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Parcells' Plan Works to Perfection--for the Jets : AFC: New York uses strong running game and opportunistic defense to defeat Patriots, 24-17.

October 17, 1994|From Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Strong running and a defense that forces turnovers form the foundation of Bill Parcells' teams. On Sunday, his New England Patriots learned why.

Johnny Johnson rushed for 122 yards in 21 carries, Brad Baxter had two short-yardage touchdowns and the New York Jets got three takeaways in a 24-17 victory over New England.

The Jets overcame six sacks, two turnovers and a missed 32-yard field goal by the usually reliable Nick Lowery, although Lowery did make a 37-yarder with 1:36 left.

"I mentioned two weeks ago that we said we were going to put the saddle on Johnny Johnson's back," quarterback Boomer Esiason said. "And today we rode him to victory."

They also got help from Baxter, who hadn't scored this season, even though he is the Jets' prime weapon near the goal line.

"When we get in short yardage or in deep, that is my time," Baxter said. "Nine out of 10 times, I get it. I'm supposed to get it in."

The Jets improved to 4-3 with their second victory after a three-game slide. The Patriots (3-4) have lost two in a row.

Parcells, who coached the New York Giants to two Super Bowls with the Meadowlands as his home base, saw quarterback Drew Bledsoe struggle for the first time this season.

Bledsoe came into the game leading the league in passing attempts, completions and yards. But the aggressive Jet defense, led by Ronnie Lott and Mo Lewis, held him to 242 yards, 45 coming after the game was decided.

"Turnovers were monumental," Parcells said. "We dug a hole we just couldn't get out of."

The Patriots finally got untracked early in the fourth quarter, marching 77 yards in 15 plays and converting twice on fourth downs before former Jet running back Blair Thomas scored on a four-yard run.

That made it 21-14 and the Patriots forced a punt. Bledsoe fumbled when sacked, though, and Paul Frase recovered at the New England 23. Lowery soon missed the field goal.

New England couldn't take advantage and James Hasty got New York's third sack on fourth down at the Patriot 36, leading to Lowery's clinching field goal.

Matt Bahr made a 40-yard field goal with 23 seconds to go, then the Jets recovered an onside kick.

"It was one of those games that was a defensive game," said Lewis, who had 11 tackles. "I'm glad most of it was on our side of the ball."

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