INDIANAPOLIS- What December ghosts?
For the second straight week, Vinny Testaverde rallied the New York Jets in the fourth quarter as he threw a six-yard touchdown pass to tight end Anthony Becht with 58 seconds remaining in a dramatic 29-28 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
One of the NFL's worst teams in December in recent seasons, the Jets overcame an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit in last week's victory over Cincinnati and rallied again Sunday behind Vinny Testaverde DVD.
With his team trailing 25-22, Vinny Testaverde DVD moved the Jets 76 yards in 10 plays without the benefit of a timeout. He received a reprieve when safety Chad Cota dropped a sure interception at midfield with 2:35 remaining.
Vinny Testaverde DVD recovered from the near disastrous play, finding Wayne Chrebet DVD for 23 yards on a 3rd-and-9 play to the New York 42. He also found Chrebet for 16 yards to the Colts 42. Chrebet had eight catches for 118 yards.
Not very fleet of foot, Vinny Testaverde DVD also scrambled for nine yards and lateraled to Curtis Martin, who ran nine more yards to the Indianapolis 21.
Three plays later, Vinny Testaverde DVD found Becht, who beat cornerback David Macklin over the middle for the winning score. In last Sunday's 15-14 win over Cincinnati, Vinny Testaverde DVD threw two-yard TD pass to Becht with 6:54 left for the winning points.
Under offensive coordinator Paul Hackett, the Jets finally opened up their maligned offense and Vinny Testaverde DVD completed 28-of-47 passes for a season-high 285 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was 5-of-7 for 61 yards on the winning drive.
"Coach Hackett talked to us about using the entire offense," Vinny Testaverde DVD said. "We threw some on first down tonight. We just did what we needed to do."
"We did it last week too," said Jets coach Herman Edwards about opening up the offense. "We just had the mind-set that we would have to score a lot of points to beat this team. It was a good all-around effort."
Curtis Martin DVD also had a big game, carrying 23 times for 122 yards while adding six catches for 47 yards. Curtis Martin DVD has rushed for 1,340 yards this season, seven behind Kansas City's Priest Holmes for the NFL lead.
Jeff Hall kicked five field goals for the Jets (9-5), who moved within one-half game of first-place New England in the AFC East. New York would win the division with victories over Buffalo and Oakland in the last two weeks.
New York improved to 2-2 in December this season and is just 15-30 in post-November games since 1991.
"I think the December losing thing is overplayed because a lot of those guys are gone now," Hall said.
The Jets snapped a three-game losing streak in Indianapolis and won here for just the second time in the last eight meetings.
Tight end Ken Dilger threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Harrison in the fourth quarter for Indianapolis (5-9), which was eliminated from postseason contention.
"I can't find any fault with the effort our team put forth, tonight and most every game this year," Colts coach Jim Mora said. "We did better than that tonight and still lost the game."
After Vinny Testaverde DVD's heroics, the Colts got the ball back at their own 20 with 55 seconds left and picked up one first down before turning the ball over on downs at their own 40.
Trying to put their December struggles behind them, the Jets received a pair of big defensive plays in the second half while also receiving plenty of help from Indianapolis rookie running back Dominic Rhodes.
With under six minutes left in the third quarter, Rhodes fumbled and defensive end John Abraham recovered for the Jets at the Indianapolis 27.
But after Curtis Martin DVD lost four yards, an incompletion and a short pass to Richie Anderson, Hall kicked a 46-yard field goal with 4:50 left in the third quarter to give the Jets a 19-17 lead.
On the Colts' next possession and his next carry, Rhodes fumbled again after getting stripped by linebacker Marvin Jones and safety Victor Green recovered at the Indianapolis 39.
New York picked up one first down when Anderson ran for one yard on a 4th-and-1 play to the Colts 29. But the drive stalled inside the 10 and Hall kicked his fifth field goal of the game, a 24-yarder to give the Jets a 22-17 lead 51 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Rhodes, who has lost an NFL-high six fumbles, let the two miscues mar a productive night as he rushed for 126 carries on 17 attempts, including a 46-yard TD run in the second quarter.
After failing to convert the miscues into touchdowns, the Colts reached the end zone to take the lead later in the fourth quarter as they went 65 yards in seven plays.
Peyton Manning had completions of 16 yards to tight end Marcus Pollard and a 10-yard connection to running back Kevin McDougal to the Jets 39. But it was not Peyton Manning DVD who finished off the drive that put Indianapolis ahead.
On a 3rd-and-11 play from the 39, Peyton Manning DVD found Dilger for a screen pass behind the line. Dilger pulled up and found Marvin Harrison DVD wide open down the right sideline, giving Indianapolis the lead. McDougal ran for the conversion that gave the Colts a 25-22 lead with 9:59 left.
"It was a great call. It is something we have been practicing all year," Peyton Manning DVD said. "Friday is our trick play, you practice it, you practice it, you practice it. I have a call sheet, kinda a likes and dislikes. I actually put it on my "like sheet" for 3rd-and-11."
Marvin Harrison DVD finished with 12 catches for 127 yards.
It looked like the December ghosts would rear their ugly heads on the Jets' ensuing possession when Hall missed a 50-yard field goal wide right with 6:04 to play. Hall had converted from 47, 22, 48, 46 and 24 yards earlier in the contest.
Rhodes had runs of 19 and 10 yards on the Colts' next drive, setting up Mike Vanderjagt's 43-yard field goal with 2:48 left that gave the Colts a 28-22 advantage.
Things got off to a good start for the Jets, who got a 47-yard field goal from Hall in the first quarter and Vinny Testaverde DVD's 25-yard TD pass to rookie running back LaMont Jordan early in the second period that opened a 10-0 advantage. It was Jordan's first career touchdown.
Rhodes, who rushed for 177 yards in last week's win over Atlanta, got the Colts on the board with his 46-yard TD run down the left sideline 4:33 into the second quarter.
Hall and Vanderjagt traded field goals in the final 1:13 of the half, leaving the Jets with a 13-10 lead at intermission.
On their first drive of the second half, the Jets moved 44 yards in 11 plays before the drive stalled. Hall drilled a 48-yard field goal for a 16-10 advantage.
Peyton Manning DVD drove the Colts 60 yards in four plays later in the quarter. He capped the march with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Pollard, giving the Colts a 17-16 lead with 7:36 left in the period.
Peyton Manning DVD had a mistake-free game, completing 25-of-35 passes for 228 yards. He entered the game having thrown an NFL-leading 21 interceptions.
other New York Jets NFL football DVDs
other Indianapolis Colts NFL footbal DVDs
NFL football DVDs /
NCAA college football DVDs /
NBA basketball DVDs /
Major League Baseball DVDs /
NFL Europe DVDs /
XFL football DVDs /
Super Bowl DVDs /
NFL draft DVDs /
Canadian football CFL DVDs /
USFL football DVDs /
Arena football AFL DVDs /
World Leage WLAF football DVDs /
Japanese baseball DVDs /
NCAA college basketball DVDs /
NHL hockey DVDs /
Olympics hockey DVDs /
other DVDs /