San Francisco (1-4) at New York (4-0)

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  • Game info: 1:00 pm EDT Sun Oct 17, 2004
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The New York Jets are off to their best start under coach Herman Edwards. They don’t feel like they’ve accomplished anything yet.

The Jets try to improve to 5-0 for the first time in franchise history when they take on the San Francisco 49ers.

The Jets are off to their first 4-0 start since 2000, but the record isn’t all that surprising considering they beat Cincinnati, San Diego, Miami and Buffalo, teams with a combined 4-14 mark. In addition, New York had to battle for each win, with its largest margin of victory eight points.

The Jets went 5-7 the rest of the way in 2000 and missed the playoffs.

New York’s chances appear good against the 1-4 Niners, who have allowed 137 points, second-most in the NFL. A 5-0 record will go a long way toward boosting New York’s confidence heading into an Oct. 24 matchup at AFC East rival New England, also 4-0.

The Jets, though, still have plenty to improve upon before that showdown. After taking big leads against the Bengals and Chargers, the defense allowed both teams to close within a touchdown, then gave up two fourth-quarter scores to the Bills in Sunday’s 16-14 victory.

“They know where they are,” Edwards said. “They’re not walking around here thinking that we’re some highly celebrated team. They know we have a lot of work still to do. … But we’re 4-0. We’re not going to give any of them back, not going to feel sorry about being 4-0.”

Chad Pennington bailed out the Jets last week as he led them 60 yards to set up Doug Brien’s winning 38-yard field goal with 58 seconds remaining.

“A lot of times when we have the lead like that we ease off,” said defensive end John Abraham, who leads the AFC with six sacks. “I think it’s just a mental focus that we have to get to finish people off and that’s when we will become a better defense.”

Pennington went 7-for-8 for 51 yards on the winning drive, and finished 31-of-42 for 304 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Jets hadn’t faced a fourth-quarter deficit in their first three games.

“I hope that the drive we had at the end of the game is indicative of how we have come together,” Pennington said. “Last year, we were losing those games. There is such a fine line in this league between winning and losing.”

Last season, seven of the Jets’ 10 losses were by seven points or less.

Wayne Chrebet had eight catches for 90 yards, his highest total since getting 118 yards against Indianapolis on Dec. 23, 2001, but Curtis Martin ran for just 77 yards on 22 carries to snap his string of three straight 100-yard rushing games. Martin is still off to the best start of his career with 502 yards.

Despite the 49ers’ defensive woes, Martin may have a tough time against a unit that is allowing just 3.5 yards per rush, fifth-best in the NFL. But San Francisco’s defense took a big hit Tuesday as All-Pro linebacker Julian Peterson underwent season-ending surgery on his torn left Achilles’ tendon.

While the 49ers dropped their first four games, the Jets shouldn’t take them lightly after Tim Rattay rallied them to a stunning 31-28 overtime victory over Arizona on Sunday.

Rattay threw two touchdown passes and got two 2-point conversions in the final minutes of regulation, and Todd Peterson kicked a 32-yard field goal with 11:37 left in the extra period to cap a comeback from 16 points down with 8:19 left.

Rattay finished 38-of-57 for a career-high 417 yards, 169 after the third quarter, and his 38 completions set a team record.

“We’re always thinking that we can win the game,” Rattay said. “You’re never out of it, you know? It’s happened so much, and this team knows that we have to keep fighting and keep fighting.”

Jets leading receiver Santana Moss is questionable for Sunday with a strained right hamstring and will be a game-time decision.

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