AP Story: Packers Fall To Jets 42-17


What Curtis Martin called a sinking ship two months ago is sailing into the NFL playoffs.

On their way to winning the AFC East with a 42-17 victory Sunday over Green Bay, the New York Jets also prevented the Packers from securing home-field advantage in the NFC. Instead, the Philadelphia Eagles own that.

The Jets (9-7) needed help on the final day of a wacky season, and they got it from, of all people, their archrivals, the New England Patriots. Given that opening, they won for the eighth time in their last 11 games behind more sensational work by quarterback Chad Pennington, who tied a career high with four touchdown passes.

In winning only their second division title, the Jets also knocked the defending champion Patriots and the Miami Dolphins out of the playoffs. The rout was far less dramatic than the New York Giants' 10-7 overtime victory over Philadelphia on the same field Saturday.

But both New York teams are heading to the postseason together for the first time in 16 years, and the Eagles were not damaged by their loss the way Green Bay was by its defeat.

Pennington's final TD pass, was an 18-yarder to Wayne Chrebet, who has gone from goat after a late fumble in a loss to Chicago to hero and has a career-high nine TDs this season.

That caused Packers coach Mike Sherman to ease off. He put Brett Favre on the bench with 14 minutes left.

The usual chants of J-E-T-S could have been replaced by P-A-T-S after New England edged Miami 27-24 in overtime. Knowing the Jets could win the AFC East by beating the Packers, Meadowlands-mania hit Giants Stadium when Adam Vinatieri made his field goal - the building was as loud as if the Jets had scored.

And the Jets scored plenty. Pennington had a 1-yard TD toss to Richie Anderson and a 12-yarder to Chrebet in the second period. He also hit Santana Moss for 13 yards in the third quarter, when Curtis Martin also had a 5-yard scoring run.

Whenever threatened by Green Bay (12-4), the spunky Jets responded. The Packers finished the first half with a touchdown drive that was vintage Favre, but the Jets moved 60 yards in six plays with the second-half kickoff to Martin's touchdown run.

LaMont Jordan added a late 3-yard touchdown run.

Martin finished with 83 yards Sunday and 1,094 for the year, his eighth straight over 1,000.

Pennington, the AFC's most efficient passer, had a 134.7 rating for the game as the Jets beat Green Bay for the sixth straight time.

Favre was 16-for-33 for 172 yards, one TD and one interception that Sam Garnes returned 65 yards to set up the last New York touchdown.

Green Bay's secondary struggled without injured Pro Bowl safety Darren Sharper. Several Jets receivers were wide open, including Anderson on his 1-yard pass for a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter.

That capped an 84-yard drive, including a 43-yard pass from Pennington to Laveranues Coles that was typical of how the Jets have taken off on offense behind Pennington.

The Packers got a 23-yard field goal from Ryan Longwell before the Jets made it 14-3. Coles' 21-yard run on a reverse featured a sensational spin move to avoid Mike McKenzie and keyed the 67-yard drive top Chrebet's first score.

But Green Bay closed to 14-10 at halftime on a 76-yard drive that took 95 seconds. Hanging tough in a collapsing pocket, Favre hit Terry Glenn for 21 yards, then rookie Javon Walker for 23 on fourth-and-10. Favre's bullet pass to the corner of the end zone hit Glenn perfectly with 5 seconds left in the half.

New York, which was 1-3 when Pennington took over for Vinny Testaverde, barely flinched. And now the Jets are in the playoffs for the second straight year under coach Herman Edwards.

The Packers, who were 8-0 at home, are guaranteed only one postseason game at Lambeau Field.

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