The Jets could not turn their season in the right direction as they lost their third straight game of the year to their divisional rival New England Patriots 23-16. The loss drops Gang Green's record to 0-3 as they will remain in last place.
The Jets once again failed to produce a balanced attack on offense to pull out a victory as they were limited to 65 yards on the ground. The inability to run the football forced quarterback Vinny Testaverde to carry the team on his shoulders for the second straight week. But just like the game last week against the Miami Dolphins, Testaverde could not do enough to pull out a victory.
"It's a sickening feeling," Testaverde said. "Losing like this is worse because (we) were in all three games."
Testaverde played admirably by completing 25 of 43 passes for 264 yards and a touchdown. But just like he did in the second game against the Dolphins, Testaverde threw a costly interception that put Gang Green in a hole they could not get out of. He threw an interception to rookie cornerback Asante Samuel in New England territory. The pick was returned 55 yards for a touchdown and gave the Patriots a 23-9 lead 11 seconds into the fourth quarter. The play was a momentum killer for Gang Green but they would not go away.
The Jets would take the next possession and storm down the field for a touchdown drive that covered 68 yards in 4 plays. The drive was capped by a Testaverde scoring strike for 29 yards to wide receiver Wayne Crebet and cut the deficit to 23-16 New England as the Jets had hopes of making a comeback.
Those hopes were put to rest though as Jets kicker Doug Brien would fail to convert a 42-yard field goal to narrow the gap with half of the fourth quarter left to play. The Jets would not be able to put another drive together for a score as they would turn the ball over on downs in their last possession to seal the deal.
Curtis Martin was not able to prove his doubters wrong as he has been denied of gaining 100 yards in every game this season. He was held to 53 yards on 15 carries with no touchdowns.
"It's almost there but we're still not doing enough to help the team win," Martin said.
The inability of Martin to get rolling has put Testaverde under too much pressure to put enough points on the board. If Martin cannot produce the way he has in the past, chances are his backup LaMont Jordan will carry more of the load.
The defense put up a fairly good performance but did not force any turnovers and gave up a total of 147 yards rushing—most of them coming from the running duo of Kevin Faulk and Antowain Smith. Gang Green out-gained the Patriots in yardage 329 to 260 but could not turn those lengthy drives into touchdowns.
The Patriots came into the game short-handed as they have lost their major free agent pickup for the season in linebacker Rosevelt Colvin to a broken left hip and were without their other starting linebacker Ted Johnson due to a broken left foot. Add in the injuries to key players Ted Washington and David Patten (who did not return) and Tom Brady and Ty Law playing banged up makes it quite an amazing accomplishment for New England to escape with a victory.
"We don't ask ‘why us?' said Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi. "We deal with what is happening, no matter who's in there."
The 0-3 start for Gang Green is detrimental to the team's hopes of making the playoffs but the slow start is not something they have not seen before. This is the third straight season the Jets have gotten off to a bad beginning and they have been able to overcome the first two by making the playoffs.
But while head coach Herman Edwards was able to rally the team to the playoffs in 2001 and 2002, it looks like this season will be his toughest task. Edwards will most likely come under fire this week for a questionable fake field goal that failed to convert a first down when the Jets were down 6-3 in the second quarter.
"I am trying to get something going," Edwards said. "I am trying to score touchdowns."
If the Jets are unable to "get something going" their chances of winning next week will be pretty slim. Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells will be returning to Giants Stadium next week fresh off a bye this week. The Tuna will most likely have his team riding high as they will play their second game in the Meadowlands this month after defeating the Giants 35-32 last week. If Edwards and company do not fix this mess, Gang Green could be looking at 0-4 to close out the month of September.
Gang Green loses third straight
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