Vinny's no armchair quarterback

Testaverde comes out of retirement to hand Buccaneers their first loss

Posted: Monday, October 10, 2005


  New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde passes the ball during the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005 in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets defeated the Buccaneers 14-12. AP Photo/Chad Rachman

New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde passes the ball during the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005 in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets defeated the Buccaneers 14-12.

AP Photo/Chad Rachman

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Vinny Testaverde looked as comfortable in the pocket for the New York Jets on Sunday as he was watching them from his couch two weeks ago.

The Meadowlands crowd welcomed Testaverde back with rousing cheers and a standing ovation, and in the end, he deserved it: The 41-year-old quarterback led the Jets to a 14-12 win Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Curtis Martin ran for two touchdowns and Testaverde looked sharp despite a nine-month layoff.

Matt Bryant kicked four field goals for the Bucs (4-1), who played without injured running back Carnell ''Cadillac'' Williams because of foot and hamstring injuries.

It took a little while for the Jets (2-3) to take their first lead, following their first possession of the second half. Justin Miller had a nice 32-yard return on the kickoff, and Testaverde expertly led the Jets down the field, going 3-for-3 for 32 yards on the series.

Packers 52, Saints 3

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Brett Favre made the most of a makeshift offense and carried Green Bay to a much needed victory.

Favre completed 19 of 27 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in three quarters and the Packers earned their first win of the season by routing New Orleans.

After going three-and-out and giving up a field goal, Green Bay (1-4) scored 52 unanswered points in snapping a four-game losing streak at Lambeau Field that dated to last Dec. 12. Their 35-point first-half outburst was their biggest one-half output since Dec. 6, 1992, against Detroit.

The Saints (2-3) couldn't stop a depleted Packers offense that was missing Pro Bowlers Javon Walker, Ahman Green and Bubba Franks, and starting center Mike Flanagan.

Green Bay backup running back Najeh Davenport scored twice before leaving with an ankle injury, and cornerback Al Harris picked off two passes.

A little more than a year after forcing a trade out of Green Bay, Saints cornerback Mike McKenzie watched the Packers pile on the points thanks to five takeaways, two returned for touchdowns.

Browns 20, Bears 10

CLEVELAND — Trent Dilfer connected with wide receiver Antonio Bryant for two touchdowns in a 38-second span late in the fourth quarter as Cleveland rallied to top sputtering Chicago.

With the Browns (2-2) trailing 10-6, Dilfer, making his 100th career start, hit Bryant for a 33-yard TD with 3:02 left. The scoring strike was Dilfer's 100th career TD pass, and five plays later, he got No. 101.

After Bears rookie quarterback Kyle Orton's fumble was recovered by Chris Crocker, Dilfer found Bryant on the same route in the left corner, this time a 28-yard TD that put the Browns up by 10 points with 2:24 remaining.

For nearly 57 minutes, the Browns, who were without rookie wide receiver Braylon Edwards, appeared headed toward another tough loss at home. Cleveland is just 15-35 at Browns Stadium since returning to the league as an expansion team in 1999.

The Bears (1-3) were undone by costly mistakes and an offense that couldn't get much going behind Orton, who went 16-for-26 for 117 yards.

Bills 20, Dolphins 14

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — No matter who the starting quarterback was, Nate Clements and Buffalo's veteran defense wouldn't let this one get away.

With Buffalo on the verge of squandering a 17-point lead, Clements stripped Miami running back Ronnie Brown of the ball, securing the victory.

The turnover, Miami's fifth of the game, came with 1:37 left and with the Dolphins threatening inside the Bills 30.

The Bills (2-3) snapped a three-game losing streak and gave Kelly Holcomb a win, the veteran backup getting his first start of the season in place of J.P. Losman.

Seahawks 37, Rams 31

ST. LOUIS — Joe Jurevicius, vaulted to the top of Seattle's depth chart because of injuries, had a career-best nine catches for 137 yards and a touchdown, and Shaun Alexander ran for a pair of scores in a victory over St. Louis.

The Seahawks — playing without Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram — moved into first place in the NFC West. Seattle (3-2) ended a four-game losing streak against the Rams that included a first-round playoff loss last season.

Steven Jackson had 79 yards rushing and a touchdown and 62 yards receiving for the Rams (2-3), who couldn't keep pace due to a porous defense that has surrendered 81 points the last two games. Chris Johnson returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a Rams touchdown, the team's first runback in five seasons, but it was all downhill from there for St. Louis.

Lions 35, Ravens 17

DETROIT — Kevin Jones scored two first-quarter touchdowns and Detroit beat Baltimore, helped in part by the Ravens' 21 penalties — one short of the NFL record — and two ejections.

Dre' Bly had two interceptions and recovered a fumble for the Lions (2-2), who lost their previous game at Tampa Bay when a TD catch by Lions tight end Marcus Pollard was reversed by replay with 13 seconds left.

Baltimore (1-3) lost defensive end/linebacker Terrell Suggs and safety B.J. Ward because of ejections late in the third quarter in a game in which officials seemed quick to flag the visitors.

The Lions never trailed, but turned the game into a rout by outscoring the Ravens 21-7 in the second half.

