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Hall's 53-yarder gives Jets wild-card spot

1/7/2002

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- John Hall waited a year for another shot
to kick the New York Jets into the playoffs.

When Hall got one long shot in the last minute, his kick was
even longer. And true.

Hall booted away the memories of his team's late-season failures
by making a 53-yard field goal with 59 seconds left, clinching a
postseason berth for the Jets in a wild 24-22 victory over the
Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

On his only field goal attempt of the game, Hall proved his leg
is one of the NFL's strongest -- even strong enough to overcome
three turnovers and the heavy load of history for the Jets (10-6),
who made the playoffs for the first time since 1998 under
first-year coach Herman Edwards.

"I looked him in the eyes and said, 'Can you make this?,"
Edwards said. "It's an emotional win. A lot of guys are on a high
in that locker room. A lot of people didn't expect us to win
here."

It was redemption for Hall, who missed two field goals,
including a 35-yarder with 9 seconds remaining, in a three-point
loss to Detroit late last season that kept New York out of the
playoffs.

The Raiders didn't ice Hall before his final kick, opting to
save their final timeout for later. Holder Tom Tupa somehow
corralled a low snap in time to set the ball for Hall, whose kick
barely creeped over the crossbar.

Can the Raiders recover in time to make some noise in the playoffs?
It doesn't look like it. The Raiders haven't played well the last part of the season.

First the defense struggled, now the offense is struggling; the kicking game has had troubles. Oakland isn't really hitting on all cylinders in any phase of the game (offense, defense or special teams). The defense has improved some, but when the Raiders had to stop the Jets at the end of Sunday's game, they couldn't get it done.

Oakland is definitely not on a roll going into the playoffs.

ESPN.com's Vinny Cerrato was director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.


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"I've had a year to think about it," Hall said. "I use it as
motivation, because it didn't go the way I wanted. ... I knew it
was straight. I just hoped it had enough distance."

It was the sixth lead change of the game, and the Jets leapt and
shouted on the field in celebration. They did so again after
Oakland's offense turned it over on downs moments later.

The Jets will open the playoffs on the road next week as a
wild-card team, but they were 7-1 away from home this season.

"It looks like we're going to be on the road the rest of the
way, so maybe that's a good thing," Jets quarterback Vinny
Testaverde said.

With their third straight loss, the Raiders' (10-6) collapse
cost them a first-round playoff bye while handing a bye to New
England. Oakland will open the playoffs at home next week --
possibly against the Jets -- but the Raiders might still be
shell-shocked from their fourth defeat in six games.

"It's kind of surprising, given the way we played earlier in
the year, that a team this talented has lost three games,"
cornerback Charles Woodson said. "But it's all about how you
bounce back. We've done the losing streak thing now. It's time to
get back on track."

The Raiders had the ball and a 22-21 lead with 3:12 to play, but
their inconsistent offense couldn't move. The Jets then drove to
Oakland's 35 with four passes, including a 15-yard completion on
third down to Kevin Swayne.

Substitute Raiders kicker Brad Daluiso made a 37-yard field goal
with 6:05 left. Daluiso, the Giants' kicker for six seasons before
he was cut this fall, was signed earlier this week to fill in for
Sebastian Janikowski, who was in the hospital with a recurring foot
problem called cellulitis.

Daluiso connected from 23, 44 and 37 yards, but he also missed
two attempts, clanged an extra point off the uprights and was short
on all of his kickoffs.

Testaverde threw two terrible interceptions, but he was 18-of-29
for 230 yards, and he expertly directed the final drive. The Jets'
offense didn't do much, with Curtis Martin held to 50 yards
rushing, but it moved when it mattered the most.

The Raider Nation has lost its patience with the team that
steamrolled nearly every opponent it faced at the Coliseum in the
previous 1½ seasons. Fans booed frequently as Oakland lost three of
its final four home games following a 10-game regular-season
winning streak.

"We have to somehow find a way to get it done. It's just not
happening right now," receiver Jerry Rice said. "But it's all
something that can be corrected."

In the game's opening minute, Testaverde hit Laveranues Coles
with a screen pass that turned into a 40-yard touchdown -- the Jets'
longest pass play of the season. Coles finished with five catches
for 111 yards.

Late in the first half, Chris Hayes blocked Pro Bowl punter
Shane Lechler's kick from the Raiders' goal line. Jason Glenn
picked up the loose ball and tumbled into the end zone, putting New
York up 14-9.

Rich Gannon, who was 23-of-38 for 224 yards, hit Roland Williams
with an 18-yard TD pass 57 seconds before halftime. New York
reclaimed the lead on rookie LaMont Jordan's 46-yard TD run in the
third quarter.

Game notes
Martin fumbled for just the second time this season. The
game cost him the NFL rushing title, which went to Kansas City's
Priest Holmes. ... Tyrone Wheatley, a forgotten man in Oakland's
offense in recent weeks, scored on a 3-yard run in the second
quarter. ... Janikowski stood on the Raiders' sideline in a coat
and hat. He told a television reporter during the game that he
thought he was healthy enough to play.

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