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Change Is All Good

October 21, 2002|From Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Curtis Martin hopes Chad Pennington's performance Sunday changes the way opposing teams look at the New York Jets.

Pennington, in the second start of his three-season NFL career, completed 24 of 29 passes for 324 yards to lead the Jets past the Minnesota Vikings, 20-7.

"Some of my friends would say to me, 'Curtis, we're coming in there to shut you down,' " Martin said. "That's not the case anymore. Now when teams look at us, they know they can't put the eight-man front in there."

With Pennington opening up the offense, and the defense suddenly looking more aggressive, the Jets (2-4) won for the first time since opening the season with a victory over Buffalo in overtime.

Minnesota (1-5) -- coming off a victory over the Detroit Lions -- has lost 13 consecutive road games.

Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss struggled to connect. Culpepper threw three interceptions, and Moss had only four catches for 86 yards.

Jet receiver Santana Moss had his first 100-yard game in his two NFL seasons, making five catches for 111 yards. He came into the game with only six receptions for 109 yards.

New York's maligned defense forced four turnovers.

Linebacker Mo Lewis had his best game of the season, making an interception, forcing the key fumble and putting constant pressure on Culpepper .

"We have a lot of talented players, and what they need to do is play together as a football team and believe in what we're doing," Jet Coach Herman Edwards said. "We did that today. They have a lot of pride, and they don't want to play the way we played the last four weeks."

Pennington gave the Jets a 10-0 lead just before halftime when he threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles.

In the third quarter, Pennington guided the Jets on a six-play, 90-yard drive that included a 46-yard completion to Moss and a 28-yarder to Coles. Martin completed the drive with a five-yard touchdown run that made the score 17-0.

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