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VIKINGS 37 - JETS 20
By Andrew Scharff
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 17th, 2007
Former Jets QB Brooks Bollinger is welcomed back to the Meadowlands by DE Shaun Ellis. (Jets Insider.com Photo
Former Jets QB Brooks Bollinger is welcomed back to the Meadowlands by DE Shaun Ellis. (Jets Insider.com Photo
On a night where Jets turnovers led to 24 Vikings points the team showed a national audience that they have a lot of work to do before facing the Patriots on opening day.

Usually when a team puts up 34 points on your team it is usually the defense’s fault. Friday night Jets head coach Eric Mangini couldn’t really place all the blame on his defense for this one. The Jets offense played as sloppy as humanly possible Friday night in their 37-20 loss to the Vikings at the Meadowlands.

“There some plays that showed pretty good awareness. And then there were a whole lot of plays that weren’t very good,” Mangini said after the game. “It’s obviously disappointing and I told them after the game if they think that anybody has the impression it’s ok because it’s preseason, they’re wrong and they better understand they’re going to work very hard to get these mistakes corrected.”

The Jets offense turned the ball over four times, which to lead to 24 Vikings points. QB Chad Pennington threw two interceptions (both of which were unlike Chad) and QB Kellen Clemens had one interception and one botched snap that turned into a touchdown.

Pennington and Gang Green did not get off to the start they hoped for. Pennington, who did not throw a pass during last week’s win over the Falcons, was intercepted by Vikings S Darren Sharper on his fourth pass attempt. Sharper then returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.

Pennington and the rest of the first team would respond. Pennington hooked up with his favorite receiver Laveranues Coles for gains of 12 and 13 yards. The Jets thought they had the game tied but WR Jerricho Cotchery was pulled down at the Vikings one yard line. As he was getting up Cotchery spiked the ball knowing that he should have been in the end zone, but unknowingly he took a penalty which sent the ball back to the six.

RB Leon Washington would get the Jets back to the one on the next play, but Pennington could not get the ball in the end zone as his next two pass attempts were incomplete. The Jets had to settle for a Mike Nugent 19 yard field goal.

It looked like the Jets would continue to chip away at Minnesota’s lead as the Vikings went three and out on their first possession. But on the Jets ensuing possession Pennington got intercepted again. Pennington dropped back to pass and under tremendous pressure. Pennington spotted Washington near the sideline, but he failed to spot Vikings LB Chad Greenway who stepped in front of the pass and then walked 16 yards for touchdown.

Things just kept coming down in the Jets face. After getting nice return on the ensuing from WR Wallace Wright, the Jets failed again to score a touchdown when inside the red zone. Again the Jets had to settle for Nugent field goal with this one coming from 34 yards out.

After Vikings rookie running back Adrian Peterson scored on a three yard touchdown run to make it 21-6 Minnesota, Mangini decided to lift Pennington from the game and put in Clemens.

Clemens did not have an immediate impact, as in his first series he went three and out. After a Shaun Ellis sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery, Clemens got another chance to do something positive as he started his next series deep in Minnesota territory. Facing third and 10, Clemens found WR Justin McCareins and he turned what looked to be nine yard completion into 35 yard touchdown pass. McCareins made two good cuts and just relied on his speed to beat the Vikings defenders to the end zone.

Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell hit 54 yard field goal as time expired in the first half to give the Vikings a 24-13 lead going into the locker room.

The struggles for the offensive continued in the second half. With the ball deep in Jets territory, Clemens fumbled the ball on a 2nd and 10. Luckily for Clemens, Pete Kendall was their to fall on top of the ball. But Clemens would not get lucky again because on the ensuing play, Kendall who was playing center sent over the head of Clemens. While Clemens attempted to pick the ball up Clemens kicked it in the Jets end zone where Vikings defensive end Brian Robison fell on it for a touchdown.

Things would continue to go the Vikings way and the offense would continue to give the ball away. On the Jets ensuing drive, Clemens threw a pass to WR Chansi Stuckey. Stuckey was not able handle the pass cleanly and he ended up deflecting the ball into the outstretched arms of Vikings cornerback Dovonte Edwards. Edwards interception led to a 22 yard Longwell field goal which gave Minnesota a 34-13 lead.

The Edwards interception meant the night was done for Clemens, as Brad Smith came in to play quarterback. But like Pennington and Clemens, Smith didn’t fair much better. He did lead his team down the field, but he wasn’t able to put any points on the board.

Smith got his team inside the 10, but like the other quarterbacks, Smith had trouble finding the end zone and would ultimately turn the ball over. On a fourth and goal, Smith could not handle the Kendall’s snap.

After Smith had his troubles Mangini put in Marques Tuiasosopo. Tuiasosopo found TE Jason Pociask for 23 yard touchdown pass to make the score look prettier (34-20). But nothing in Friday’s game was pretty for the Jets.

INSIDER TIDBITS

Injury Report

Jets RB Thomas Jones did not play Friday night (calf). Along with Jones, Jets S Eric Smith (leg), CB Justin Miller (hamstring), FB Stacy Tutt (foot), TE Joe Kowalewski (hamstring) all did not play.

Ware gets a load

With Jones out with a calf injury, someone had to pick up the slack in the running game and that person was rookie Danny Ware. With Leon Washington playing with the first team, Ware got a bulk the carries with the second team. Ware had 11 carries for 45 yards.

Bollinger returns to NY

Former Jets quarterback Brooks Bollinger returned to his former stomping grounds. Bollinger played pretty well as he went 2-for-4 for 27 yards, as well as rushing for 18 yards on 2 carries.

“It was fun. It always fun to see those guys,” Bollinger said.

Bright spots

Some how, some way their were some bright spots for the Jets Friday night. Shaun Ellis had a good night with two sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. S Raymond Ventrone had solid night on return coverage. Ventrone had three tackles while seeing time on the kickoff coverage team.

It will be a long Sunday

The Jets are off on Saturday and they will return to practice on Sunday. They will have one practice at 2 p.m.

“I think it’s going to be high intensity and a lot of hard work,” Clemens said. “And there is not a guy this locker room who is happy with the performance today. So as players we will come to work and fix the things we did poorly.”

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