The New England Patriots told Ray Lucas he couldn't play in the NFL. They paid for it Monday night.
"This is probably one of the best moments ever, besides the Super Bowl (in 1996 with New England)," said Lucas, who played special teams for the Patriots, but was a quarterback at Rutgers. "You come back to beat the team and the guy (coach Pete Carroll) who cut you, so you've got to feel pretty good."
Martin finished with 149 yards on 31 carries and a 36-yard scoring run, his longest of the season.
"Maybe we can get some momentum from this and turn our season around," Martin said.
For all their heroics, though, the Jets (3-6), who lost four games by blowing fourth-quarter leads, had to hold on. The rusty Patriots, coming off a bye, woke up in the final quarter for 14 points, and three times got the ball back when down by seven.
"I was sure we weren't going to blow this lead," said Martin, who signed a six-year deal with the Jets last year. "I was standing on the sideline watching and praying."
It was another sweet victory for Parcells over his former team, which he left in a dispute with Patriots owner Robert Kraft in 1996. The Jets got started on their run to the AFC title game last year by beating New England on a Monday night.
"Like I told the players, even though we are 3-6, it is too soon to quit," Parcells said.
Martin's TD run made it 14-3, and when Drew Bledsoe's ill-advised bomb into the wind was picked off by Marcus Coleman and returned 26 yards, New York was in good position again with 48 seconds left in the half. On third down, Lucas hit Fred Baxter from the 11 for a 21-3 halftime lead.
The New York Jets defeat the Pats for the second time this year.(AP) Windows Media
The Patriots (6-3), who blew a chance to tie for first place in the AFC East, then responded, scoring on a 13-yard screen pass to rookie Kevin Faulk. They came right back with a 31-yard pass to Troy Brown, making it 24-17 with 6:58 remaining.
Lawyer Milloy's interception runback three plays later to the Jets 27 gave the Patriots excellent field position. But Bledsoe threw four straight incompletions, and they never threatened again.
"There was never a time when I thought we were going to lose the game," Bledsoe said. "It was just a question of when."
When never came.
The Jets, who had three sacks, put together a nice drive early in the second quarter when they got the wind at their back and Lucas went 5-of-5. From the 1, Keyshawn Johnson slipped into the right corner of the end zone to take Lucas' scoring toss.
"I'm glad he did what he did against New England," Johnson said. "It shows that everyone ain't right in this world evaluating talent. He can play quarterback in this league."
New York appeared to get out of that hole on a diving catch y Wayne Chrebet for 29 yards, but the Patriots challenged the call and got the reversal, forcing a punt.
New England gained 75 yards in the first half and didn't get any better in the third quarter. Bledsoe, who was intercepted only four times going in, was picked off again by Coleman on a deep pass. Minutes later, his short throw was picked off by Marvin Jones.
"We knew it was going to come down to this," Coleman said of the defense shutting down the Patriots. "It didn't surprise us."
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