The 49ers have won seven of their past nine Monday-night games and need one victory to tie the Miami Dolphins for the most wins in the history of the series (35). The Jets, however, have Monday-night history on their side as well – albeit more recent history.
New York has won its past four Monday night games. The last of those wins – dubbed the "Midnight Miracle" – featured the greatest comeback in Jets history last October 23. The New York Times wrote the next morning: "What a game. It will go down as one of the best regular-season contests in league history."
Trailing the Miami Dolphins 30-7 after three quarters, the Jets scored a club-record 30 fourth-quarter points and went on to win 40-37 in overtime. New York quarterback VINNY TESTAVERDE became the third player in NFL history to throw four touchdown passes in a fourth quarter. In the period, Testaverde completed 18 of 26 attempts for 235 yards and had a 137.0 passer rating.
The Jets-49ers series has had its excitement as well. The first time the teams met – November 28, 1971 – New York quarterback JOE NAMATH came off the bench in the second quarter for his first action of the season (after being sidelined with a knee injury) and passed for 358 yards and three touchdowns. The most recent meeting – on Kickoff Weekend in 1998 – was an overtime thriller. The 49ers won 36-30 on a 96-yard touchdown run by GARRISON HEARST, the longest rushing TD in NFL overtime history, and one that was dubbed by NFL Films as the "Greatest NFL Run Ever." Hearst rushed for 187 yards that day – the sixth-best total in 49ers history.
Players and coaches alike of each 1-1 team are looking forward to this year's meeting. "It's Prime Time and everyone will be watching," says 49ers rookie defensive end ANDRE CARTER, whose father RUBIN is the Jets' defensive line coach. "This is a great opportunity for us to bounce back after a tough loss. This is a big game, and it's on Monday night. It's my first Monday night game and my father will be there, which I'm excited about."
Father Rubin is just as excited. "I never dreamed in 1979 (when Andre was born) that one day my son would be on the other side of the field from me," he says. "There will certainly be mixed feelings for me. I want to see him do well…but not too well."
San Francisco guard RAY BROWN understands the importance of this early-season contest.
"The game this week against the Jets will be a big test for us," he says. "We are a young team and we are learning. This is a game that can get us over the hump and back to winning."
The 49ers lost to St. Louis 30-26 last week. Jets head coach HERMAN EDWARDS is wary of Niners quarterback JEFF GARCIA.
"The quarterback is the key for them," says Edwards. "Garcia is the guy that makes the plays for them, because he has the ability to step up in the pocket and make throws. He has great feel and great vision."
49ERS-JETS NOTES: Clubs meet for the first time on Monday night……The 49ers are 7-1 all-time against the Jets and have not lost to the Jets in New York (4-0)……In his past four games against the AFC, San Francisco QB JEFF GARCIA has completed 84 of 138 passes (60.9 percent) for 1,091 yards and seven touchdown for a 99.6 passer rating ……Jets QB VINNY TESTAVERDE has thrown for 659 yards and eight TDs in his last two MNF games……Jets RB CURTIS MARTIN seeks his third consecutive game with a TD run. He has 757 rushing yards in nine career MNF games.