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JETS 26 - VIKINGS 13

By Dan Powell
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
December 17th, 2006
Jets DT Dewayne Robertson tackles Vikings RB Chester Tayor during NY's 26-13 win over Minnesota.
Jets DT Dewayne Robertson tackles Vikings RB Chester Tayor during NY's 26-13 win over Minnesota.
With a huge road win in Minnesota, the Jets put a significant dent in the Vikings playoff hopes while resuscitating their own dreams of January football. After a 26-13 beating of the Vikings, the Jets find themselves tied for a wild card spot with two games remaining, both against lackluster opponents.

Things did not look good for the Jets early on, as a fumble by quarterback Chad Pennington gave the Vikings the ball deep in Jets territory just 46 second into the game. Minnesota then struck first blood on a 30-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Travis Taylor. However, the Jets would quickly bounce back to dominate the rest of the first half behind a strong outing from Pennington.

The veteran signal-caller was virtually flawless the rest of the half as he threw for 247 yards and a touchdown on 22 of 28 passing before the break. The Jets went on to score 23 unanswered points before halftime and led 23-7 despite a botched field goal attempt.

“Chad’s done a really good job and he made a lot of really good decisions today,” head coach Eric Mangini said of his quarterback. “I’m sure he’ll continue to do that.”

Pennington stayed hot as the second half started, leading the Jets all the way down to Minnesota’s one-yard line before the drive stalled out, forcing Mangini to settle for a field goal. Kicker Mike Nugent nailed the 20-yard attempt, his fourth successful try of the day, to give the Jets a 26-7 lead with just over four minutes remaining in the third quarter.

While Mangini and company were no doubt frustrated by the failure to get into the end zone, but it did not matter much as Gang Green’s defense was outstanding all day long. The Jets defense was smothering, allowing very few receivers to get open while continuing to bring pressure on quarterback Brad Johnson. It was not until after the Vikings pulled Johnson in favor of rookie Tarvaris Jackson that they managed to move the ball.

Jackson brought the Metrodome back to life. Fans roared as the 23-year-old out of Alabama State, who is touted as the quarterback of the future, made his debut. Jackson was fairly impressive. He showed elusiveness and excitement, as Jackson escaped the Jets pass rush several times while going 14 of 23 for 177 yards with a touchdown.

However, when the Vikings failed on a two-point conversion after the touchdown and tight end Chris Baker recovered an attempted onside kick, the Jets had a chance to put the game to bed. But Pennington would allow Minnesota to linger with his first interception of the day.

Jackson then continued to thrill, running for a first down on fourth and six then completing a deep pass over the middle down to the Jets 30. Still, Jackson’s inexperience ultimately won out as cornerback David Barrett intercepted a pass in the end zone to end any momentum that the Vikings had going.

“The way these guys have worked all week has made me happy,” Mangini said of his team’s effort. “The way they went out and played as a whole as a team makes me even happier.”

While Mangini and Gang Green were certainly satisfied with this week’s effort, you can bet their focus has already shifted. With just two weeks left and tied for a playoff spot, the Jets are ready to hit the practice field to prepare for their Christmas trip to Miami.

INSIDER TIDBITS

-Star wide receiver Laveranues Coles took a tough shot to the ribs from linebacker Ben Leber on the Pennington interception. Coles was laid on the ground for a while but hobbled off the field under his own power. Although there has been no official report on his status, it appears that Coles, who has been praised for his toughness by Mangini all year, will be ready to go by next week’s game in Miami.

Coles had a monster day before getting hurt. He led the way for New York’s receivers with 12 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown reception.

-The Jets knew coming in that they would likely have a tough time running the ball against the top-ranked Minnesota rush defense; and right they were. The Jets managed just 68 yards on 29 carries but Pennington and the passing game picked up the slack.

Pennington ended up with a career high 339 yards on 29 of 39 passing. He was also the teams second leading rusher with 11 yards on three carries.

