CLEVELAND -- A new quarterback named Brett threw two long touchdown passes for the New York Jets.
One day after acquiring three-time MVP Brett Favre, seldom-used Brett Ratliff tossed scoring passes of 70 and 71 yards and Dwight Lowery returned a punt 62 yards for the go-ahead score as the Jets rallied to defeat the Cleveland Browns 24-20 on Thursday night.
Jets coach Eric Mangini, impressed with his team's comeback and excited by Favre's presence, paid tribute to former starter Chad Pennington, who was released earlier Thursday.
"Chad's a classy guy, a true pro and I wish him nothing but the best," Mangini said. "In terms of this season, it is a unique opportunity for this organization to get a special player. You can feel (Favre's) excitement and his passion."
Favre's big-play ability rubbed off right away on both sides of the ball for the Jets, who were joined on the sideline by their new star quarterback.
"It was a great example of everything we've been practicing," Mangini said. "The change of momentum, the big plays ... they're things we are trying to reinforce on a daily basis."
Mangini will add eliminating costly penalties to the list.
The Browns got yet another chance in the final seconds after a roughing-the-passer penalty and pass interference call put the ball on the 5. Dorsey tossed his ninth consecutive incompletion on the possession as time expired.
Favre, acquired late Wednesday night from the Green Bay Packers, joined his club an hour before kickoff, held a news conference, then watched one of his former teammates have a big night for his new team.
David Clowney, picked up on waivers by the Jets from the Packers last October, caught both TD passes from Ratliff and had four catches for 163 yards overall.
"It felt great," Clowney said. "He put both balls in the perfect spot for me to catch."
The news wasn't all good for New York. Tight end A.J. Schable was taken from the field on a stretcher after a head-to-head hit on a kickoff return by the Browns early in the fourth quarter.
Mangini said he was encouraged to see Schable moving his arms and legs as he was taken to a hospital for tests.
Play was delayed an hour by lightning with 4:11 left in the first quarter.
As Favre walked to the Jets locker room, it was reminiscent of two previous trips he made to Ohio in 2003. Favre and the Packers had their appearance cut short in the Hall of Fame game in Canton by torrential rains and lightning. Nine days later, they arrived in Cleveland minutes before the massive power outage that crippled the northeast and Canada for several days. Favre went 7-for-10 the next night in a preseason game against the Browns.
Edwards gave Cleveland a 7-0 lead with a spectacular one-handed catch of a ball thrown well behind him. It capped a nine-play, 62-yard drive on the Browns' first possession.
"It was a heck of a catch and hopefully we have a lot more of those coming," Anderson said. "I threw it where I intended, maybe a little bit back. But I knew he can get those. We've been working on that play."
Anderson was 4-for-5 for 20 yards, twice connecting on passes to Donte Stallworth, who was signed away from the New England Patriots as a free agent.
Ratliff entered on the Jets' third possession and promptly threw 40 yards down the middle to Clowney, who outran Cleveland defenders for his 71-yard score to tie it at 7.
Wright's run put Cleveland back ahead before Mike Nugent's 20-yard field goal on the final play of the first half brought the Jets within 14-10.
Reda kicked field goals of 26 and 39 yards to put Cleveland up 20-10 with 13:01 remaining.
Then Ratliff faked a handoff to an empty backfield and found Clowney down the left sideline for a 70-yard score with 12:05 remaining.
Brady Quinn replaced Anderson and played through the third quarter, completing 13 of 17 passes for 133 yards and one interception.
"I thought Quinn did a nice job," Browns coach Romeo Crennell said. "After the interception, he came back and drove down the field for a score. That's what you want to see."
Ratliff spent the first quarter on the sideline next to Favre, then went 14-for-20 for 252 yards and two TDs.
The Jets' revamped offensive line gave good protection against a Browns defense seeking to apply more pressure on quarterbacks. Free-agent additions Alan Faneca, from Pittsburgh, and Damien Woody, from Detroit, were brought in to help an offense that ranked 26th in total yards and allowed 53 sacks, fourth most in the NFL last season.
Cleveland signed Shaun Rogers, from Detroit, and traded a second-round pick to Green Bay for Corey Williams to beef up a defensive line that had only 28 sacks and ranked 30th in team defense last season.
|Brett Favre, expected to practice Saturday, watches his new team from the sideline. (US Presswire)|
|NY Jets (1-0-0) «||0||10||0||14||24|
NYJ - Pass: B. Ratliff (14-20, 252), Rec: D. Clowney (4-163)|
CLE - Pass: K. Dorsey (8-26, 139), Rec: M. Rucker (5-70)
|TD||Braylon Edwards, 2 Yd pass from Derek Anderson (Phil Dawson kick is good), 4:49. Drive: 9 plays, 62 yards in 4:48.|
|TD||David Clowney, 71 Yd pass from Brett Ratliff (Mike Nugent kick is good), 13:01. Drive: 1 play, 71 yards in 0:10.|
|TD||Jason Wright, 1 Yd run (Phil Dawson kick is good), 8:06. Drive: 9 plays, 65 yards in 4:55.|
|FG||Mike Nugent 20 Yd, 0:00. Drive: 17 plays, 83 yards in 8:06.|
|FG||Jason Reda 26 Yd, 1:55. Drive: 16 plays, 81 yards in 8:23.|
|FG||Jason Reda 39 Yd, 13:01. Drive: 7 plays, 40 yards in 2:43.|
|TD||David Clowney, 70 Yd pass from Brett Ratliff (Mike Nugent kick is good), 12:05. Drive: 2 plays, 75 yards in 0:56.|
|TD||Dwight Lowery, 62 Yd punt return (Mike Nugent kick is good), 10:02.|
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