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Jets QB outshines Titans' McNair

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Herman Edwards had one demand of
his New York Jets on Monday night: leave the Meadowlands with a
win.

They obliged.

Chad Pennington overcame a shaky start to throw two-second half
touchdown passes and the Jets beat Steve McNair and the Tennessee Titans 24-17.

The Titans (9-3) lost for the first time in seven games and
wasted a perfect chance to take sole possession of the AFC South
after Indianapolis lost to New England on Sunday. They now have to
wait another week for that to happen, with a home showdown against
the Colts this weekend.

The Jets (5-7), meanwhile, kept their slim playoff hopes alive.

"A lot of people think when you're 4-7, you're trying to get
the season over with. But it's not about next year," Edwards said.
"It's about every time you play the game you try to win. That's
how we're going to play around here. We're not worried about next
year. We're going to win games this year."

Curtis Martin said when Edwards told the team he expected them
to win, everyone listened.

"When your leader stands up and says something like that, you
feel obligated to carry it out," Martin said.

McNair started the game despite a strained right calf, but was
mostly ineffective. He finished 21-of-35 for 272 yards with two
touchdown passes and two interceptions. He threw an 8-yard scoring
pass to Derrick Mason with 1:52 remaining to get the Titans within
a touchdown, but Chris Baker recovered the onside kick for the Jets
to close out the win.

Mason finished with 11 receptions for 133 yards and one
touchdown.

"The leg was not a factor in how I played tonight," McNair
said. "It's not an excuse. We didn't execute as well as we
should."

Pennington, meanwhile, finished 18-of-23 for 231 yards for his
third win in five starts since returning from a broken left wrist.

He threw two first-half interceptions, including one in the end
zone, and challenged himself to do better in the second half.
Pennington did more than that. He was perfect, going 8-for-8 for
134 yards and the two scores.

"We believe we're a good team," Pennington said. "We just
didn't make the plays earlier in the year. Tonight the Jets stood
up and made the plays. We're not going to look ahead. We've got a
long road ahead of us."

After the Titans tied the game at 10 on a 35-yard field goal by
Gary Anderson in the third quarter, Pennington engineered two
straight scoring drives to take control of the game.

The first featured a little trickery. A reverse to Santana Moss
gained 6 yards, and a flea flicker that Pennington threw to Curtis Conway got them 27 yards to the Titans 27.

On the next play, Pennington threw a beautiful 27-yard touchdown
pass to Kevin Swayne for a 17-10 lead. It was Swayne's first
reception of the year and his first career touchdown catch.

"I knew I had a good opportunity because I was facing bump
coverage," Swayne said. "It was just a matter of just doing my
job. I'm just happy I could contribute."

After forcing the Titans to punt, Pennington put the Jets up by
two touchdowns -- thanks to Moss. On second-and-5 from the 42,
Pennington threw a pass to Baker. But the ball deflected off his
hands and up, and Moss was there to catch the ball and make a
32-yard completion.

Conway then caught an 8-yard touchdown pass, barely keeping his
toes inbounds, to cap the drive. Conway finished with five
receptions for 78 yards and the score.

"We've been clicking lately and we wanted to come in and prove
what type of team we are," Conway said. "We're not looking beyond
anything or anyone. You can't look at what-ifs and what happened.
We just want to keep winning games and win out if we can."

McNair tried to rally the Titans, but Sam Garnes broke up a pass
in the end zone intended for Erron Kinney on fourth-and-goal with
5:21 remaining.

McNair started off well, throwing a 59-yard touchdown pass to
Justin McCareins on the opening drive for a quick 7-0 lead. It was
the longest completion for the Titans this season.

The Jets tied it up on the following possession. After
converting a fourth-and-1 from the Titans 14 when Pennington
completed a 4-yard pass to Jerald Sowell, the Jets faced
second-and-goal from the 12.

Pennington threw a fade to Moss in the right corner of the end
zone, but Samari Rolle got his hands on the ball. Officials
initially ruled it an interception, and Rolle did a throat slash
gesture that earned him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

But the Jets challenged the call, and the official ruled that
Rolle did not have possession. The Jets got an automatic first down
at the 6, and Curtis Martin ran in for the score on the following
play for his first touchdown of the season.

Doug Brien kicked a 27-yard field goal just before the break to
give the Jets a 10-7 lead.

The Jets now hope to follow Edwards' edict for Monday and win
the rest of their games.

"It's like we're fighting harder and harder very week," Martin
said. "Every week we find another way to fight. Things are finally
starting to turn around for us."

Game notes
Titans LB Rocky Calmus broke his right leg in the second
quarter. ... Santana Moss was held without a touchdown catch for
the first time in eight games. ... Titans CB Andre Dyson got his
career-high fourth interception. ... The Titans played without
defensive end Jevon Kearse, who missed his second straight game
with a sprained left ankle.