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NFL Recap (NY Jets-Tennessee)

Posted: Sun November 22, 1998 at 9:19 p.m. EST


NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Vinny Testaverde threw a pair of touchdown passes and Curtis Martin added a 31-yard scoring run as the New York Jets bounced back with a 24-3 pounding of the Tennessee Oilers.

Last week, the Jets (7-4) lost in the closing seconds at Indianapolis and carried over that funk in a lethargic first half today. But Testaverde found Keyshawn Johnson on a jump-ball pass in the left corner of the end zone with 4:16 to play in the third quarter, snapping a 3-3 tie and triggering the rout.

Testaverde, who completed 21-of-33 passes for 237 yards, added a two-yard TD toss to fullback Keith Byars early in the fourth quarter before Martin crushed the Oilers (6-5) with his scoring run at the nine-minute mark.

Martin finished with 123 yards on 27 carries for the Jets, who have won five of their last six games and seven of nine after an 0-2 start. Martin's sixth 100-yard game helped stop Tennessee's three-game winning streak.

"That's as good as we've played in a long time," Jets coach Bill Parcells said. "We had quite a few sustained drives. The defense reacted well. We didn't make any really bad plays or mistakes and that was a really good win for us."

Steve McNair completed 13-of-24 passes for 137 yards for the Oilers, who had a three-game winning streak halted and fell to 2-4 at home.

"This game is all about blocking, tackling and making plays. We didn't do any one of those things," fumed Oilers coach Jeff Fisher. "We didn't do anything to make a difference in this ballgame. We didn't make the same plays in the second half. We gave up long runs, we didn't tackle well."

"There is nothing you can say to make anything good out of this," said McNair. "We just didn't play with that emotion that we've been playing with the last four to five weeks."

The Jets snapped a five-game series losing streak dating to a 17-12 victory in 1990, when the Oilers were located in Houston. Tennessee was held to 12 first downs and 223 yards.

The Jets marched 56 yards on their opening possession, only to see John Hall hook a 39-yard field goal wide left. After Tennessee went three-and-out on its first possession, Testaverde engineered a 14-play, 55-yard drive that consumed 7:32 before Hall booted a 43-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter.

The Oilers tied the game late in the first half on a 34-yard field goal by Al Del Greco, capping a 14-play, 75-yard drive. Del Greco made a 24-yarder, but a holding penalty pushed it back 10 yards.

New York forced Tennessee to punt from midfield on their its possession of the second half before turning to Martin. He had 18 yards on three carries before Testaverde had an incompletion. Oilers cornerback Samari Rolle was whistled for a 27-yard interference penalty that moved the ball to the Tennessee 35.

Martin had three yards on two carries before Testaverde threw a 15-yard pass to Chrebet to the Oilers 17. After a penalty, Martin ripped off a 14-yard gain and had another three carries to the Tennessee 3 before Testaverde and the 6-3 Johnson combined on the TD pass.

"Keyshawn lobbies a lot, but all kidding aside, it was a great play for him because he's bigger than most defenders," Testaverde said. "If you throw it up high enough, he's going to catch it, and if it's a bad throw, he's going to knock it down. It's a high-percentage play that things won't go wrong."

"I don't want to sound cocky, but I felt that I wasn't going to be denied," said Johnson, who had 112 yards on a career-best 10 catches. "I played a good game blocking and catching the ball well. And at that point, you feel like you're on fire. You don't want anything to slow you down."

On the Jets' next drive, Testaverde threw passes of 22 and 20 yards to Dedric Ward and Johnson, respectively, to move the ball to the Tennessee 19. Two plays later, Martin bolted 18 yards before Testaverde and Byars hooked up on a slant.

Martin completed the scoring when he found a crease on the left side, made a cutback and raced for his fourth touchdown of the season.

"It was a total team effort," Martin said. "I think that a lot of us were upset at the opportunity we had last weekend and we let it go by."

© 1998 Sportsticker Enterprises, LP

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