Jets win preseason opener

August 7, 2008 9:01:41 PM PDT
Brett Favre's big-play ability rubbed off on the New York Jets, who scored three long touchdowns in a 24-20 win over the Cleveland Browns as their new star quarterback watched from the sideline Thursday night. Dwight Lowery returned a punt 62 yards to score with 10:02 left to cap New York's comeback from a 10-point deficit. Lowery and Hank Poteat both intercepted passes by Ken Dorsey in the final four minutes to preserve the lead.

The Browns got yet another chance in the final seconds after a roughing-the-passer penalty and pass interference call put the ball on the 5. Dorsey's ninth straight incompletion on the possession fell short as time expired.

Favre, acquired late Wednesday night from the Green Bay Packers, joined his club an hour before kickoff, held a news conference, then watched one of his former teammates have a big night for his new team.

David Clowney, picked up on waivers by the Jets from the Packers last October, caught touchdown passes of 71 and 70 yards from Brett Ratliff.

The news wasn't all good for New York. Tight end A.J. Schable was taken from the field on a stretcher after a head-to-head hit while trying to make a tackle on a kickoff return by the Browns early in the fourth quarter.

Cleveland scored on a 2-yard pass from Derek Anderson to Braylon Edwards, a 1-yard run by Jason Wright and two field goals by rookie Jason Reda to take a 20-10 lead.

Play was delayed an hour by lightning with 4:11 left in the first quarter.

As Favre walked to the Jets locker room, it was reminiscent of two previous trips he made to Ohio in 2003. Favre and the Packers had their appearance cut short in the Hall of Fame game in Canton by torrential rains and lightning. Nine days later, they arrived in Cleveland minutes before the massive power outage that crippled the northeast and Canada for several days. Favre went 7-for-10 the next night in a preseason game against the Browns.

Edwards gave Cleveland a 7-0 lead with a spectacular one-handed catch of a ball thrown well behind him by Anderson. It capped a nine-play, 62-yard drive on Cleveland's first possession.

Anderson was 4-for-5 for 20 yards, twice connecting on passes to Donte Stallworth, who was signed away from the New England Patriots as a free agent.

Ratliff entered on the Jets' third possession and promptly threw 40 yards down the middle to Clowney, who outran Cleveland defenders for a 71-yard score to tie it at 7.

Wright's run put Cleveland back ahead before Mike Nugent's 20-yard field goal on the final play of the first half got the Jets within 14-10.

Reda kicked field goals of 26 and 39 yards to put Cleveland up 20-10 with 13:01 remaining.

Then Ratliff faked a handoff to an empty backfield and found Clowney down the left sideline for a 70-yard scoring play with 12:05 remaining.

Brady Quinn replaced Anderson and played through the third quarter, completing 13 of 17 passes for 133 yards and one interception.

Ratliff spent the first quarter on the sideline next to Favre, then went 14-for-20 for 252 yards and two TDs.

The Jets' revamped offensive line provided good protection against a Browns defense seeking to apply more pressure on quarterbacks. Free-agent additions Alan Faneca, signed from Pittsburgh, and Damien Woody, from Detroit, were brought in to help an offense that ranked 26th in total yards and allowed 53 sacks, fourth most in the NFL last season.

Cleveland signed Shaun Rogers, from Detroit, and traded a second-round pick to Green Bay for Corey Williams to beef up a defensive line that had only 28 sacks and ranked 30th in team defense last season.

Notes: Browns Pro Bowl TE Kellen Winslow sat out due to a strained hamstring. ... LB Beau Bell, Cleveland's fourth-round pick out of UNLV, had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and will be out four-to-six weeks. ... New York TE Chris Baker, who had missed much of early camp with a sore back, had one catch for seven yards.