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Jets Win Tuna Helper Battle

The way the New York Jets were playing, it looked like the New England Patriots knew exactly what was coming.

And with former Jets defensive coordinator Bill Belichick coaching the Patriots, maybe New England did.

New England sure looked like a winner, leading by 12 points with under 10 minutes to play. Suddenly, though, the Jets started playing like they had a spy in the Patriots' defensive huddle as Vinny Testaverde passed for two touchdowns to Wayne Chrebet in the final 6:25, rallying New York to a 20-19 victory Monday night.

"We really hurt ourselves with physical and mental mistakes early on," Testaverde said. "The defense kept us in it by holding them to field goals. We told ourselves to keep hanging in there."

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Game Summary

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  • The Jets forced New England to settle for four field goals by Adam Vinatieri in the first three quarters, but Drew Bledsoe's 6-yard pass to Eric Bjornson finally got the Patriots in the end zone, making it 19-7 with 9:56 left.

    A Jets comeback seemed unlikely, largely because Testaverde had completed just seven of 26 passes to that point.

    With New England's defensive backs blanketing his wide receivers, Testaverde turned to fullback Richie Anderson.

    "They were matching up linebackers on running backs and defensive backs on the receivers," Testaverde said. "When that happens, Richie can beat a linebacker every time."

    Anderson caught five passes for 78 yards on the ensuing 85-yard drive, with all five receptions resulting in first downs.

    "Vinny was finding me open and throwing the ball to me," Anderson said. "It's a special feeling to catch them one after the other. The more you get the ball, the more focused you get to keep it going."

    Anderson's fifth catch was a 22-yarder to the 4, and a facemask penalty put the ball on the 2.

    From there, Testaverde's pass deflected off Lawyer Milloy's hand to Chrebet for a touchdown that made it 19-12.

    "It was a matter of time before we exploded," Chrebet said. "That first TD was lucky because it went off the defender's hand and into my face."

    New England appeared to regain control with a drive to the Jets 35, but a third-down sack by rookie Shaun Ellis forced a punt, and New York took over on its 28 with 2:28 left.

    While the previous drive was slow and steady, the second was quick and surgical 44 yards to Dedric Ward, who had his second straight 100-yard receiving game, and 28 to Chrebet for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:55 left.

    "I told Vinny I was going to try to run by (the defender) and told him, 'Just give me a chance,"' Chrebet said.

    New York went for a 2-point conversion, but the Patriots stuffed Curtis Martin, who gained just 47 yards rushing.

    A shared sack by Ellis and fellow first-round pick John Abraham and then another sack by Abraham on fourth down finished off the Patriots.

    "Vinny was, as always, an outstanding quarterback," said Belichick, who was the Jets' head coach for one day back in January before moving on to New England.

    "He made some great throws at the end, as I've seen him do many times. Wayne made some great catches, as I've seen him do many times."

    The Patriots took their 12-point lead behind the passing of Bledsoe, who was 25-of-43 for 229 yards, Kevin Faulk's 82 yards rushing, and Terry Glenn's six catches for 81 yards.

    But settling for field goals hurt New England.

    "We need to get the ball in," Belichick said. "We were down there plenty of times. We've got to come up with more points."

    Testaverde, who finished 16-of-37 for 281 yards and three touchdowns, including a 4-yarder to Fred Baxter in the first quarter, got just enough.


  • The last time the Jets started 2-0 was in 1994, when they finished 6-10.
  • Patriots defensive back Larry Whigham sprained his right knee in the first quarter and did not return.
  • New England tackle Greg Robinson-Randall injured his right arm in the second quarter.
  • New England controlled the ball for 11:01 of the scoreless third quarter, 20:33 of the second half and 30:54 of the last 45 minutes.
  • The Patriots were 7-for-10 on third-down conversions during one stretch of the second half. They finished 7-for-12 in the half and 11-for-22 overall.
  • Patriots C Damien Woody left the game in the fourth quarter with a head injury.... Both of Baxter's touchdowns last season came against New England.

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