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Martin provides some lift for Jets

9/23/2001

FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) -- Herman Edwards wasn't about to keep the
game ball from his first victory as an NFL head coach. He knew it
belonged to the city of New York.

Edwards said he would give the ball from the Jets' 10-3 win over
the New England Patriots to the grieving city and let Mayor Rudy
Giuliani decide what to do with it.

"To all the people that have worked and tried to save people's
lives, it's only fitting that this belongs to them," Edwards said
Sunday.

After the Sept. 11 attacks at the World Trade Center and
Pentagon, Jets players pitched in. Curtis Martin was among those
who loaded supplies on trucks for rescuers. Vinny Testaverde went
to the site five days after the disaster to talk with and comfort
police, firefighters and other workers.

On Sunday, Martin ran for 106 yards and the only touchdown and
Testaverde completed 16 of 28 passes for 137 yards, including five
completions on the touchdown drive. And the defense forced four
turnovers and knocked quarterback Drew Bledsoe out of the game in
the fourth quarter.

Did we see the real Jets' defense today?
I don't think we can determine that yet. Let's wait to answer that question after they've played a better offense. The Patriots don't have a great offense, and the Jets had a new defensive line Sunday. So let's hold our praise for the Jets' defense until they play (and stop) some better competition.

ESPN.com NFL analyst Vinny Cerrato has served as director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.


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"He got his bell rung," coach Bill Belichick said, although
the team did not say whether he suffered a concussion. "He was
out."

Sitting on a stretcher, Bledsoe was rolled out of the locker
room for an ambulance trip to a hospital for observation.

On any other Sunday, all that would be the stuff of headlines.

"I think we all came here with the burden of having to win it
for the city," Martin said.

New England fans set aside their partisanship and gave Martin
and his teammates a warm greeting like those Martin used to get as
a Patriot in his first three NFL seasons. Fans high-fived the Jets
as they ran onto the field.

"What we witnessed a couple of weeks ago was about life or
death. Football is about life," Testaverde said. "I think that's
how sports should be all the time. It's enjoyment. It's for us to
enjoy."

The Jets (1-1) enjoyed their defensive performance after being
beaten by Indianapolis 45-24 in their opener, Edwards' first game
since succeeding Al Groh, who quit after last season.

James Farrior, who intercepted Bledsoe's pass in the end zone
and returned it 47 yards with 7:22 left, said, "It's a pretty
happy feeling with all the things that happened. We wanted to get
it for the city of New York. We went and played our hearts out."

The Patriots (0-2) reverted to their usual Sunday activity of
wasting chances and losing a game. They finished last in the AFC
East last season with a 5-11 record. On Sunday, they committed
three turnovers inside the Jets 10 and two of them led to the 10
points.

"You can't win games that way," Patriots wide receiver Troy
Brown said.

Bledsoe was hit hard as he ran toward the sideline by Mo Lewis
with 5:01 left in the game. Bledsoe returned for the next series,
which ended with the Patriots' fourth turnover on Marc Edwards'
second fumble. But Tom Brady replaced Bledsoe on the final series.

"Drew took a tremendous shot," Brown said. "He really scared
me. He's big, but he got blasted."

The game began after an emotional ceremony in which Patriots
guard Joe Andruzzi's brothers, all New York firemen, were
introduced as honorary captains and participated in the coin toss.

Jimmy Andruzzi escaped about a minute before the second tower
collapsed. Billy and Marc responded to the scene later.

"I play in the NFL," Joe Andruzzi said, "but they're my
heroes."

During a pregame ceremony, cheerleaders held a flag that
stretched from one 35-yard line to the other. Fans waved small
American flags. One held a sign that said "Pray For Freedom."

But once the game started, the focus was on football, except for
one incident in which a young woman wearing a dark blue New York
Yankees T-shirt had a beverage thrown at her. She and the thrower
were among several fans removed by police.

The score was 3-3 at halftime on Adam Vinatieri's 24-yard field
goal for the Patriots in the first quarter and John Hall's
26-yarder on the last play of the second.

Bledsoe completed all seven passes as the Patriots moved from
their 17-yard line to the Jets 7 to start the third quarter. Then
Edwards fumbled and Steve Martin recovered.

Testaverde completed five of seven passes on the 93-yard drive
that ended with Martin's 8-yard scoring run late in the third
quarter for 10-3 lead.

"The Patriots bring out the best in me," Martin said. "This
is the football place where I was born."

The Patriots threatened to tie the game, but Bledsoe's pass from
New York's 8 into the end zone was intercepted by Farrior.

New England had another chance from the Jets 29 with 13 seconds
left. But Brady threw three incompletions, the last just short of
the end zone as time ran out.

Game notes
Patriots RT Greg Robinson-Randall did not return after
injuring his right arm late in the first quarter. ... Martin rushed
for at least 100 yards for the 31st time in his NFL career -- 20
with the Jets and 11 with the Patriots. ... New England released WR
Torrance Small and signed LB Matt Chatham. ... Martin caught three
passes for 10 yards, giving him 116 total yards for the game. That
gave him 10,001 from scrimmage for his seven-year career.