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Several Helping Hands Carry Jets to Victory Over Bears

November 27, 2000|From Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Long arms and sure hands kept the New York Jets' playoff drive going.

Defensive end Shane Burton blocked three passes, giving him seven this season. Wideout Dedric Ward had his best game of the season, sparking a surprisingly effective passing attack in wet conditions. And the Jets avoided their season-long penchant for critical turnovers in defeating the Chicago Bears, 17-10, Sunday.

The Jets (8-4) put together their second consecutive strong effort on defense, limiting Chicago (3-9) to 98 yards passing and forcing three fumbles by James Allen.

"We worked all week at batting passes," said Burton, a former Bear who has 25 tipped passes in his five-year NFL career. "They've given up a lot, one in every game, especially with Shane Matthews, who is a shorter guy. I'm 6-foot-6, and if I get my hands up, it helps.

"I've had a lot of success on it going back to college."

Matthews had almost no success, finishing 13 for 32. And Allen, who rushed for 122 yards to provide nearly all of the Bear offense, kept losing the ball.

Chicago's misfiring attack didn't get into the end zone until there was 5:14 left, on Matthews' six-yard pass to Marty Booker. Before that, it was 17-0 for the Jets, who generally have struggled in the first half all season.

Rookie Anthony Becht caught a two-yard touchdown pass from Vinny Testaverde after Allen's first fumble. John Hall made a 20-yard field goal after the second turnover, and Richie Anderson scored on a 15-yard reception with 32 seconds left in the first half.

With stars Wayne Chrebet and Curtis Martin shut down by the Bears and the weather, the Jets turned to Ward, who had six catches for 93 yards; Anderson, who had six for 69; and Bernie Parmalee, who also caught six passes, for 48 yards.

The sloppy conditions hurt the Bears early as Allen fumbled at the Chicago 45 when hit by Roman Phifer. Testaverde immediately found Ward for 33 yards, then connected with Ward for 12 more before hooking up with Becht on the two-yard score.

"Dedric was another guy who stepped in and made some key plays for us, especially the long ball down the sideline, catching the wet ball and tightroping the sidelines," Testaverde said.

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