By Mark Walters
Newly acquired Jets QB Brett Favre watches his teammates during their 24-20 win over the Browns in Cleveland.
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
In likely an NFL first, the action on the sideline was more closely monitored than the game, as all eyes were on new Jets QB Brett Favre in street clothes as he joined his teamates for the first time as they took on the Cleveland Browns for their first pre-season game of 2008.
Oh...by the way, the Jets won the game 24-20 highlighed by two long TD passes from QB Brett Ratliff to WR David Clowney.
“Someone’s trash-time is another man’s treasure.”
The words came from the CBS TV announcer just before Cleveland QB Ken Dorsey threw a blatant interception to the Jets’ rookie CB Dwight Lowery. It was a backup quarterback throwing away his trash-time, and a rookie making good of his.
The quote could not have rung anymore true for Lowery. To complement his pick, Lowery took a punt 60 yards to the house to give New York the lead 24-20, and for good in Gang Green’s preseason opener at Cleveland.
The Jets punted after Lowery’s interception, but the defense held the Browns twice. CB Hank Poteat picked Ken Dorsey, allowing QB Erik Ainge to make his NFL debut, and the Gang Green defense kept the Browns out of the end zone.
Lowery’s punt return was the Jets’ shortest touchdown, however, as WR David Clowney scored twice —the first a 71-yard catch, the second a 70-yard grab—both of which were delivered by QB Brett Ratliff.
Kellen Clemens started for Gang Green, but his playing time was short-lived as he came out in the first quarter with 31 yards on 4-for-6 passing.
Cleveland struck first, a 5-yard Derek Anderson pass to the right side of the end zone to WR Braylon Edwards. It was a beautiful one-handed grab.
Cleveland took the lead 14-7 in the 2nd quarter when Jason Wright scored on a 1-yard run, but Gang Green cut into the Cleveland lead before the half as K Mike Nugent nailed a 20-yard attempt to make it 14-10. The field goal came after QB Brett Ratliff moved the ball downfield solidly.
Ratliff was stellar for the Jets, completing 14 of his 20 passes for 283 yards, 2 touchdowns and no picks.
On the ground, the Jets chewed up 59 yards, 20 of which belonged to Musa Smith. Rookie RB Rodney Kinlaw ran for 15 yards on 5 carries, while Thomas Jones had 11 yards on 4 attempts.
GRADING THE JETS
It’s tough to tell with preseason games, but with the way Ratliff guided the Jets downfield, fans have got to be pleased with Favre’s backups. There were no interceptions, which means something with how much the Jets threw the ball. The two deep balls to Clowney were impressive, but still, nothing amazing.
Cleveland outgained New York 382-342, and the Browns moved the ball efficiently early in the game. Starting QB Derek Anderson—unlike Clemens—did what he came to do, throw a touchdown. And what a beauty it was, the one-handed grab to WR Braylon Edwards. While New York had 3 picks, penalties plagued the Jets D, at least twice extending drives that could’ve easily hurt Gang Green.
Cleveland’s starting field position after kicks was a little better than the Jets would have hoped, but who can forget Lowery’s 60-yard punt return for a touchdown?
Eric Mangini called a timeout late in the 4th quarter with the game well in-hand, something that was likely scoffed at by many a Jet fan. Why would he do such a thing? The timeout was a smart move for Mangini, who was simply trying to acclimate his team and personnel to the routine of a game. Perhaps some more Clemens would’ve been nice, but all-in-all, a solid game for Mangini.
Lowery Nearly Flawless, Almost a Goat
With the Browns near the end zone late in the 4th quarter, CB Dwight Lowery handed Cleveland four more chances to win the game as he committed a pass interference penalty on 4th and 10. Lowery’s hold set up 1st and goal, but Dorsey failed on all four of his attempts to throw the game-winning touchdown. The final pass was batted down by DB James Ihedigbo.
Raining on Green Parade
Much like last weekend’s Green-White Scrimmage at Hofstra, the Jets were rained on heavily and had to clear the field for almost an hour during the first quarter in Cleveland.
Favre All Business
Brett Favre said during his pregame press conference in Cleveland that he’s here for one reason, and that’s to help the Jets win. He said he thinks his new teammates will like him, and he’s excited about the opportunity.
After scoring one of his 2 touchdowns, WR David Clowney was Johnny-on-the-Spot when he made the tackle on the ensuing kick return.