AP Photo/Mark Duncan

Even with Chad Pennington out, Curtis Martin having bruised his knee and the Cleveland defense being uncharacteristally stingy, the Jets (7-3) managed to deliver when it counted yesterday in a 10-7 nondivisional win over the host Browns (3-7) that may prove to be incredibly important as the playoff race takes shape.

Justin McCareins' 11-yard touchdown reception with 5:32 remaining stood as the final difference, but it was his heady reach-out for a first down two plays earlier that kept the drive alive and set the tone for the game's waning moments.

It could have been a real disaster for Gang Green, what with Cleveland's starting QB out for most of the game, but the Jets don't care how ugly any win is. On the future controversy front, look for a big debate in the media between the pros and cons of the Jets having to pay to keep Lamont Jordan - perhaps at the expense of Martin. Jordan came up huge, gaining 61 yards in the fourth quarter. "LaMont," Coach Herman Edwards said, "he was in a groove."

Photo by AP/Mark Duncan