2006_12_sjetsvikings.jpgWhen Travis Taylor hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass 2 minutes and 7 seconds into Sunday's game between the Jets and the Vikings, the New York sideline couldn't have been pleased. A week after being burned on big plays against the Bills, the Jets had blitzed, but the gamble hadn't paid off. The Vikings took advantage of single coverage and struck quickly at home. But that was the Jets' low point, and after the 26-13 beating they put on the Vikings, they might have trouble remembering it.

Credit belongs to Head Coach Eric Mangini and quarterback Chad Pennington. Mangini put in the perfect game plan against the strong Vikings defense: spread the field and run the ball. All Pennington had to do was make the throws. He completed 29 of 39 passes. He engineered the game-tying drive that led to a Cedric Houston touchdown that answered Minnesota's early score. His 21-yard touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles had just the right amount of air under it -- even if Coles did push off on the defender.

With the offense playing so well, the defense got a boost. It dominated the Vikings after the first-quarter score until a late Vikings touchdown. Its goalline interception that sealed the game was just the gravy on its performance, leading to a game had the just the kind of result the Jets needed after last week's disappointing loss at home to Buffalo. But AFC East-leading New England also won, so the Jets' alreadly slim hopes of a division title took a turn for the worse. They'll need help to reach the playoffs, but at least they're helping themselves.

Photo of Laveranues Coles and Brad Smith celebrating Coles' 2nd quarter touchdown by AP/Ann Heisenfelt