Jets Open Season with 20-14 Win
Changing quarterbacks on the eve of their first pre-season game was one of the factors in the New York Jets' defeat of the Miami Dolphins in the NFL season opener for both teams last Sunday.
The Jets signed Brett Favre, who had supposedly retired from football as the legendary quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, only to decide to return for yet another season. Upon Favre's acquisition, the Jets released Chad Pennington who had led them to two playoffs in his seven years as their leader. Two days after being let go by the Jets, Pennington signed a multi-year contract with the Miami Dolphins, putting him back with his former coach, Bill Parcells, now the Dolphins' general manager.
The game was the focus of many football fans interested in seeing how Pennington would do against his former team and how Favre would do in his first game as a New York Jet.
The Jets scored the second time they had the ball on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Favre to Jerricho Cotchery. It was only the second time in Jets franchise history that a touchdown pass was so long. Pennington, the starter for the Dolphins in this game, tossed the other one during his seven-year career with the Jets.
The Dolphins' first score was on a five-yard pass from Pennington to Anthony Fasano. The extra-point kick by Dan Carpenter was good, bringing the Dolphins even at 7-7 with 12:41 to go in the second quarter.
The Jets scored again on a flea flicker on 4th and 14. Favre put the ball up and Chanci Stuckey came up with it at the goal line for the score, the first touchdown of his NFL career. The two-point conversion pass from Favre to Leon Washington was batted away leaving the Jets with a 13-7 lead. Favre completed 8 of 15 for 118 and two touchdowns in the first half.
During the second quarter the Jets lost their place kicker, Mike Nugent, who injured his thigh following a missed field goal attempt. Nugent limped off the field and did not return to the game until the third quarter, when he kicked the extra point following a five-yard touchdown run by Thomas Jones, giving the Jets a 20-7 lead with 1:02 remaining in the third quarter.
The Jets' ground game was led by halfback Thomas Jones, who gained 101 yards on 22 carries. Favre completed passes to seven different receivers, led by Cotchery with three catches for 80 yards and one touchdown and Stuckey, two catches for 37 yards and one touchdown. All Favre had to do was go down on one knee as the game clock expired. The final score was Jets 20, Dolphins 14.
After the game Favre told reporters: "I wasn't nervous. I will probably be sore as heck tomorrow, but a win makes it all worth it. I'm happy to be a Jet. It was a great win for us. I don't know where we go from here."