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Curse of the Jets Taking Strong Hold on Dolphins

November 19, 2001

Curtis Martin's green No. 28 jersey will continue to hang in Miami defensive end Jason Taylor's locker at the Dolphins' training complex for at least another year.

"It's going to stay there until we win," Taylor said leading up to Sunday's game against the New York Jets. "Come Sunday, I'll be done with it."

Not if he keeps his word.

The Dolphins lost to the Jets--again--for the eighth consecutive time. The 24-0 loss matched Miami's longest losing streak against any opponent. In the Dolphins' first four seasons, 1966-69, they lost eight in a row to--you guessed it--the Jets.

Miami linebacker Zach Thomas was much calmer, and a lot quieter, after this loss to New York. It was a stark contrast to his outburst in New York last month, when he criticized himself and teammates for blowing a 17-point halftime lead at the Meadowlands.

"Anytime you lose, you're upset, but that game up there was a little different," Thomas said. "It's easy to be the loser and do all the talking, but I'm not going to be that guy. I tried to help the team out last time; I was disappointed because we should have had the game."

Although Thomas handled it differently, the loss didn't sit well with other Dolphins. "It does get frustrating to go out there and play your [butt] off and then basically hand them the game with turnovers for touchdowns," cornerback Patrick Surtain said. "We can't have that and win football games."

Receiver Oronde Gadsden said the Dolphins must move ahead.

"No excuses will make the pain go away," he said. "I've been here four years and I'm 0-8 against the Jets. It's just rough. You don't want to go into a shell. You have to find a way to get over it."

They Got His Number

In addition to enshrining Jim Kelly's name on their Wall of Fame, the win-starved Buffalo Bills should consider suiting up their former great.

"I've heard it 10,000 times in the last month: 'We need you to come back,"' said Kelly, the Bills most prolific passer, who led them to four consecutive Super Bowls in the early 1990s.

Does Kelly think he can still play five years after he retired? "You give me a month," he said, "and I could come back and play better than 60% of the quarterbacks in this league."

We think he was kidding.

During the Wall of Fame ceremony at halftime of the game against Seattle, Buffalo owner Ralph Wilson made the surprise announcement of Kelly's number being retired--a first in the team's 41-year history.

A huge No. 12 banner then unfurled in the crowd, and an emotional Kelly had trouble speaking.

"This is the greatest thing that could ever have happened in my life, and it took everybody pulling together in this city," Kelly said. "This is one big family. Thank you very much, I love you all."

Unfamiliar Territory

It didn't used to be this way when George Seifert coached the San Francisco 49ers.

But his 1-9 record with the Carolina Panthers, including a 25-22 overtime loss to his former team Sunday, has triggered rumblings of a firing despite him having two years left on his contract.

Panther players seem to understand the urgency. "We all know the ramifications, because they are the same for ourselves," cornerback Doug Evans said. It's a performance-based sport and that goes for all of us, the players and the coaches."

In the meantime, the players are continuing to support Seifert and trying their best to stay positive.

"You are on this team and he's the head coach and he's a proven winner," safety Mike Minter said. "It's not like he came off the street somewhere. ... He's a winnerand anyone who is doubting that doesn't understand football."

Attitude Adjustment

Quietly--which is an accomplishment in itself--Arizona's David Boston is turning into one of the league's best receivers. Coming into Sunday, Boston, 23, led the NFC with 864 yards receiving and had 80 more and two touchdowns in a 45-38 victory over Detroit.

"I think the country is starting to learn a lot about what he can do," quarterback Jake Plummer said. "You wouldn't believe the amount of people who come up and say, 'Hey, I've got David on my fantasy team and he's tearing it up."'

Before this season, if Boston was known at all, it was for being known to taunt opponents and showboat, even when his team was hopelessly behind.

He was featured on a video shown to all NFL teams in training camp on how players should not behave. Boston was embarrassed, and so was his father, NFL line judge Byron Boston, who let his son know what he felt about it.

The younger Boston got the message. "I don't want my reputation to be known like that," he said. "Some of these guys, like Terrell Owens, have that reputation of taunting, dancing in the end zone. Nobody says anything too bad about them. I just want to be known as a guy who does what he does on the field."


Jet Dominance

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