Jets come back to life

EAST RUTHERFORD -- Herman Edwards told his players at the beginning of one long week that ``If you're not, like, pissed off, something's wrong.''

And yes, some Jets admitted that they played the Buffalo Bills angry Sunday.

``We were ticked off,'' safety Sam Garnes said, ``but nobody really spoke about it.''

``I've been ticked off for ... '' tight Anthony Becht said, laughing as he tried to remember how long it had been. ``When I lose they get a chance to point a finger at me. And I don't want that.''

As linebacker Marvin Jones summed up, ``It got to the point where we got tired of (bleeping) losing.''

So the Jets did something about it, shredding the Bills, 30-3, to finally get their season going. And it's deja vu all over again as the Jets find themselves at 1-4 for the second straight season, and we all know what happened last year.

``From your lips,'' said relieved general manager Terry Bradway, ``to God's ears.''

``I know you're going to think I'm crazy,'' said Curtis Martin, who, after all, has played in a Super Bowl, ``but this was probably the biggest win of my career.''

The Jets fashioned that victory on offense with 77 rushing yards from Martin and two Becht touchdown catches from Vinny Testaverde, easing the offense's red-zone pain. They did it on special teams with two long Santana Moss punt returns into Bills territory that set up 10 of their points.

And they did it especially on defense, as they swarmed over Travis Henry (18 carries, 53 yards) and sacked Drew Bledsoe seven times, two by NFL leader Shaun Ellis and two more by nose tackle Jason Ferguson.

And all of this was accomplished with John Abraham as a (relatively) healthy non-participant.

``Everybody just moved on,'' Garnes said of Edwards' decision to deactivate Abraham for his Oct. 1 DWI arrest, which most of the players knew about Saturday but which wasn't announced until 3 p.m. Sunday. ``John is a great player and one of our teammates, but when somebody goes down, you have no time to worry about it.''

Well, maybe they fretted a tad, through a first quarter that looked a lot like their 16 previous rough quarters. The Bills were leading late in the period, 3-0, and the Jets were in search of a spark.

Enter middle linebacker Marvin Jones, who showed his tinder was quite dry by slashing into the hole off his left end and slamming Henry down for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the Jets 34.

``It was definitely a big play right there,'' Jones said, ``because if a team gets down in that area and can't get a yard, that hurts the morale a little bit.''

``Once Marvin made that shot,'' Ferguson said, ``that's what got us hyped.''

The offense struggled to its feet with Testaverde's first TD pass to Becht, from a yard out past linebacker London Fletcher. Two more dreaded red zone field goals by Doug Brien gave the hosts a 13-3 lead at halftime.

Then the floodgates opened as Buffalo, playing without top wideout Eric Moulds (groin) on offense and down to their fourth tackle on defense, lost more morale.

One play after Moss's 47-yard punt return, Testaverde dropped an 18-yard TD into Becht's hands on a corner route over safety Lawyer Milloy.

``We really haven't run that route at all,'' Becht said. ``I've run it for three years now, but we've never thrown it in the game. But I keep running it hard.'' It finally paid off. The next drive was capped by a 4-yard hitch to Moss, the new flanker starter who beat corner Nate Clements to the pylon. Suddenly, the Jets, who had not led for one second in the second half this season, were ahead, 27-3 heading into the fourth.

And then the defense turned up the heat, tacking on three turnovers -- interceptions by Aaron Beasley and Ray Mickens and Walters' fumble recovery -- to give Gang Green a plus-4 takeaway day.

``We actually added a couple of things,'' coordinator Ted Cottrell said of the defensive game plan, contrary to the impression Edwards gave during the week that the Jets' overall approach would be simplified. ``Our whole thing was consistency. We played the way we're capable of playing today.''

Cottrell could beam like a proud papa this day -- the Bills' 2.88 yards per play was the defense's best game of the 40 games under Cottrell's direction.

Speaking of direction, the Bills don't like the way they're headed.

After a 2-0 start that had some suggesting their were of championship timber, they have lost three of four, have a dysfunctional offense, and have become the closest team the Jets can start to think of overhauling in the AFC East standings.

``There is no way to sugarcoat it or hide it,'' first-year Bills linebacker Takeo Spikes said. ``It's the bottom.''

The Jets, meanwhile, have to remind themselves that until recently, they were at rock bottom. ``We're still 1-4, we've still got that reality to face,'' Martin said. ``But we're headed in the right direction.''

That direction, in fact, is to the Super Bowl -- actually, to Reliant Stadium, where this season's Super Bowl will be played. They take on the Texans (2-3) on Sunday, another beatable team that could help the Jets feel even better about themselves and their chances.

And at least one Jet who didn't get to participate directly in the festivities will be hot to trot at Houston.

``Shaun's running away from John in their sack competition,'' Garnes said. ``I know this week, John can't wait to get back out on the field.''

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