EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- On a day of individual milestones, the New York Jets wanted to talk about collective achievement.
|Laveranues Coles celebrates his fourth-quarter touchdown catch.(AP)|
"This is a total team win," said Pennington, who hit Laveranues Coles with a 28-yard touchdown pass into the wind to put the Jets (7-6) in front 17 seconds into the fourth quarter. "The offense came through and grabbed the lead and the defense held it."
Coles, who went over 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his three-year career, came through to make a spectacular grab. He beat Tyrone Poole's single coverage to make a diving catch at the 2, then rolled untouched into the end zone for a 16-13 lead. Coles finished with six catches for 126 yards and has 73 for 1,022 this year.
"It was sort of weird, because my helmet was kind of fluttering around in different directions," Coles said. "I didn't get focused on the ball until the last second.
"One guy does not make the difference."
Not even when that guy is Curtis Martin, who became the 16th player over 10,000 career yards rushing and scored the Jets' other touchdown. Martin did not play a pivotal role Sunday, but he did his share. All of the Jets did.
"That character of fighting to the end and handling adversity until the end, that is where we're getting better," said Martin, who rushed for at least 1,152 yards in his previous seven seasons.
The Broncos (7-6) took a huge hit in losing their third straight, falling despite gaining 369 yards. They were in position to win in the final minutes, but Brian Griese, back from a knee injury, was picked off at the New York 2 by rookie Jon McGraw, his first career interception.
"I don't think we deserve it right now," said Griese, who finished 28-for-37 for 266 yards. "We've lost three in a row and any team that has lost three in a row doesn't deserve to be a playoff team."
New York's bend-but-don't-break defense, led by Marvin Jones' 17 tackles, helped keep the Jets one game out of the AFC East lead. Denver is two games out in the AFC West, trailing the Raiders and Chargers.
John Hall's 21-yard field goal with 5:56 to go gave the Jets a six-point edge. But Anthony Becht dropped a sure touchdown pass one play before that. And Hall had an extra point blocked in the second period, which gave the Broncos late life that McGraw snuffed.
"This speaks a lot for the team's character," McGraw said. "This had huge playoff implications for us."
Denver impressively covered 68 yards on an 8-minute opening drive. Rookie Clinton Portis got his 1,000th-yard rushing on the first play, a 5-yard gain. He also surpassed 100 yards for the sixth time, rushing for 103.
But the Broncos stalled at the Jets 5 and Jason Elam kicked a 22-yard field goal.
The Jets responded with a seven minute drive. One play after Martin went over 10,000 yards with an 8-yard run, he surged into the end zone on the opening play of the second quarter for a 1-yard score.
Hall's extra point was blocked by Kavika Pittman.
That allowed Denver to tie it with another time-consuming march, covering 60 yards in 6:23. Elam connected from 23 yards.
The Broncos messed up another threat when they couldn't gain a yard on two runs from the Jets 30, including Griese's sneak on fourth down.
Denver did not come up short on its next series, moving 67 yards in 1:36 behind Griese's pinpoint passing. He completed the quick drive for a 13-6 lead by hitting rookie Ashley Lelie in the left corner of the end zone with 11 seconds remaining in the half.
The wind kicked up in the second half, costing Denver twice in the third quarter. Elam missed field goals from 33 and 46 yards into the gusts, while Hall nailed a 43-yarder, making it 13-9.
"I lined up, thought I was OK, then I felt the wind," Elam said of the 46-yarder. "I've never felt anything like it. The wind was unbelievable."
- Denver TE Shannon Sharpe returned from a dislocated elbow and had nine catches for 100 yards.
- Griese went over 1,000 career completions and is at 1,019.
- Martin finished with 57 yards.
- Jets TE Chris Baker hurt his neck and shoulder.
- The Jets honored the "New York Sack Exchange" at halftime.
- The alltime series is tied 14-14-1.
- Veteran guard Dave Szott played every down in his first appearance as a Jet.
The Associated Press News Service
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