Abraham Helps Jets Stop Seven Game Losing Streak
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ- It was a long time coming for John Abraham and the Jets. Having lost seven consecutive games in a tough season which has been decimated by injuries, Abraham helped lead the Jets (3-10) to a 26-10 triumph over Oakland (4-9) Sunday at The Meadowlands- their first win since a 14-12 triumph over Tampa Bay October 9.
Abraham sacked Oakland backup quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo twice, forcing two fumbles (one he recovered) and helping force four Raider turnovers. QB Brooks Bollinger threw for a touchdown and ran for 56 yards- a team record for a Jet QB surpassing Richard Todd's 53 established against New Orleans on December 14, 1980. Rookie kicker Mike Nugent made four field goals and former sixth round pick Cedric Houston scored his first career TD.
Before the game, it was learned that All-Pro Curtis Martin would miss his first game in over seven years. He had started 126 straight (119 regular season, 7 playoffs) but finally decided that the right knee pain he was playing with was too much to continue. He'll have season-ending arthroscopic knee surgery.
"Being the competitor that I am, it's hard for me to know when not to compete. At that time I usually turn to people around me whose opinions I trust, and that's what I did," Martin said.
One of the leaders on the defense, Abraham took it to heart.
"When I look at the offense for one guy to keep me going, it's Curtis," Abraham said. "He comes out every week and plays his heart out. It hurt to see it ending like this."
After Nugent staked Gang Green to a 3-0 lead on a 33-yard FG, Ty Law's sixth interception of the season helped setup Nugent from 20 yards to make it 6-0 with 5:23 left in the first half. But Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski sliced the lead in half with a 42-yard kick before half time.
With a chance to tie it early in the second half, Janikowski was wide right from 29. On the Jets next possession, Bollinger accounted for 42 total yards in driving them to the Oakland 17 before Nugent nailed his third FG of the day, this time from 35.
When Abraham sacked Tuiasosopo on the next play and recovered it at the Raider 34, it setup a Nugent 21-yard kick, which increased the lead to 12-3 with 3:37 left in the third quarter.
Abraham wasn't done. He once again forced Tuiasosopo to cough up the ball. This time, defensive tackle James Reed recovered it at the Oakland 29. It led to Bollinger's only TD pass of the day- a four-yard strike to Justin McCareins that put New York up 19-3 six seconds into the fourth quarter.
"We had a hell of a week of practice. Everybody came to practice ready to play," Abraham said.
But the Raiders came right back with a 20-yard TD Tuiasosopo pass to Jerry Porter, who recovered his own fumble in the end zone to cut it to 19-10 with 9:59 remaining.
However, the Jets wouldn't be denied of getting their third win of the season. In his first career start, Houston rushed for 74 yards including a two-yard score late which put the contest out of reach.
"I thought our guys just kept playing; that's what the season's about," said Coach Herm Edwards. "Every week we tried to win the game, and we've played pretty well at home. Our fans have been very, very good to us and they helped us again today. That's a credit to this football team and their perseverance. Considering what we've gone through this season, it's good to get a win."
Notes: In his first return against his ex-team before signing with Oakland in the offseason, LaMont Jordan was held to just 49 yards on 14 carries. ... Bollinger finished 14-of-26 for 119 yards. ... Former Raider tight end Doug Jolley caught two passes for 15 yards but dropped a TD. ... Defensive end Shaun Ellis missed the second half with a sore hamstring. ... Martin last missed a game against the Rams on October 11, 1998 due to a thigh injury. ... Backup QB Jay Fiedler underwent successful arthroscopic right shoulder surgery Friday and will miss the remainder of the season.