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PRO FOOTBALL : Bennett Continues to Have Impact as Bills Win : He Teams With Another Rookie, Shane Conlan, in Shooting Down Jets, 17-14

November 23, 1987| From Times Wire Services

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Shane Conlan and Cornelius Bennett, a pair of first-round draftees who were linebacker phenoms in college, were sensational Sunday as the Buffalo Bills beat the New York Jets, 17-14.

Conlan led the way with 10 tackles, while Bennett had 5 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks. Helped by gusting winds and fierce pressure by linemen Bruce Smith and Fred Smerlas, the Bills shut down New York's passing attack for most of the game.

"It was my speed against their speed and they lost the battle," Bennett said of the constant pressure he applied to quarterback Ken O'Brien and the Jets trying to block for him. "My job is to be in his face and I'm happy I can do it."

Bennett arrived in Buffalo three weeks ago as part of the three-team trade that landed Eric Dickerson in Indianapolis. Bennett has had a major impact on the Bills' defense in all three of his appearances.

"He certainly makes it a lot easier for the whole defense," said Conlan, who moved to inside linebacker when Bennett joined the Bills. "I think it's going well. I'm very satisfied with how the team played and, personally, with the way I played."

The Bills' offensive and defensive lines dominated the second half, as Bennett and Conlan were involved in just about everything defensively.

"I'd like to think some of it was the couple of good licks we had on them," said Conlan, who delivered many of those hits. "We were really ripping into them out there."

The Bills, who won only four games last season, are now 5-5. The Jets are also 5-5.

"It's still a long season to go," said Smith, who matched Bennett with 5 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks. "We've got to keep going with the same type of attitude and same type of consistency that we've been having and things will work out our way."

The Bills broke a seven-game losing streak against the Jets.

Jamie Mueller, a rookie running back from NAIA Division II Benedictine (Kan.) scored the only Buffalo touchdown of the second half on a two-yard dive. That capped a 68-yard, 10-play drive that began after Ricky Porter returned the second-half kickoff 29 yards.

Scott Norwood added a 42-yard field goal later in the third quarter. It was set up by a 39-yard pass play from Jim Kelly to Walter Broughton.

In the first half, Kelly and Broughton connected on a 25-yard touchdown pass play. The reception was Broughton's first of the season and extended Kelly's consecutive game streak with a touchdown pass to 15.

The Jets took a 7-0 lead on a fourth-down, 39-yard touchdown pass play from O'Brien to Mickey Shuler with 7:50 left in the first half.

That was New York's only score until Kurt Sohn caught a four-yard touchdown pass deflected by Bennett with 57 seconds to go.

Kelly finished with 21 completions in 33 attempts for 214 yards. O'Brien was 18 of 40 for 225 yards.

The Jets' Freeman McNeil, who was demoted to second string two weeks ago, had his second consecutive 100-yard game, rushing for 103 yards in 20 carries.

The cold weather cut the crowd to 58,407, with 18,484 no-shows.

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