Titans 34, Texans 20

HOUSTON — Steve McNair threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another to lead Tennessee over hapless Houston.

The performance gave him more than 25,000 career yards passing. He is the second player in franchise history and the 49th player to reach the mark. Titans coach Jeff Fisher earned his 100th victory.

The Texans continued their downward spiral, converting none of 13 third downs and managing just one touchdown. They are the only winless team in the NFL and are 0-4 for the first time in their short history.

Houston Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson left with a strained right calf in the first quarter and didn't return.

Tennessee (2-3) led 10-9 early in the third quarter when McNair found Drew Bennett on a 41-yard pass to reach the 25,000-yard mark and get the Titans to the Houston 17.

Patriots 31, Falcons 28

ATLANTA — The host Falcons kept coming back, even without Michael Vick, but Tom Brady and the New England Patriots simply don't lose two in a row.

Brady threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns before Adam Vinatieri kicked a 29-yard field goal with 17 seconds left to lead injury plagued New England past Atlanta.

Matt Schaub filled in admirably for the injured Vick, matching Brady with three TD passes while rallying the Falcons from deficits of 14-0 and 28-13 against the defending Super Bowl champions.

Atlanta (3-2) tied the game at 28 when Schaub threw a 14-yard scoring pass to Dez White with 3:52 remaining, then went to Brian Finneran for a 2-point conversion.

New England (3-2) was coming off a dismal performance, falling to San Diego at home 41-17, and faced the very real possibility of its first losing streak since 2002.

Patrick Pass, replacing the injured Corey Dillon, broke off a 15-yard gain that set up the 19th game-winning kick of Vinatieri's career.

Vick was inactive because of a knee injury.

Cowboys 33, Eagles 10

IRVING, Texas — Throwing deep from the start and gladly taking all kinds of chances, Drew Bledsoe and Dallas jumped on Philadelphia with two early touchdowns and turned it into a stunning rout.

The Cowboys led 17-0 before the Eagles had a first down and were up 27-3 at halftime, having scored on five of six possessions.

Bledsoe finished 24-of-35 for 289 yards and three touchdowns, with Terry Glenn catching the first two. Glenn had seven catches for 118 yards. Julius Jones gained 72 yards, but didn't play the second half because of an apparent ankle injury. Rookie Tyson Thompson gained 75 yards in his place as Dallas (3-2) went back to playing conservative with the victory under control.

Colts 28, 49ers 3

SAN FRANCISCO — Against a struggling opponent with a rookie quarterback and a patchwork defense, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts were only as good as they needed to be.

Edgerrin James rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown, and the Colts intercepted four passes by No. 1 draft pick Alex Smith to remain unbeaten.

Manning went 23-of-31 for 255 yards and one score, throwing two interceptions in an unimpressive performance against a team starting two recent practice squad players in its secondary.

The reigning league MVP also failed to hook up with Marvin Harrison for the duo's 86th touchdown, which would have broken the NFL record shared with San Francisco's Steve Young and Jerry Rice.

But the Colts (5-0) scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns on James' 4-yard run and Troy Walters' 18-yard reception to blow open a surprisingly close game. Cato June returned an interception 24 yards for a score in the second quarter, and Dominic Rhodes rushed for an early TD.

Panthers 24, Cardinals 20

TEMPE, Ariz. — Jake Delhomme threw two touchdown passes to Steve Smith, one for 65 yards in the first half and a four-yarder with 6:54 to go to give Carolina (3-2) a come-from-behind victory over Arizona.

Delhomme completed 18 of 29 passes for 243 yards and two scores. He was intercepted once.

Arizona (1-4), leading 20-10 after three quarters, had the ball twice after Carolina's go-ahead score.

The Cardinals drove to the Panthers 33, but Marlon McCree intercepted Josh McCown's pass in the end zone for the second time in the game. The Cardinals' last shot ended when McCown scrambled on fourth-and-10 but came up inches short at the Panthers 49.

Broncos 21, Redskins 19

DENVER — Mark Brunell drove the Redskins 94 yards for a touchdown and it looked like Washington's charmed season was in for another nice ending. A missed 2-point conversion ruined that story, and the Denver Broncos walked away feeling fortunate.

Ian Gold knocked away Brunell's pass on the 2-point attempt with 1:09 left to help the Broncos hang onto their fourth straight win on a sloppy, rain-soaked day.

While Gold's big play saved the game, Tatum Bell made the difference for Denver (4-1) the rest of the time, rushing for 127 yards and two long scores to help Denver to a 21-10 lead.

Jaguars 23, Bengals 20

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Byron Leftwich threw two touchdowns, Fred Taylor ran for a season-high 132 yards and the Jaguars handed the Bengals their first loss of the season.

Cincinnati started 4-0 for the first time since 1988 — the franchise's last Super Bowl season — and entered the game as one of the last two undefeated teams in the league. But the Jaguars took advantage of good field position early and had two big stops late that left AFC South rival Indianapolis as the lone unbeaten.

Josh Scobee kicked three field goals, including a 51-yarder in the second period and a 53-yarder with 9:45 to play that gave the Jaguars (3-2) a 10-point lead.

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