Jets Ground Struggling Cards

Microsoft Corporate Vice President William Mitchell, unseen, presents a new ultra compact computer by Samsung at the CeBIT computer fair in Hanover, northern Germany, Wednesday, March 8, 2006.
AP Photo/Eckehard Schulz

The New York Jets, who have perfected the fourth-quarter fold, came up with a last-ditch rally this time.

The Jets, who blew four games in which they led in the final period this season, turned around their game with the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday on Keyshawn Johnson's 43-yard TD reception for a 12-7 victory.

Johnson awakened from a game-long slumber as New York (2-6), winning for the first time in five home appearances, was helped by Arizona's sputtering attack. The Jets sacked Dave Brown six times.

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Game Summary

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  • "A fresh start, that was the message," said Johnson, who didn't catch a ball in the first half and finished with only two for 51 yards. "This is the second half of the season and we have every chance to do well in the second half.

    "This helps the mental part for everyone," Johnson added after he beat zone coverage on a post pattern with 5:29 remaining.

    Johnson, a Pro Bowl wideout, somehow was matched with linebacker Rob Fredrickson on the winning play. He easily got behind Fredrickson and then sped to the end zone.

    "It was a good call," said cornerback Aeneas Williams, who shut down Johnson for most of the day. "We were in a three-deep (zone) and a guy shouldn't get open, and if he does, we should at least make the tackle."

    Tackling Curtis Martin also was a problem for Arizona (2-6), which has the 30th-ranked rushing defense in the league. Martin, inspired by the memory of Walter Payton, rushed for more than 100 yards for the third straight game, gaining 131 on a club-record 38 carries. His production was especially important in swirling winds that reached 23 mph.

    "e is maybe the only player in the NFL who had an influence on my life," Martin said. "I'm not big on idolizing; I didn't grow up that way. But Walter is the one guy I emulated. When I got the ball in my hands in street games, I'd call myself `Sweetness.' "

    Jets quarterback Rick Mirer once again had problems finding secondary receivers when under pressure from a Cardinals defense that yielded only 295 yards. But he did hit the big pass on third-and-12.

    "Not everything went the way we drew it up," said Mirer, who was 12-for-18 for 122 yards in the unpredictable wind. "But we worked it out."

    Martin was the workhorse on the only scoring drive of the third quarter, carrying seven times for 36 yards to set up John Hall's second field goal, a 33-yarder, to make it 7-6.

    Arizona went nowhere against the wind in the final period, and Scott Player managed only a 27-yard punt that set up the decisive drive.

    "You can't judge the passing game," Jets coach Bill Parcells said, also dismissing the 16-for-26 showing for Brown, the backup playing for injured Jake Plummer. "The elements were too much of a factor."

    As was the Jets' pass rush, which accounted for 48 yards in losses. The six sacks were New York's most in four years.

    "It wasn't just their (injury-weakened) offensive line," nose tackle Jason Ferguson said. "We got player and I just think we were hungry."

    The Jets played the wind game well, but still trailed 7-3 at halftime, thanks to two big plays by the Cardinals.

    New York had the brisk wind at its back in the first quarter and twice marched deep into Arizona territory following short punts. The first drive produced a 44-yard field goal by Hall. But on the second, Parcells opted for a run on fourth-and-1 at the 5, and Martin came up short.

    New York used two timeouts late in the period, trying to force Player to punt into the wind again. But Arizona converted a third-down pass to Frank Sanders, and the quarter ran out.

    After Hall missed a 30-yard field goal wide left into the wind, the Cards came up with another key play. Brown threw a rainbow that former Jet Rob Moore settled under down the left sideline for a 71-yard gain the longest of each player's career. Michael Pittman ran it in from the 4 to make it 7-3.

    Notes

  • Tommy Bennett's intercepton at the Cardinals 2 was overturned by a Jets replay challenge just before Hall's missed 30-yarder
  • Martin has rushed for 100 yards or more in three consecutive games four times in his career
  • Rob Moore's first reception of the game, a 24-yarder, was the 600th of his career
  • Ernie Logan had his first two sacks this season for the Jets.

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