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Jets won't stop until job is done

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 5, 2003


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Last season, the Jets believed it was an accomplishment to get to the playoffs, where they were bounced by Oakland in the first round.

This year, they intend to stick around a little longer.

"We're not satisfied just getting into the playoffs," cornerback Ray Mickens said. "Last year it looked that way. This year, we're not satisfied, and we showed it today. We have more business to take care of. We didn't celebrate in here like we won the Super Bowl today. We've got a lot more work to do."

The team has been on a roll since a 2-5 start, its play improving and confidence rising. Coach Herm Edwards said he likes what he sees.

"It's up there with some of the better teams, obviously the one in Tampa, in Philadelphia, the one I played on that went to the Super Bowl," Edwards said.

"They are starting to get it. We talked about that. I saw it coming about six weeks ago. But you just kind of, it's like cooking.

"You just keep cooking and all of a sudden you smell the aroma. Right now I think they smell it a little bit. Still a long way to go. Now we have to go on the road (to either Oakland or Tennessee) and win a game. It's tough. We'll see what we're made of."

Several Jets said it didn't matter who they play next.

"They messed up and let us in (the playoffs)," guard Dave Szott said. "We're playing our best football and we're not intimidated by anybody."

MANNING STRUGGLES: Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning was out of synch, seemingly confused by some wrinkles in the Jets defense and unable to sustain anything. And, for the third time, he failed to win a playoff game.

"It really doesn't matter what I have to say right now," Manning said. "I'm a pretty wide-open target, I'm sure the articles are already written and the shots are going to be taken. All I can do is sit here and take it. I certainly would have liked to play better and help my team out more."

FRIENDLY RIVALRY: As excited as Colts coach Tony Dungy tried to be for close friend and protege Edwards, the Jets coach said he felt bad for his mentor.

"It was tough at the end because I know what kind of coach he is and, really, that's the reason I'm standing here, because of Tony," Edwards said.

MISCELLANY: Richie Anderson's 56-yard screen pass touchdown was the Jets' longest pass play of the season and the longest scoring pass in their postseason history. ... This was the first time the Jets and Colts were both in the playoffs since Super Bowl III. ... Attendance was 78,524. ... Ex-Bucs in the game included Indianapolis' James Cannida, David Gibson and Eric Vance, and New York's Damien Robinson, Donnie Abraham, Steve White and, of course, Vinny Testaverde.

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