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UNDEFEATED

By Justin Paley
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
October 17th, 2004

The Jets are 5-0 for the first time in team history after a comeback 22-14 victory over the San Francisco 49ers today at the Meadowlands.

The Jets are 5-0 for the first time in team history after a comeback 22-14 victory over the San Francisco 49ers today at the Meadowlands.

Jets Head Coach Herman Edwards talked about what being 5-0 means.

“I’m really happy for the players,” Edwards said. “I told them that history is a great lesson in the fact that when you’re a player or a coach, you really don’t think about it. You don’t really think about it until you retire or 20 years from now when you can say, I was on that team that won more five games in Jet history. That says a lot for those players and coaches. And they deserve it.”

In the first half it seemed that the 49ers were the undefeated team and the Jets only had one win instead of the other way around.

The 49ers scored on their third possession of the game as QB Tim Rattay hooked up with WR Brandon Lloyd for a 33-yard score. Todd Peterson kicked the extra point and the 49ers led 7-0. The Jets secondary was no where near Lloyd on the play as CB Donnie Abraham and CB David Barrett were both beat badly. The drive went 78 yards in seven plays and 4:42.

The Jets punted on their next possession and the 49ers took over on their own 12 yard line. The key play of the drive came on 1st and 10 from their own 33, as Rattay hit WR Arnaz Battle for a 65-yard completion. The Jets secondary was burned once again as FS Erik Coleman and S Jon McGraw missed tackles. On the next play, RB Kevan Barlow ran in for the two-yard score and after K Todd Peterson’s extra point, the 49ers led 14-0 with 7:23 left in the first half.

Jets Defensive Coordinator Donnie Henderson usually calls the game from the press box but at this point, the defense was playing flat and something drastic needed to be done. Henderson came down from the press box and berated his defense and stayed on the sidelines for the rest of the game.

On their next series, the Jets finally put points on the board as Doug Brien, last week’s hero, kicked a 43 yard field goal to cut the deficit to 14-3.

The 49ers got the ball back with 2:12 left in the first half and while the Jets were able to keep the 49ers off the scoreboard, the Jets used all three of their timeouts to stop the clock.

San Francisco then punted and the Jets punt return unit almost gave the ball back to the 49ers as David Barrett fumbled the punt, but WR Justin McCareins recovered.

The Jets started their final drive of the first half from their own 16 with 1:13 left until halftime. Offensive Coordinator Paul Hackett’s play calling was suspect on the drive as the Jets passes were in the open field and not anywhere near the sideline.

The Jets headed into the locker room under a chorus of boos from the fans at the Meadowlands and down 14-3.

Whatever was said in the locker room at halftime seemed to have sparked the Jets as it seemed it was a totally different team in the second half.

In the second half, the Jets defense forced the 49ers to punt four times and forced two turnovers. Edwards talked about the difference between the defense last year and this year.

“Their energy,” Edwards said. “We have some playmakers over there with the ability to make plays. That’s what they have to do. And they play that way.”

The Jets offense also clicked in the second half putting up 19 points.

RB Lamont Jordan was put into the game with the Jets driving on their first possession of the second half. Jordan provided a spark to the team, carrying the ball for eight yards on his first attempt and then rushing 17 yards for the Jets first touchdown of the day on his next attempt. The Jets attempted a two-point conversion and were unsuccessful but still pulled within five points at 14-9. Edwards talked about the decision to go for the conversion.

“The first time, the way the game was going. Generally, I don’t go for two until the fourth quarter. We felt we should.”

Jordan has played sparingly this season and was happy to make an impact when put in the game.

“It’s a great feeling right now,” Jordan said. “After everything that happened in the off-season, to finally get out there and actually help my team get the win, it’s a great feeling.”

“When the game was over, I went up to him and thanked him,” RB Curtis Martin said of Jordan. “He sparked our team, he sparked me and he’s a valuable part of this team.”

After San Francisco punted on their next possession, the Jets took over with 59 seconds left in the third quarter. Pennington was a perfect 4-for-4 on the drive and Martin capped off the 11 play, 91 yard drive by scoring his first TD of the day. The Jets again went for a two-point conversion and again were unsuccessful but did take their first lead at 15-14 with 11:41 left in the game.

Pennington finished 20-of-30 for 222 yards. After the game, Pennington talked about how the Jets were able to come back.

“We stayed focused, did not panic,” Pennington said. “I think that shows the character of a team.”

WE John Abraham made his presence felt on the next possession, sacking Rattay on third down.

The Jets went three and out after the 49ers punt and the 49ers got the ball back with 7:38 left in the game on their own 38. Rattay moved the ball to the Jets 35 but on 3rd and 16, was not able to complete his pass and the 49ers were forced to punt.

The Jets got the ball back with 4:18 left and a chance to finish the 49ers but were unable to do so as they had to punt.

With 1:44 left in the game and 1st and 10 on his own 35, Rattay dropped back to pass intended for FB Terry Jackson but Jets rookie LB Jonathan Vilma stepped in front of it for the interception and returned it 14 yards.

“That was a situation where I was looking downfield and I didn’t like what was there, so I was trying to find my running back and was trying to get the ball away and throw it away,” Rattay said of the interception

Vilma has played solid the past few weeks in place of injured LB Sam Cowart. Vilma talked about making an impact as a rookie.

“It is great just to get respect from the veterans,” Vilma said. “You know they are going to say you are a rookie and things like that and you have to prove yourself. And it is good that I am proving myself with my play.”

Pennington handed off to Martin four straight times and on the fourth attempt, Martin scored, Brien kicked the extra point and the Jets led 22-14 with 25 seconds left in the game. Martin finished the day with 111 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns.

After the ensuing kickoff sailed into the end zone for a touchback, the 49ers had one last chance. The Jets defense would not allow it as DE Shaun Ellis sacked Rattay for a loss of 10 yards and on the final play of the game, LB Jason Glenn recovered a fumble.

Vilma talked about the defense making big plays late in the game.

“We emphasize that in practice,” Vilma said. “The coaches always emphasize turnovers in practice.”

MISCELANEOUS TIDBITS

The eight Jets inactive for today’s game were QB Brooks Bollinger, CB Derrick Strait, S Rashad Washington, LB Sam Cowart, G Brandon Moore, G Pete Kendall, T Marco Cavka, and WR Santana Moss…Martin moved past Marcus Allen for eighth place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list…WR Jerricho Cotchery made his first career reception…Edwards said there were no new injuries…For the second straight week, the Jets held the opposing team’s running back to under 100 yards as Barlow rushed for 79 yards.

The Jets now head to New England next week for a showdown of 5-0 teams when they meet the Patriots. Check back to Jets Insider.com often for all the latest news as the Jets prepare for the Patriots.

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