season with the Raiders after 16 glorious campaigns across the bay with the San Francisco 49ers, the 39-year-old Rice quickly made his mark in the playoffs for his new team.
Rice, the NFL's all-time postseason leader in catches, yards and touchdowns receptions, finished with nine for 183 yards Saturday. He had a 21-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter that gave Oakland a 31-17 lead.
"I felt that I've had a very productive season, but now it's crunch time," said Rice, who had one 100-yard game during the regular season. "You look at Michael Jordan, he wants to make plays. I feel like we did that today. Tim (Brown) and Rich are the same way. We did some great things today and I have to give credit to my teammates."
"Jerry Rice showed up and showed why he is a Hall of Famer," Jets coach Herman Edwards said.
Rice tied the club record shared by Fred Biletnikoff and Cliff Branch for catches in a playoff game. Biletnikoff set the team mark for receiving yards in a postseason contest with 190 against the Jets on December 29, 1968.
"It's a great feeling to be on his team in the playoffs," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. "I can't believe his performance tonight. He's 39, but George Foreman won a heavyweight championship when he was 44, so he has a lot of football left in him.
"He was great tonight. He was excited and thrives in this atmosphere. He loves the big games. The more you ask of him, the more he relishes it."
Gannon, who struggled as the Raiders lost their last three regular-season games, had a lot to do with Rice's success. The 14-year veteran completed 23-of-29 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns.
"It's nice to have (receivers like) Tim Brown and Jerry Rice," Gannon said. "I'm spoiled, there's no question about that. I'm going to ride that horse as long as I can. I've got two Hall of Famers on either side of me and they don't seem to get any older; they only seem to get better. During this time of year, those guys get their second legs and come to life. Both of them had really big nights."
Charlie Garner sealed the victory with an 80-yard touchdown run with 87 seconds remaining, extending Oakland's lead to 38-24.
Garner, a teammate of Rice last season with San Francisco who was questionable with a foot injury, finished with 158 yards on 15 attempts. It was the second-best postseason effort in club history behind Marcus Allen's 191 yards in Super Bowl XVIII against Washington.
The AFC West champion Raiders (11-6) will travel to Massachusetts next Saturday night to meet the AFC East champion New England Patriots (11-5) in the divisional round.
Vinny Testaverde passed for three touchdowns for the Jets (10-7), who posted a 24-22 victory at Oakland on Sunday to clinch a playoff berth.
"They made a number of big plays," Edwards said. "Rich Gannon had a nice day throwing the ball and Charlie Garner made some big plays as well. Today, they showed that they have a very potent offense and that we couldn't stop them."
The Jets fell to 1-9-1 in Oakland since 1962.
Holding a 16-10 lead late in the third quarter, the Raiders got a big play from their defense when safety Johnnie Harris ripped the ball from fullback Richie Anderson's arms and tackle Grady Jackson recovered for Oakland at his own 45.
Anderson also had a key fumble in the 2000 regular-season finale at Baltimore, a defeat that cost the Jets a playoff berth.
After Garner ran for a short gain, Gannon found Rice on a quick slant over the middle for 47 yards to the New York 4.
"The guy is phenomenal," Gannon said. "They say he's 39. He looks like he's 29 to me. He seemed to come to life tonight. He had some fresh legs I guess and he made some great plays."
Fullback Zack Crockett barreled over right guard for a two-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter and Garner ran for the conversion, giving Oakland a 24-10 lead.
In a wild fourth quarter that featured 36 points, the 38-year-old Testaverde -- who may have been playing his final game in a New York uniform -- tried to rally the Jets.
Testaverde calmly moved the Jets 64 yards in 10 plays. He capped the march with a four-yard TD toss to Anderson on 4th-and-goal with 10:18 left, pulling New York within a touchdown.
But Gannon and the Raiders would not be denied as they went 68 yards in seven plays to recapture a two-touchdown advantage.
Gannon had a 21-yard completion to Rice and found Jerry Porter for 20 yards on 3rd-and-8 to the New York 20. Two plays later, Gannon connected with Rice in the left corner of the end zone to make it 31-17 with 5:53 remaining.
Rice, who was used in a variety of formations, did most of his damage against Aaron Glenn, the Jets' best cover cornerback.
Testaverde and the Jets continued to fight as he found Wayne Chrebet on 4th-and-goal for a four-yard TD with 1:52 left, leaving the Jets behind, 31-24.
Testaverde was 27-of-41 for 277 yards and three scores. He was complemented by Curtis Martin, who carried 16 times for 106 yards.
Laveranues Coles was Testaverde's favorite target, catching eight passes for 123 yards. He had five receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown in last week's win at Oakland.
But after Testaverde's last touchdown pass, Jets coach Herman Edwards -- with two timeouts left -- elected to kick deep rather than try an onside kick.
Tyrone Wheatley was stuffed on consecutive running plays, but Garner sealed the victory by running over the right side and down the sideline untouched to the end zone for the longest run in Raiders' postseason history.
"It was a great effort," Testaverde said. "I'm very proud of our guys on how we kept coming back. We never give up. I hoped to get another chance at the end of the game, but that's not how it happened."
Behind Gannon and Garner, the Raiders rolled up 502 total yards and 23 first downs. New York had 410 yards and 23 first downs.
"They have a lot of different plays and formations, as they always do," Gruden said. "We made some good adjustments. I thought the offensive line and backs played well and were able to recognize and handle some of the fronts that the Jets showed. We had some plays, some all-purpose answers that whether they played man or zone, Rich was able to sit in the pocket and make some plays."
New York's defense took a hit in the second quarter when end John Abraham, who led the team with 13 sacks this season, was forced to leave after getting sick. He did not return in the second half.
But even when Abraham was in there, Gannon had the Raiders' offense in gear from the start as they scored on their first four possessions.
"We got off to a good start," Gannon said. "I thought tempo was the big difference between this week and last week. We got in and out of the huddle, and that caught them off-guard a little bit. I thought that was the difference for us from an offensive standpoint. The tempo was excellent. I felt for the most part we kept them off-balance."
Oakland used field goals of 21 and 41 yards by Sebastian Janikowski in the first quarter to open a 6-0 lead. Janikowski missed last week's game with a foot injury and his replacement, Brad Daluiso, missed a short field goal and an extra point.
John Hall, who won last week's game with a 53-yard field goal in the final minute, missed wide left on a 45-yard attempt on the Jets' first possession. He also had a 41-yard attempt blocked in the second quarter.
Hall and Jankikowski traded 45-yard field goals in the first 8:15 of the second quarter before the Raiders finally reached the end zone.
Gannon culminated a seven-play, 66-yard drive 22 seconds before intermission by finding Brown in the back of the end zone for a two-yard TD, making it 16-3.
Brown had just three catches for 13 yards.
Testaverde helped the Jets close to 16-10 early in the third quarter, finding Chrebet for a 17-yard touchdown.