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Newcomers Shine
By John Melillo
Jets Insider.com, Staff Writer
November 28th, 2004

In a hard-fought battle under the desert sun, the New York Jets defeated the Arizona Cardinals 13-3 to improve to 8-3 on the season and keep pace in a tight AFC playoff race thanks to the play of several key veterans that joined Gang Green during the offseason.

In a hard-fought battle under the desert sun, the New York Jets defeated the Arizona Cardinals 13-3 to improve to 8-3 on the season and keep pace in a tight AFC playoff race thanks to the play of several key veterans that joined Gang Green during the offseason.

On the Jets opening possession, they received a scare as QB Quincy Carter, who has been subbing for injured QB Chad Pennington, suffered a head injury after three Cardinals’ defenders landed on him. Third-string QB Brooks Bollinger was inserted into the lineup and directed three drives during his emergency appearance. Although Bollinger was unable to lead the offense on a scoring drive, the former Wisconsin product performed admirably, completing 5 of 9 passes for 60 yards in his first NFL action.

Midway through the second quarter, Bollinger found himself in his usual role of holding a clipboard as Carter was cleared to play. Carter showed no ill effects of the injury as he directed the Jets offense down the field that resulted in a 28-yard field goal by PK Doug Brien. The drive heavily featured RB Curtis Martin, who rushed for 99 yards on 24 carries in the game.

On their following possession, the Cards’ offense responded by driving 77 yards on 10 plays to tie the score at 3-3. The key play on the drive was a 20-yard completion by QB Shaun King to WR Anquan Boldin, who beat former teammate CB David Barrett on the play. The Cards also benefited from a personal foul penalty on Jets LB Eric Barton, who was called for roughing the passer.

After halftime, the complexion of the game changed dramatically in favor of the Jets as their offense sprung to life. Carter completed 3 of 4 passes on the team’s opening drive of the third quarter, including strikes to WR Justin McCareins for 13 yards and WR Santana Moss for a dozen more to recapture the lead on a 46-yard field goal by Brien.

The Jets’ defense, which forced four turnovers and harassed King on nearly every play, forced another punt on Arizona’s next possession. Starting at their own 31-yard line, Carter showed why he was brought in to be the team’s backup QB this year. On the first play of the drive, the strong-armed Carter faded back into the pocket and launched a perfectly thrown 69-yard TD pass to Moss, which gave the Jets a commanding 13-3 lead late in the third quarter. Carter finished the game 8 of 12 for 133 yards and one touchdown.

The Cardinals appeared poised to respond to the Jets scoring strike, but the Jets defense slammed the door once again as rookie LB Jonathan Vilma picked off a King pass over the middle. That would King’s last pass of the afternoon as head coach Dennis Green inserted former starting QB Josh McCown in the lineup on their next possession. Gang Green’s defense appeared unfazed by the change at QB as they continued to blanket receivers and forced ill advised throws. In his first return to Arizona since joining the Jets as a free agent in the offseason, Barrett forced a fumble after a 12-yard reception by Boldin, which was recovered by Vilma. Barrett later picked off a McCown pass in the end zone with just three minutes remaining. Veteran CB Terrell Buckley put the icing on another stellar performance by Donnie Henderson's crew, intercepting a McCown desperation pass in the waning seconds of the game.

MISCELLANEOUS TIDBITS: According to ESPN.com’s Len Pasquarelli, DE Shaun Ellis agreed in principle to a seven-year contract extension that includes $14 to $15 million in guaranteed money. Ellis was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this season. As for today’s performance, Ellis enjoyed mixed results. Ellis recorded two tackles and a sack, but had two penalties, including a personal foul late in the third quarter…Moss’ 69-yard TD reception in the third quarter was the longest of his career. Moss finished with five receptions for 109 yards….Rookie LB Jonathan Vilma recorded his second career interception to stop a Cards drive early in the final quarter…Jets RB LaMont Jordan continued to shine as an alternative to Martin, rushing for 43 yards on 12 carries…Cardinals RB Emmitt Smith (toe) suffered a toe injury on his left foot late in the first quarter and did not return. He finished with 21 yards on three carries. Rookie RB Larry Croom replaced Smith, finishing with 25 yards on 10 carries…The Jets uncharacteristically were penalized nine times for 85 yards…The much-maligned S Reggie Tongue had a team-high eight tackles…The Jets surrendered just 71 total rushing yards in the game. Martin and Jordan combined for 142 yards on the ground…The last time the Jets were victorious in Arizona was in 1996, which happened to be the only victory that season under former head coach Rich Kotite.

INJURY REPORT:

As mentioned, QB Quincy Carter (head) left the game on their opening possession after suffering a head injury when three Cards’ defenders landed on him. Carter was able to return to the game on the team’s fifth offensive series. Ellis (undisclosed) briefly exited due to an undisclosed injury, but was able to return early in the second half. DL Bryan Thomas took Ellis’ place. The Jets declared QB Chad Pennington, OT Marko Cavka, OL Dave Yovanovits, LB Jason Glenn, WR Jerricho Cotchery, FS Jon McGraw, QB Ricky Ray and LB Victor Hobson inactive for Sunday’s game.

The Jets will face QB David Carr and the 5-6 Houston Texans at the Meadowlands next Sunday. Check back often to Jets Insider.com for all the latest news and reports as the team prepares for the Texans.