Ny Jets Testaverde takes control Jets’ quarterback calls own plays in win By Vic Carucci NFL Insider EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Oct. 23, 2000) When the New York Jets actually worked with a game plan Monday night, quarterback Vinny Testaverde struggled. Badly. He couldn’t get them a single first down against the Miami Dolphins’ vaunted defense.
In fact, the Jets produced all of seven yards of offense in the first quarter to the Dolphins’ 207. By halftime, Miami had 299 yards of offense to the Jets’ 99. Testaverde also threw two interceptions in the first half and a third in the third quarter. But in the fourth quarter, with coach Al Groh allowing Testaverde to call his own plays from a no-huddle attack, the Jets’ offense caught fire. He guided them to 20 first downs, to only one for Miami, and 30 points, the most in any quarter in franchise history, on the way to a 40-37 overtime victory against the Miami Dolphins. Testaverde finished with 36 completions in 59 attempts for 378 yards (his second highest total as a Jet) and five touchdowns, while throwing three interceptions.
His final scoring throw was a three-yarder to offensive tackle Jumbo Elliott that tied the game at 37-37 with 42 seconds left in the fourth quarter, forcing the extra period. After the game, Testaverde talked about his performance in detail: You’ve staged some incredible comebacks in your career. Has there ever been another one that comes close to this? Testaverde: I wouldn’t think so. This is great. We’re 6-1. We’re leading the division. It was a big game on Monday night.
We were just about to get embarrassed out there. We came in at halftime, regrouped. And it’s a great feeling. Coach Groh said he gave you freedom in the fourth quarter to call your own plays from no-huddle. Do you like it better that way? Testaverde: Under the circumstance, given that situation, it’s hard to call plays from the sidelines.
You just waste too much time, and we really needed to run plays. We were being very effective with (the ones Testaverde was calling), so he (Groh) just let me have it. And we kept running a variety of plays, ad-libbing at times, telling guys to run different routes, seeing how (the Dolphins) were playing coverages. Guys just responded well everybody from Richie Anderson to Wayne Chrebet to Laveranues Coles to Dedric Ward everybody. It was a great effort, it was great to see.
The line blocked well. I don’t know how many times we threw the ball (59). The last one that I got hit on just before the (winning) field goal was really the only time I got hit tonight. Did you have confidence in that pass to Jumbo Elliott? Testaverde: Yeah, we worked on it the last few weeks and Jumbo made it look easy in practice. But the ball was a little bit behind him. And it’s hard for a big guy to turn when he’s running straight ahead and he made a great catch, there’s no question about it.
Without it we don’t win. What does this win say about the heart of this team? Testaverde: Al’s always talking about the heart of this team one heart, one mind. With our mental toughness, with our physical play, we’re going to win a lot of games. We just need to stay focused. We’re not one of the most talented teams in the league. We’re not a St.
Louis by any stretch of the imagination. But when we play together and we play hard for four quarters, good things will happen for us. Were the Dolphins confused by the offensive package you began to run in the fourth quarter? Testaverde: It seems that the games that when we’ve come back and won late in the game like this, teams seem a little confused by it. And it’s hard for them to practice for all these different looks. We have two running backs out there (Anderson and Curtis Martin) and we can spread them out wide with three wide receivers in the game.
We can bring them in tight, and run the football effectively that way. We can put four wides in, using the two-running back package. We can go with three wides. We’ve got a lot of different combinations, a lot of different plays we run off of these things, and it’s hard for a defense to prepare for the regular game plan, and then go prepare for all this. It makes it tough on them.
And throughout the course of the game, we find a way to get it done by just experimenting with different formations and different philosophies. Were the 20 first downs you had in the fourth quarter the result of you having the freedom to call your own plays? Testaverde: I think that was part of it. But I think a big part of it was guys making plays. You see Richie Anderson make a great fourth-and-1 catch down by the goal line. The throw was a little high, he had two guys in his face, and he made a great catch.
Just outstanding individual performances all night like that. When we needed it, guys got it done, and that’s what I attribute those 20 first downs to. Were you just winging it at the end? Testaverde: I wouldn’t say I was just winging it. We were using things we’ve practiced in the past, but not this past week for the Dolphins. We pulled them out from training camp. Sports and Games.