EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Brian Griese looked like his dad and Terrell Davis looked like his old self. That was enough for the Denver Broncos to beat the New York Jets, 30-23, Sunday.
The comeback magic the Jets have possessed all season helped them overcome a 17-0 deficit. But they couldn't stop Denver's offense when it mattered most, and they couldn't get in the end zone from the two in four tries in the final minute.
"It's big," said Griese, the son of Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese. He was coolly efficient--particularly on third downs--in passing for 327 yards and two touchdowns to Ed McCaffrey.
"I'm happy the way this game ended, because it will give the defense extra confidence in the big plays they made," Griese said.
Most of the big plays belonged to Griese, however. Denver (5-4) converted 12 of 18 third downs, including a 47-yard pass to McCaffrey for the winning points. He also had a 49-yard connection with Rod Smith on third down to set up Jason Elam's third field goal, a 23-yarder that broke a 20-20 tie.
"He made great throws in a lot of different situations," McCaffrey said. "He's still young, but he keeps making the plays."
An arrest on suspicion of drunk driving during the bye week didn't bother Griese. He was 23 for 35 in exploiting the Jets' leaky secondary.
"It's been a tough week for me and I was happy to go back on the field and put all that stuff behind me," said Griese, who has thrown 18 touchdowns and three interceptions this season.
Davis, returning from foot and ankle injuries that hobbled him since the season opener, rushed for 115 yards. It was his first 100-yard game since Denver won its second consecutive Super Bowl in January 1999.
"It felt pretty good," Davis said. "It felt like a normal game, normal flow."
New York (6-3) threw four times with the ball at the Denver two-yard line on its final drive, including Vinny Testaverde's lob under heavy pressure that fell short of wide-open Richie Anderson in the end zone on fourth down. "We ran those same plays and had success with them," Testaverde said. "That's not anything new for us. All the plays we called were good plays. We just have to get them done as players."
Griese's precision passing was evident almost immediately as he led Denver 70 yards on 13 plays on its second series. He converted four third downs with passes, including a one-yarder to McCaffrey to make it 7-0. McCaffrey never got into the end zone, but stretched the ball across the goal line.
The Jets had four turnovers in a loss at Buffalo last week and three in the first half Sunday. Curtis Martin bobbled a pitchout and Denver's Maa Tanuvasa recovered at the New York 31, leading to Elam's 31-yard field goal. Then Testaverde's pass from the Denver 11 was tipped by John Mobley and intercepted by Kenoy Kennedy to end a threat.