EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—Chad Pennington shouldered the blame for a disappointing performance last week against Pittsburgh, vowing to play better down the stretch.
He more than did that Sunday, throwing three touchdown passes in a 37-14 win over the Seattle Seahawks, turning the game into an offensive bonanza. The Jets racked up a season-high 482 yards and went over 200 yards on the ground for the fourth time this season.
Curtis Martin chipped in 134 yards and two touchdowns, helping the Jets (10-4) keep their lead in the AFC wild-card standings heading into a crucial game against New England next week.
“For the first time in a long time we set the tempo,” said Pennington, who gave a statement but declined to answer questions. “We kept it flowing. The biggest thing was to not let up. To not even breathe, to just keep pressing forward.”
The Jets looked nothing like the team that struggled in the 17-6 loss to Pittsburgh. The Jets had their highest output since a 41-14 win over Miami on Nov. 1, and second highest of the season. They never punted.
“You could just tell after last week the offense was disappointed,” Jets coach Herman Edwards said. “I had a feeling they’d have a breakout game and they did.”
The defense also shut out an opponent in the second half for the seventh time this season. Linebacker Eric Barton had a monster day, with 11 tackles, a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and interception.
The Seahawks (7-7) had another disappointing day in their bid to stay atop the NFC West, with three turnovers the Jets converted into 14 points. Shaun Alexander, who has a history of key fumbles, turned the ball over in the end zone late in the third quarter, effectively ending any chance to rally. He finished with 77 yards.
Seattle also was on the losing end of another call officials appeared to blow. Martin scored on a 3-yard run in the second quarter even though replays showed he never reached the goal line. Holmgren challenged, but referee Scott Green determined the TD should stand.
“My luck with officials hasn’t been what it has been in years past,” Holmgren said. “It would have given us a little life.”
Green told a pool reporter there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call.
Pennington looked crisp and sharp after one of the worst games of his career against the Steelers, leading to criticism he cannot perform in big games. He completed one long pass play after another and finished 18-of-24 for 253 yards. His rating was 148.1 after a 33.6 last week.
Santana Moss, who complained earlier in the week about not getting the ball enough, had two touchdown receptions.
“If we have them like that all the time, there would be a lot of joy in New York,” Moss said.
Martin had two first-half scoring runs and established a single-season team record with 12 TDs rushing. He also set the team mark for career TDs rushing with 53, passing Emerson Boozer.
Martin, 31, also became the oldest player to rush for 1,500 yards in a season. He has 1,511.
The Seahawks took an early 7-3 lead when Jerry Rice made a beautiful one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown. The Jets then reeled off three straight touchdowns, including Martin’s controversial score.
The blown call was reminiscent of the Seahawks-Jets game in 1998 at the Meadowlands, when officials mistook Vinny Testaverde’s white helmet for the football and awarded the Jets a fourth-down touchdown that won the game 32-31.
That play was pivotal when the owners brought back video replay as an officiating tool for the next season.
It was the second time in three games the Seahawks have seen a questionable call go against them. In a 43-39 overtime loss to Dallas on Dec. 6, Holmgren said replays and film showed Keyshawn Johnson was not in bounds when he made a pivotal TD catch, and the coach questioned why replay officials didn’t review the play that cut Seattle’s lead to 39-36 with 1:45 remaining.
Seahawks cornerback Bobby Taylor missed his fourth straight game with a strained right knee. LB Chad Brown hurt his foot. … WR Darrell Jackson led Seattle with 45 yards receiving after missing practice all week to attend his father’s funeral. … Jets K Doug Brien missed his first extra point of the season, and also went wide left on a 30-yard field goal. … Jets FB Jerald Sowell led the team with 83 yards on five receptions. … Hollywood star Denzel Washington was at the game.