Then Chad Pennington stoked the Jets' hopes of an improbable
Pennington, who snapped out of a midseason streak of shaky
performances in a victory over Houston last week, put together
three touchdown drives of 70 yards or more in the second quarter
and the Jets cruised to a 38-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers
at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
"I just think we're starting to click," Pennington said. "Any
time you put in a new system, it's going to take some time. It's a
process. We experienced some success early in the run game, and
then everything started to come along."
New York (7-5) built a 31-0 halftime lead as snow flurries
floated to the ground and boos showered down from the grandstands
on a windy 19-degree day. The Jets used frequent wide-receiver
motion and occasional no-huddle offense to confuse a Green Bay
defense that has been prone to miscommunication and susceptible to
big plays all season.
"One of the trademarks is trying to play fast," Mangini said.
"And in doing that, different guys are going to come open based on
whatever the scheme is."
Pennington, 25-of-35 for 263 yards with two touchdowns and two
interceptions, connected with eight receivers. Cedric Houston
carried 22 times for a career-high 105 yards and two touchdowns.
Could the Jets really make a run at the playoffs?
"We've won a couple of games, but that is what it is," wide
receiver Laveranues Coles said. "We're 7-5 and, again, we have a
long way to go."
Fans booed the Packers (4-8) several times during the first half
and loudly as they jogged to the tunnel at halftime.
"I'd be booing too," McCarthy said. "Shoot, they should boo
us. I've got no problem with that. This is a man's league, a man's
business and a man's game."
Green Bay barely managed to avoid being shut out at home for the
third time this season. McCarthy called for a field goal with his
team down 31-0 midway through the third quarter, and Dave Rayner
hit a 34-yarder -- a move that elicited sarcastic applause from
Packers fans, a Midwestern version of the Bronx cheer.
Brett Favre's season-long struggles with passing accuracy
continued as the three-time MVP was 24-of-47 for 214 yards with one
touchdown and two interceptions.
Pennington was intercepted by Patrick Dendy late in the third
quarter, and Favre threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver
to cut the Jets' lead to 31-10. Green Bay then recovered an on-side
kick after a successful replay review by McCarthy, but the Packers'
slim chances of the comeback were dashed when the offense went
The Jets put together another long scoring drive, and Leon
Washington ran 20 yards for a touchdown to put New York ahead 38-10
early in the fourth quarter.
Two long drives capped by Houston touchdown runs made the score
Favre laughed off the notion that he should have made some sort
of motivational speech at halftime.
"I don't know what to say," Favre said. "We're losing
31-to-nothing at halftime. `Pick it up, guys?' I mean, that's
Mangini, who showed his team footage of the frigid 1967 NFL
championship game between Green Bay and Dallas to help motivate
them, praised his team's ability to adjust to chilly conditions.
Askew took it a step farther, warming up -- so to speak -- without
a shirt before the game.
"For a guy to go out there without his shirt on kind of sends a
message, `Yeah, we'll be all right," Askew said.
The Packers are a chilly 1-5 at Lambeau Field this season.
"We didn't really bring the heat in the first half," Packers
linebacker Nick Barnett said.
Jets running back Kevan Barlow was inactive Sunday. ...
Starting right tackle Mark Tauscher (groin) and tight end David
Martin (ribs) were inactive for Green Bay. ... Barnett played with
his broken right hand wrapped up in a club-style cast. ... Punter
Jon Ryan played for Green Bay after his father, Bob, died from
cancer earlier in the week.