McAllister played his first game of the preseason, and reserve quarterback Todd Bouman guided two scoring drives as the Saints rallied for a 22-17 victory Saturday night.
The Saints scored three second-half touchdowns in a much improved performance from their opener against Philadelphia, a 27-17 loss in which the starters were in on 10 plays and McAllister sat out.
The star running back finished with 11 carries for 45 yards - including a nice 17-yard run in the second quarter through the middle of the Jets' defense.
"We went in the first half wanting to set the tone running the ball and stopping the run," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "We were able to do both of those. ... Overall, we were much better than last week."
With the starters playing the first half, the Saints (1-1) trailed 7-3 at halftime after Chad Pennington threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Conway with 28 seconds left.
The Saints settled for a field goal in the second quarter after failing to convert a third-and-12 from the Jets 22.
"I felt a little rust but I felt good," McAllister said. "We are still in the stages of getting used to everything. We had the opportunity to make some plays and put points on the board but missed out. We are still a work in progress."
Lynaris Elpheage put the Saints in great shape in the third quarter. He broke four tackles and returned a punt 54 yards to the Jets 23.
Bouman then threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Boo Williams. Jamie Henderson blocked the extra point, so the Saints took a 9-7 lead. Doug Brien then kicked a 49-yard field goal in the third to put the Jets (1-2) up 10-9.
But Bouman keyed a 15-play, 65-yard drive that took up 7:13, ending with a 1-yard touchdown run by James Fenderson on third-and-goal in the fourth quarter. He went 8-of-12 for 79 yards.
Third-string quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Keaton with 7:17 remaining to extend the lead to 22-10. Jets running back Johnathan Reese scored on a 1-yard run with 30 seconds left in the game.
McAllister, Aaron Brooks and the Saints' starters played the first half, with a much better showing than in their loss to the Eagles. Brooks went 9-of-16 for 88 yards and looked sharp.
"I thought we had a pretty good first half," Brooks said. "We have some things to build on and that's what we want. That was our first test. I felt like it was all right."
Pennington and New York's starters also played the first half but were inconsistent. Pennington finished 14-of-20 for 141 yards and completed his first eight passes of the game.
They threw plenty because the running game was not doing much. In the first half, the Jets had 13 carries for 28 yards for a 2.2 average and a long run of 7 yards by LaMont Jordan.
"We have to play better," Jets coach Herman Edwards said. "For the most part we have been playing in spurts."
Nonetheless, they had plenty of chances to score. On their first possession, the Jets went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, but Jordan was tackled for a 2-yard loss.
That wasted a 13-play, seven-minute drive in which Pennington went 5-for-5 for 47 yards. Trailing 3-0, the Jets put together a drive that started on their on 17-yard line. After Pennington completed an 18-yard pass to Wayne Chrebet down to the Saints 25, center Kevin Mawae was called for holding and the Jets were forced to punt.
They finally scored on their final possession of the half. Conway finished with three receptions for 30 yards, and Santana Moss had five receptions for 62 yards, including a 20-yarder to help set up the touchdown drive.
"We are disappointed that we didn't stick it in on the initial drive when we got down to the 1," Pennington said. "Other than that, I feel like we played a pretty good half."
Saints starting defensive end Darren Howard sprained his right knee in the first quarter and did not return. ... New York running back Curtis Martin got his first touches of the preseason, finishing with four carries for 5 yards.
The Associated Press News Service
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