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Tampa Bay at New York

Testaverde shows Jets he can still do it in win over Bucs

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- More than anything, Vinny Testaverde wanted to make his teammates believe in him.

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He did that and more Sunday. The 41-year-old Jets quarterback looked comfortable in the pocket, guiding two scoring drives and getting rousing cheers in helping the Jets beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14-12.

Two weeks ago, Testaverde was on his couch in Long Island watching starter Chad Pennington and backup Jay Fiedler go down within minutes. He phoned coach Herman Edwards to offer his services. Now Testaverde has given his team a renewed confidence, and perhaps saved the season from ruin.

"My goal was to get the guys to believe in me, so we can get the season turned around," Testaverde said. "I think they believe in me. I believe in them."

Going into the game, the Jets (2-3) had one win and were on their fourth starting quarterback of the season. The offense was in a shambles. A year that started with so much promise was on the brink of disaster. But Testaverde took command the moment he stepped on the field.

The Meadowlands crowd welcomed him back with a standing ovation.

"It sent chills through me," Testaverde said. "I wish I could express how I felt. I had goosebumps all over when I went out on the field."

Testaverde finished 13-of-19 for 163 yards with an interception, but got plenty of help. Curtis Martin rushed for his first two touchdowns of the season, and the defense harassed Brian Griese and the rest of the Bucs (4-1).

Tampa Bay played without injured running back Cadillac Williams because of foot and hamstring injuries, and could never generate anything offensively. Michael Pittman, who filled in for Williams, finished with 13 carries for 46 yards, while Griese was 27-of-42 for 226 yards with an interception.

The Jets had three sacks and limited Tampa Bay to 285 yards despite 71 plays. That averages to 4 yards a play.

Tampa Bay was 2-of-14 on third down and also committed 12 penalties for 87 yards. Matt Bryant was the lone bright spot with four field goals (35, 36, 43, 30).

"They got after us early," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. "We had sacks in our first five or six passes. That will knock any quarterback out of rhythm."

Still, the Bucs had a chance in the end. They forced the Jets to punt with 1 minute remaining but ran out of time trying to get into field goal range.

The day might have been meant for Testaverde, in his second stint after his first ended following the 2003 season. He spent last year in Dallas, but was out of football for nearly nine months before putting on the familiar green and white.

"He made a couple of good throws for a guy who has been home eating potato chips," Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber said.

It took a while for the Jets to take their first lead of the game. On the first possession of the second half, Testaverde expertly led the Jets down the field, going 3-for-3 for 32 yards on the series.

But it wasn't easy. The Jets went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1. Martin plunged in to put the Jets up 14-9. Martin finished with 59 yards on 23 carries.

The lone miscue of the day for Testaverde nearly cost the Jets. Barber intercepted a hurried Testaverde in the fourth quarter, and Tampa Bay converted the turnover into points when Bryant kicked a 30-yard field goal with 4 minutes remaining.

But that was as close as it would get.

Early on, the Jets failed to give Testaverde much help. Two interceptions were called back because of penalties, including one late in the second quarter.

New York capitalized on its lone takeaway in the first half, but there were some fireworks. After Ty Law returned an interception 43 yards to the Bucs 8, Martin carried for 3 yards. That's when Kevin Mawae and Barber got into a heated exchange; Barber swung at Mawae but inadvertently hit umpire Butch Hannah in the eye.

Rather than getting ejected, Barber was given a 15-yard personal foul penalty. The Jets scored one play later, when Martin ran from 2 yards.

Now the Jets hope to use the victory for momentum for the rest of the season.

"It's a big win for us after what we went through the last couple weeks," receiver Wayne Chrebet said. "It's a step in the right direction."

Notes

  • Jets backup running back Derrick Blaylock (broken foot) is out for the season. The Buccaneers announced no new injuries, but Gruden said Williams will be questionable heading into next week's game against Miami.
  • Former Jets tight end Anthony Becht had two catches for 6 yards for Tampa Bay.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Vinny Testaverde isn't exactly spectacular, but gives the Jets what they need.
 
Vinny Testaverde isn't exactly spectacular, but gives the Jets what they need. (AP)
 

 

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Sun. Oct. 9Final
360312
NY Jets
(2-3)
077014
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
FGMatt Bryant 35 Yd, 8:09. Drive: 9 plays, 27 yards in 4:50.
2ND QUARTER
FGMatt Bryant 36 Yd, 11:21. Drive: 14 plays, 46 yards in 7:03.
TDCurtis Martin, 2 Yd run (Mike Nugent kick is good), 7:32. Drive: 2 plays, 8 yards in 0:33.
FGMatt Bryant 43 Yd, 0:05. Drive: 13 plays, 65 yards in 2:48.
3RD QUARTER
TDCurtis Martin, 1 Yd run (Mike Nugent kick is good), 9:05. Drive: 10 plays, 59 yards in 5:55.
4TH QUARTER
FGMatt Bryant 30 Yd, 4:00. Drive: 12 plays, 74 yards in 4:46.
Players of the Game

C. Martin
Rush 23
Yds 59
Avg 2.6
TD 2
Atlanta

M. Bryant
FG 4/4
LG 43
XP 0/0
PTS 12
 
Tampa Bay
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
B. Griese27/4222601
RushingATTYDSTDLG
M. Pittman1346010
E. Graham71808
M. Alstott31209
B. Griese3805
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
J. Galloway587026
A. Smith546017
M. Pittman741015
I. Hilliard52708
M. Alstott1909
E. Shepherd1909
A. Becht2604
J. Cook1101
New York
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
V. Testaverde13/1916301
RushingATTYDSTDLG
C. Martin2359212
V. Testaverde1202
D. Blaylock3104
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
L. Coles689031
D. Jolley346022
J. Cotchery21407
C. Baker111011
D. Blaylock1303
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
PIT 24 Final
SD 22
CIN 20 Final
JAC 23
WAS 19 Final
DEN 21
PHI 10 Final
DAL 33
CAR 24 Final
ARI 20
IND 28 Final
SF 3
SEA 37 Final
STL 31
TEN 34 Final
HOU 20
NO 3 Final
GB 52
BAL 17 Final
DET 35
CHI 10 Final
CLE 20
MIA 14 Final
BUF 20
NE 31 Final
ATL 28