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Sunday, September 28, 2008
Rapid Reaction: Jets 56, Cardinals 35


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

That was the sort of performance the New York Jets needed -- mostly.

Their defense made substantial plays, setting up their offense to explode in record-setting fashion.

The Jets trounced the Arizona Cardinals, 56-35, in the Meadowlands. Despite allowing all of Arizona's points in the second half, New York has plenty to be pleased about.

Sunday's victory gives the Jets a 2-2 record heading into their bye week, putting them in a better frame of mind than they've been. They were coming off two exasperating losses in which the play calling was heavily criticized and doubts were beginning to escalate about whether acquiring Brett Favre was justified.

Head coach Eric Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer could do no wrong on Sunday, and Favre responded with one of his best games.

Favre threw for 289 yards and six touchdowns, a personal record that tied Joe Namath for the most in Jets history.

The Jets led the Cardinals 34-0 at halftime, scoring all of their points in the second quarter. It was turning into a knee-slapping rout. The Jets forced four turnovers and blocked a field goal in the first half. Favre threw three touchdown passes to Laveranues Coles.

Jets fans' ribs still were hurting from the laughter when their team frittered away momentum and somehow let the Cardinals back into the game.

Of all the astonishing numbers the Jets posted in the second quarter, this one was equally striking: By the time the Cardinals slashed the lead to 34-21 with 2:50 left in the third quarter, the Jets offense had three snaps.

New York reawakened. Favre in the fourth quarter connected with Jerricho Cotchery for two touchdowns and Dustin Keller for one more. Favre had thrown for five touchdowns three times but never since Week 4 in 1998.

Giving up 35 points in the second half should temper the excitement, but the Jets now have two precious weeks to get Favre even more acclimated to the offense and to tinker with the defense.

After their bye week, the Jets have the Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. The forecast looks much more favorable at 2-2 than it would at 1-3.