Final

Jets 42

(2-2, 2-0 away)

Bills 36

(0-4, 0-3 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:05 PM ET, October 7, 2001

Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, NY 

1 2 3 4 T
NYJ 21 7 14 042
BUF 6 9 7 1436

Bills doomed by Martin, turnovers

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- It wasn't pretty. The New York Jets didn't care.

Is the Jets defense good enough to make a playoff run?
Right now, I don't think so. Coming into this game against Buffalo, the Jets defense was ranked last against the rush. If you can't stop the rush, you're not going anywhere in this league. The Jets will have to play much better on defense to have a chance at the playoffs. Offensively, they're starting to spread the ball around a little bit and do some more creative things -- which they needed to do. But defensively they're not there yet.

ESPN.com NFL analyst Vinny Cerrato has served as director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.

After all the criticism heaped on them last week, they found reassurance in Sunday's sloppy 42-36 victory over the bumbling Buffalo Bills.

"We were able to get the victory. And we needed it. For myself, it's like we lifted the hex, lifted the curse," running back Curtis Martin said. "Just for confidence. We all want to keep the hope alive and keep the faith. But if you keep losing, it starts to whither."

Martin scored two touchdowns and rushed for 135 yards on 20 carries in a breakout performance for the Jets' much-maligned offense. New York's defense also showed flashes despite the final score.

After allowing 233 yards rushing in last Monday's 19-17 loss to San Francisco, the Jets responded by forcing four turnovers that led to New York touchdowns, including John Abraham's 4-yard and Mo Lewis' 15-yard fumble returns.

"The defense played great. It was exciting to see them bounce back from last week," quarterback Vinny Testaverde said. "They wanted to show everybody that they were better than what they were last week, and they came out. What more can you ask for than putting 14 points up for your offense?"

The Jets (2-2) survived a couple of comeback threats led by Buffalo backup quarterback Alex Van Pelt, who took over after starter Rob Johnson pinched a nerve in his back when he was elbowed by linebacker Mo Lewis late in the first quarter.

Van Pelt threw for three touchdowns, his first in four years, and almost brought the Bills back from a 28-9 deficit.

The Bills (0-4) are off to their worst start since going 0-6 in 1985. Buffalo has lost five straight at home for the first time since 1984, and they have been outscored 132-61 in that stretch, dating back to last season.

More disturbing, the Jets scored the most points in Buffalo since the Bills lost 47-6 to Indianapolis in a game featuring replacement players during the strike-shortened 1987 season.

The Bills rallied to cut New York's lead to 28-22 when Van Pelt hit Peerless Price for a 70-yard touchdown to start the third quarter.

New York responded with two touchdowns -- Anthony Becht's 2-yard reception and Lewis' 15-yard fumble return -- in a span of 64 seconds to seal the victory.

Larry Centers scored twice in the final five minutes, including a 6-yard reception with 7 seconds remaining.

The Bills took solace in that they didn't give up. The 36 points were one more than they scored in three previous games combined.

"That's definitely a game we could've and should've won," said Van Pelt, who finished 23-for-41 for 268 yards. "If we don't shoot ourselves in the foot there early, and then have a fumble returned for a touchdown, we're in that game and winning."

With the Bills entering their bye week, Johnson expects to be back in for Buffalo's next game, Oct. 18 at Jacksonville.

He was hurt at the end of a 17-yard scramble. As Johnson was sliding to the turf, Lewis caught him squarely across the helmet with an elbow.

No penalty was issued against Lewis. Loud boos went up at Ralph Wilson Stadium when a replay of the hit was shown on the video screen.

"That was pretty vicious," Van Pelt said. "I can't believe there wasn't a flag."

Lewis said the hit wasn't intentional, saying that Johnson popped up from his slide at the last moment.

"No one's trying to hurt anyone," Lewis said. "I don't know if the turf caught him, but he popped back up as I was going over the top of him."

The hit on Johnson was the only blemish against Lewis, who had a dominating performance, finishing with 13 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble.

"You can't say this is a stepping stone. It's just one of those games that we had a lot of plays and we had a lot of opportunities that fell our way," Lewis said. "We can't look at it and say that, 'We have arrived.' We haven't. We've got to continue to improve."

Game notes
Martin passed Matt Snell and Johnny Hector to become the Jets' third leading rusher with 8,150 yards. ... Before leaving the game, Johnson hit Eric Moulds for a 46-yard touchdown pass, the Bills' first at home this season. ... Testaverde, deeply affected by last month's terrorist attacks in New York City, said it was difficult to play knowing that U.S. Forces began bombing Afghanistan three hours before the game. "My immediate thought was to refocus and concentrate on what I had to do, which was tough," he said. "It was distracting."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNYJBUF
nyj3:30
Drive info: 0 plays, 0 yds, 0:00
216
THIRD QUARTERNYJBUF
nyj2:37
Drive info: 0 plays, 0 yds, 0:00
4222
FIRST QUARTERNYJBUF
nyjTD11:27Touchdown
Drive info: 1 plays, 8 yds, 0:00
130
nyjTD3:307 yd fumble return
Drive info: 1 plays, 0 yds, 0:00
206
nyj11:27
Drive info: 1 plays, 8 yds, 0:00
140
THIRD QUARTERNYJBUF
bufTD14:45Touchdown
Drive info: 3 plays, 74 yds, 0:04
2821
buf14:45
Drive info: 3 plays, 74 yds, 0:04
2822
nyjTD2:3715 yd fumble return
Drive info: 2 plays, -8 yds, 0:00
4122
FIRST QUARTERNYJBUF
nyjTD12:29Curtis Martin, 16 yd run
Drive info: 5 plays, 49 yds, 2:26
60
FOURTH QUARTERNYJBUF
bufTD4:37Larry Centers, 2 yd run
Drive info: 5 plays, 54 yds, 0:16
4228
FIRST QUARTERNYJBUF
nyj12:29
Drive info: 5 plays, 49 yds, 2:26
70
THIRD QUARTERNYJBUF
nyjTD3:23Touchdown
Drive info: 5 plays, 68 yds, 2:09
3422
FOURTH QUARTERNYJBUF
buf4:37
Drive info: 5 plays, 54 yds, 0:16
4229
FIRST QUARTERNYJBUF
bufTD8:24Touchdown
Drive info: 7 plays, 75 yds, 3:20
146
THIRD QUARTERNYJBUF
nyj3:23
Drive info: 5 plays, 68 yds, 2:09
3522
SECOND QUARTERNYJBUF
bufTD2:00Touchdown
Drive info: 8 plays, 60 yds, 3:37
2815
nyjTD6:05Curtis Martin, 4 yd run
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yds, 3:42
279
bufFG10:38Jake Arians 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, -36 yds, 4:01
219
nyj6:05
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yds, 3:42
289
FOURTH QUARTERNYJBUF
bufTD0:12Touchdown
Drive info: 19 plays, 84 yds, 2:33
4235
buf0:12
Drive info: 19 plays, 84 yds, 2:33
4236