Testaverde goes down as Jets lose for first time


It was a sight all too familiar for the New York Jets. Quarterback Vinny Testaverde writhed in pain on the Giants Stadium turf, the crowd fell silent and the Jets watched their playoff hopes dissipate with each grimace. Testaverde, who tore an Achilles’ tendon in the Jets’ first game last year and missed the rest of the season, pinched a nerve when he was hit in the neck and left shoulder by Pittsburgh linebacker Jason Gildon just as he threw the ball on New York’s first play from scrimmage Sunday. “I had this pinched nerve for about three weeks, but it wasn’t as severe as it is now,” Testaverde said after the Jets suffered their first loss this season, 20-3 to the Steelers. “He hit me right on the exact spot,” Testaverde added. “My whole left side from the shoulder to the hand went numb.” The injury isn’t nearly as serious as last year’s season-ender, and Testaverde hopes to play next Sunday at New England. Tampa Bay was at Minnesota on Monday night. St. Louis, Dallas and Kansas City were off this week. The Steelers (2-3) held Ray Lucas, Testaverde’s backup, to 99 yards passing and forced four New York turnovers. Kordell Stewart, filling in for injured starter Kent Graham, was 17-of-26 for 140 yards, converted 10 of 18 third-down plays and completed passes to eight receivers. “Kent Graham is our starter, and as soon as he’s ready he’ll play,” Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher said. “Kordell played well, but no ifs, ands or buts, it’s a dead issue. Kent is the starter.” Jerome Bettis added 107 rushing yards and the first touchdown on the ground against the Jets this season as Pittsburgh won its second straight after three losses. Redskins 17, Eagles 14 Michael Husted kicked a 24-yard field goal with four seconds left. Husted, who had the winning kick in overtime for Washington last week, missed two field goals earlier in the game. Darrell Green set up the winning kick for Washington (4-2) by intercepting Donovan McNabb’s pass and returning it 33 yards to Philadelphia’s 19. Philadelphia (3 3) had beaten Washington in nine of its last 10 at Veterans Stadium. Dolphins 22, Bills 13 Former Buffalo star Thurman Thomas provided the inspiration and the defense scored twice to help Miami earn its fourth consecutive victory. The Dolphins (5-1) clinched the victory when cornerback Sam Madison returned a fumble 20 yards for a score with 405 left. Trace Armstrong had 3 1/2 of Miami’s six sacks and forced two fumbles. Visiting Buffalo (2-3) lost its third consecutive game Titans 23, Bengals 14 Eddie George ran for 181 yards and a go-ahead touchdown in the second half as Tennessee (4-1) kept Cincinnati (0-5) winless. Titans offensive lineman Bruce Matthews sprained a ligament in his right knee, and his streak of 202 consecutive starts — the NFL’s longest active streak — is in jeopardy. Raiders 34, 49ers 28, OT Tim Brown caught a 31-yard pass from Rich Gannon in overtime as Oakland won at San Francisco. Brown had seven catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a game that was marred by missed opportunities, mistakes and miscues, including a pair of missed field goals by Sebastian Janikowski that could have given the Raiders (4-1) the victory earlier. The winning TD came after Wade Richey’s 29 yard attempt for San Francisco (2-4) was blocked by Anthony Dorsett. Patriots 24, Colts 16 Michael Bishop threw a 44-yard TD pass to Tony Simmons on the final play of the first half, and Drew Bledsoe threw two TD passes as New England (2-4) won its second straight after four losses to open the season. Peyton Manning was 31-of-54 for 334 yards, but he also threw three interceptions for the visiting Colts (3-2). Lions 31, Packers 24 Brett Favre, 2-7 at the Silverdome with 20 interceptions, fumbled twice and threw three interceptions to give Detroit its seventh home win over Green Bay (2 4) in the Packers’ last eight regular-season visits. Charlie Batch threw for 199 yards and three TDs for the Lions (4-2). Saints 31, Bears 10 Jeff Blake threw three touchdown passes and ran for 66 yards, Ricky Williams had 128 yards rushing on 30 carries, and New Orleans’ defense had five sacks and three interceptions. New Orleans (2-3) controlled the ball for more than 38 minutes, and its defense didn’t allow the Bears (1-5) an offensive touchdown at Soldier Field. Cardinals 29, Browns 21 Michael Pittman rushed for 107 yards on 16 carries as Arizona (2-3) overcame a 14-0 deficit at home. Jake Plummer completed 17 of 30 passes for 171 yards, including touchdown passes of 53 and five yards to Frank Sanders to send Cleveland (2-4) to its third loss in a row. Giants 13, Falcons 6 Ron Dayne scored the only touchdown on a 2-yard run less than five minutes into the game, and the blitzing New York defense made it stand up. New York (4-2) knocked out Atlanta quarterback Chris Chandler and limited the Falcons (2-4) to 13 yards rushing. The visiting Giants snapped a two-game losing streak and handed Atlanta its third straight loss. Panthers 26, Seahawks 3 Carolina (2-3) bolted to a 20-point halftime lead under new offensive coordinator Richard Williamson and got four field goals from new placekicker Joe Nedney in a 26-3 victory over Seattle. Visiting Seattle (2-4) was limited to 209 total yards and 11 first downs. Broncos 21, Chargers 7 Brian Griese threw three touchdown passes — two to Ed McCaffrey to cap 24-yard drives following interceptions — as Denver kept San Diego winless. The visiting Broncos (3-3) had lost their previous two games, both at Mile High Stadium. The Chargers (0-6) are off to their worst start since losing 11 in a row to start the 1975 season.

Ravens 15, Jaguars 10 Matt Stover kicked five field goals and the Ravens (5-1) came up with a team-record six turnovers to give Jacksonville a three-game losing streak for the first time since 1996. Jacksonville (2-4) lost at home in consecutive weeks for the first time since its expansion season in 1995.