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Jet Win Sends Special Message

September 24, 2001|Associated Press

FOXBORO, Mass. — Herman Edwards wasn't about to keep the game ball from his first victory as an NFL head coach. He knew it belonged to the city of New York.

Edwards said he would give the ball from the Jets' 10-3 win over the New England Patriots to the grieving city and let Mayor Rudy Giuliani decide what to do with it.

"To all the people that have worked and tried to save people's lives, it's only fitting that this belongs to them," Edwards said Sunday.

After the Sept. 11 attacks at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Jet players pitched in. Curtis Martin was among those who loaded supplies on trucks for rescuers. Vinny Testaverde went to the site five days after the disaster to talk with and comfort police, firefighters and other workers.

On Sunday, Martin ran for 106 yards and the only touchdown and Testaverde completed 16 of 28 passes for 137 yards, including five completions on the touchdown drive. And the defense forced four turnovers and knocked quarterback Drew Bledsoe out of the game in the fourth quarter.

"He got his bell rung," Coach Bill Belichick said, although the team did not say whether he suffered a concussion. "He was out."

Sitting on a stretcher, Bledsoe was rolled out of the locker room for an ambulance trip to a hospital for observation.

On any other Sunday, all that would be the stuff of headlines.

"I think we all came here with the burden of having to win it for the city," Martin said.

The Jets (1-1) enjoyed their defensive performance after being beaten by Indianapolis, 45-24, in their opener, Edwards' first game since succeeding Al Groh, who quit after last season.

James Farrior, who intercepted Bledsoe's pass in the end zone and returned it 47 yards with 7:22 left, said, "It's a pretty happy feeling with all the things that happened. We wanted to get it for the city of New York. We went and played our hearts out."

The Patriots (0-2) reverted to their usual Sunday activity of wastoog chances and losing a game. They finished last in the AFC East last season with a 5-11 record. On Sunday, they committed three turnovers inside the Jet 10 and two of them led to the 10 points.

"You can't win games that way," Patriot receiver Troy Brown said.

Bledsoe was hit hard as he ran toward the sideline by Mo Lewis with 5:01 left in the game. Bledsoe returned for the next series, which ended with the Patriots' fourth turnover on Marc Edwards' second fumble. But Tom Brady replaced Bledsoe on the final series.

"Drew took a tremendous shot," Brown said. "He really scared me. He's big, but he got blasted."

The game began after an emotional ceremony in which Patriot guard Joe Andruzzi's brothers, all New York firemen, were introduced as honorary captains and participated in the coin toss.

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