-The Jets have to like their odds as they hit the road to take on arch-rival Miami, who sit a 6-8 after a loss to the Bills next week. The Jets improved to 5-2 on the road with today’s win. -

Chad Pennington started his 14th game this season, his new career-high for one season. He started 13 games in 2004.

-Pennington was 29-for-39 for a career-high 339 yards, one touchdown, one interception today for a passer rating of 98.1. It was his fifth career game with more than 300 passing yards. His previous career-high was 324 yards (24-for-29, one TD) versus Minnesota in 2002. Pennington was 11-of-14 for 133 yards in the first quarter and finished the first half 22-for-28 for 247 yards and a touchdown.

-In four career games in domed stadiums, Pennington is 85 of 115, 968 yards, 9 TD, 2 INT for 117.6 passer rating.

-Laveranues Coles had a season-high 12 receptions for 144 yards and a 21-yard touchdown catch. Coles now has 502 career receptions and 320 as a Jet, which is eighth on the Jets all-time list. Coles finished the first half with eight receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown.

-Coles’ 21-yard touchdown reception was his team-leading sixth of the year. The touchdown reception gave Coles 86 receiving yard today, and 1,007 for the season. For Coles, it’s the third time he has surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in his career.

-Coles and Jerricho Cotchery (6-56) combined for 18 receptions for 200 yards. On the season, they now have 158 catches combined, tied for the second highest single-season total for a tandem in Jets history. Justin McCareins’ 50-yard reception in the first quarter is McCareins’ longest reception as a Jet. He finished with two receptions for 70 yards.

-Brad Smith’s 19-yard reception in the first quarter is the longest reception of his career.

-Cedric Houston’s six-yard touchdown run in the first quarter (12-67-6:33 on the drive) is his fifth rushing touchdown of the season. Cedric Houston’s 53 yards rushing (21 carries) gives him 330 yards for the season to set a new season-high for Houston.

The 62 rushing yards allowed by the Jets is the least they have allowed this season. The previous low was 86 in the opener versus Tennessee.

-Jonathan Vilma was credited with three tackles, giving him 100 on the season. He is the first Jets LB since Kyle Clifton (1984-86) with at least 100 tackles in his first three seasons.

-Ben Graham’s pass attempt in the first quarter was the first of his career. The pass was intended for Mike Nugent.

-Victor Hobson’s first-quarter sack of Brad Johnson was his fifth of the season and third in the last two games. Hobson had eight tackles to lead the Jets.

-C.J. Mosley’s second quarter sack was his first of the season and first for the New York Jets. Eric Barton’s third quarter sack was his third of the season.

-David Barrett’s fourth quarter interception was his third of the season and 16th of his career.

-Dewayne Robertson’s six total tackles ties his season-high.

-Mike Nugent kicked four field goals (25, 52, 45, 20) to extended his streak to 13 consecutive successful field goal attempts. He has now hit 18 of his last 19 attempts. He is 2-for-3 over 50 yards this season. The four successful field goals tie his career-high for a single game.

-B.J. Askew’s three receptions for 15 yards set his new single-game career high and bring his single-season totals to six receptions for 36 yards.

- Leon Washington’s 38-yard punt return in the second quarter was his career-long.

-The Jets wore all-white uniforms for the first time since the Week 3 game at Buffalo, a game won by the Jets, 28-20.

-Stacy Tutt made his first NFL appearance on the kickoff return team on the opening kickoff.

The team returns to NY tonight and Mangini will have his regular Monday press conference at 2:30 PM. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com for a complete recap!

RICH CIMINI FAN CHAT THURSDAY 12/21!

You are not going to want to miss this!

Be sure to log on to Jets Insider.com on Thursday (Dec 21) at 8:00 PM for a live online fan chat session with NY Daily News Jets Beat Writer RICH CIMINI. Rich will take your questions and talk about all the doings at Weeb Ewbank Hall leading up to the Jets - Dolphins game on Christmas night.

Chat is open to everyone. You only need to be registered on the JI messagebord to participate!

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