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Pennington Shines, Jets Corral Colts: 31-7

By Justin Paley
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 21st, 2004

QB Chad Pennington was near perfect as the Jets routed Indianapolis, 31-7 Saturday night. Pennington, who played almost the entire first half, completed 10 of 11 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown.

QB Chad Pennington was near perfect as the Jets routed Indianapolis, 31-7 Saturday night. Pennington, who played almost the entire first half, completed 10 of 11 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown.

RB Curtis Martin as promised got more touches and finished with 7 carries for 22 yards. However, in very un-CuMart fashion fumbled the ball in the first quarter but luckily the miscue did not lead to any Colts points. Martin, also had three catches for 13 yards.

Martinís backup Lamont Jordan had six carries for 18 yards. RB Johnathan Reese was convincing with six touches for 26 yards.

With WRís Santana Moss and Wayne Chrebet sitting out with injuries, WR Jonathan Carter stepped up. Carter has been mainly a kick returner with the Jets but showed he can also catch the football as he had two receptions for 79 yards, including one for 65 yards.

WR Justin McCareins caught two balls for 32 yards and rookie WR Jerricho Cotchery had a quiet night, only picking up one reception for 16 yards.

TE Chris Baker came up big, with three catches for 45 yards, and was the recipient of the TD pass from Pennington.

Backup QB Ricky Ray came in with about 1:30 left in the first half. The 2nd team offensive line did not do a good job protecting Ray, as Colts DE Dwight Freeney blew past rookie LT Adrian Jones, for two consecutive sacks. Ray was picked off by CB Nick Harper in the third quarter as Ray tried to hook up with WR Ken-Yon Rambo for a long touchdown but that Rayís only blemish as he left the game in the fourth quarter after completing 7-8 passes for 53 yards.

QB Chris Finlen got his shot late in the fourth quarter but did not get to throw a pass, handing off to RB Keith Burnell each time. Burnell rushed three times for 22 yards.

The Jets defense got a good test as the Colts used a no huddle offense. The defense still has plenty to work on but had more positives than negatives. On the Colts first series of the game, S Jon McGraw delivered a bone crushing hit, literally on Colts WR Troy Walters, as the hit left Walters with a broken arm. Colts QB Peyton Manning threw a rare interception to the back of the end zone, as CB Donnie Abraham came up with the INT. The Jets run defense needs improvement as Colts RB Edgerrin James ran for 62 yards on 12 carries. However, DT Josh Evans did force James to fumble, recovered by WE John Abraham. It was one of two fumble recoveries for Abraham, who also recovered a fumble by Colts backup QB Cory Sauter. Abraham also picked up a sack. The only big pass play Manning completed was a 44 yard strike to WR Reggie Wayne. S Reggie Tongue and LB Eric Barton, both playing in their first preseason game with the Jets after sitting out last week with injuries, were quiet, finishing with one tackle each.

In the end, the Jets have to be very pleased with the defense who held the Colts to just 7 points and forced Indy into 7 punts. Leading Gang Green with tackles were rookies CB Roderick Bryant with six and LB Jonathan Vilma with five.

RB Ian Smart improved his chances of making the team by scoring two Jets TDís. The first on a one yard goal line plunge and the other on a pretty 59 yard punt return. Overall smart was impressive on special teams with five punt returns for an average of 22.8 yards.

Special teams improved from last week. K Doug Brien was 3-3 on field goals, with a long of 47 yards. Brien and Brian Simnjanovski split punting duties in place of Toby Gowin. Simnajanovski showed a strong leg kicking off, putting the Colts deep in their own territory every time.

Game Notes: The game was filled by penalties by both teams including an uncharacteristic 9 by the Jets and 8 by Indy. The best news of the game is that it seems they will leave indianapolis unscathed injury wise. As of press time there were no reported Jets injuries from the game. Colts WR Troy Walters broke his arm in the first quarter after a hard hit from Jets S Jon McGraw.

The Jets will fly back to New York tonight and the players have the day off tomorrow. The team returns to the field on Monday at 3:30 p.m. in preparation for next Fridayís preseason game against the Giants at 7 p.m. The practice is open to the public and be sure to log on to Jets Insider.com often for all of the latest training camp news and reports.

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