View From the Other Side: New York Jets
By Jeff Fuqua
Posted September 11th, 2006

Pennington, whose arm strength was always suspect, even before he was injured, showed plenty of zip on his passes. The most impressive throw was a 41-yard strike to Coles, his favorite receiver, that set up the winning touchdown, a 12-yard pass to tight end Chris Baker with 2:10 remaining in the game.

Asked if he thought the pass to Coles would prove to the world, once and for all, that his arm strength is fine, Pennington didn't actually answer the question.

"I was scared on that ball (to Coles) because I left it a little bit inside and I wanted it a little more outside," he said of the throw, which Coles hauled in at the Titans' 7-yard line. "But there's No. 87 (Coles) again, coming up and making a big play."

-- Colin Stephenson, The Star-Ledger


A 16-point lead in the fourth quarter against a team that had been unable to move the ball and a quarterback who was introduced to the system two weeks ago? What could go wrong?

But five minutes worth of football in the fourth quarter nearly spoiled it all. Mangini may be new to this franchise, but he learned Lesson No. 1 yesterday: Nothing here comes easy.

Rather than coast to victory, the Jets let the Titans tie the score with a pair of touchdowns and two-point conversions within 4:48 of each other. Pennington, sacked by a blind-side blitz from cornerback Cortland Finnegan, fumbled the ball at the Jets' goal line to set up the tying score.

But then came a lesson from Mangini to the Jets: There'll be nothing "Same Old" about this team. A training camp spent preaching the importance of finishing came in handy as the Jets rallied on both sides of the ball for a 23-16 win.

-- Tom Rock, Newsday


When it was over, Eric Mangini gathered his players in the locker room to congratulate them on yesterday's 23-16 win over the Titans. Then he did something most Jets players had never seen. He smiled.

"That was a first," wide receiver Laveranues Coles cracked.

After the 35-year-old Mangini won his first game as a head coach, he even said something he'd rarely admitted in public. He said he was happy.

"It was a really good feeling," he said. "It was satisfying. To me, it's most satisfying because the things we've been talking about as a team - finish, poise - it's great to see. There are times we could have played better, but most games are going to come down to situations similar to the ones we faced [yesterday]."

-- Bob Glauber, Newsday


But the beauty of Pennington's performance went beyond the numbers. He was in total command, operating the no-huddle and barking audibles at the line of scrimmage in Manning-like fashion. It had to be an emotional day - he grew up only three hours away in Knoxville - but Pennington never lost his cool.

After fumbling at the Jets' 1 on a cornerback blitz by Cortland Finnegan, which set up Travis Henry's second touchdown run and the game-tying, two-point conversion, Pennington could've wilted. But he responded with a seven-play, 57-yard drive for Baker's TD that began after a 41-yard kickoff return by Justin Miller and included a 38-yard completion to Laveranues Coles (eight catches for 153 yards).

"He was incredible," Baker said of Pennington.

-- Rich Cimini, New York Daily News





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