Jets squander chance to go 3-4

The Jets dropped their record to 2-5 for the second straight season with a 24-17 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles. The loss keeps Gang Green at the bottom of the division at 3 ½ games behind the first place New England Patriots. <BR><BR>

Vinny Testaverde started the game at quarterback and led the Jets to a field goal on their opening drive to make the score 3-0. He also guided the team to a touchdown but let Chad Pennington take over in the second quarter with Philadelphia ahead 14-10. Testaverde finished the day completing 7 of 11 passes for 112 yards which included a 60-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Santana Moss. Pennington completed 14 of 24 for 154 yards with an interception in his first game of action for this year in coming back from a wrist injury suffered in preseason.

The Jets offense was effective in moving the football as they accumulated a total of 363 yards compared to 277 for the Eagles. Philadelphia, however, came up with the key plays that ultimately determined the outcome of the game.

The game's turning point came early in the fourth quarter with a costly turnover by the Jets' offense. With Gang Green ahead 17-14 early in the last period, Pennington and company had good field position due to a missed field goal by Eagles' kicker David Akers. But the opportunity to pull away was squandered as Pennington would under-throw a play-action pass to his wide receiver. The play resulted in an interception by safety Michael Lewis and set up the Eagles with favorable field position.

Philadelphia would then take advantage of the Jets' giveaway by driving 57 yards in seven plays for a touchdown. The scoring drive was capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass by Donovan McNabb to fullback Jon Ritchie as Philadelphia gained the momentum.

New York's offense was unable to respond from Pennington's mishap as they were stopped on a fourth-and-one conversion on the next series. The Eagles once again used the field position to their advantage as it set up 30-yard field goal by Akers. Gang Green had one last chance but could not produce a tying score as they ran out of time.

Running back Curtis Martin took a step toward returning to his elite form as he is looking to prove his doubters wrong by turning his season around. He rushed for 110 yards on 20 carries for a 5.5 average. The star runner has yet to rush for a touchdown this year but is on pace to break the 1,000 yard rushing barrier once again.

The defense kept Philadelphia's offense under control for the most part but could not stop their ground attack. It has been an ongoing dilemma for the team throughout the entire season as the Eagles rushed for a total of 194 yards. They were led by running back Correll Buckhalter who pounded his way to a 100-yard rushing day with two touchdowns.

McNabb put together a gutsy performance despite hearing boos from his home crowd in completing 17 of 23 passes. He did not take too many chances in throwing for only 141 yards but kept his team in position to win the game by limiting his mistakes to just one interception.

The loss to the Eagles prevented a three game winning streak that could have allowed the Jets to gain ground in their competitive division. They are the only team in the AFC East with a losing record and time is running out for them to contend for a playoff spot.

The Jets face their housemates in the Giants next week in what is considered a home game. The Giants bounced back from a three game losing streak by beating the previously undefeated Minnesota Vikings 29-17. Their current record stands at 3-4.

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