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Oilers Get Shot Down by Jets’ Tough Defense

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

The New York Jets, who entered the season surrounded by questions concerning their inexperience, have delivered some unexpected answers.

The Jets improved to 2-1 Sunday and posted their largest margin of victory ever in the process, a 45-3 rout of the previously unbeaten Houston Oilers.

“Some people say young players can’t win, but I think they can,” Jet Coach Joe Walton said. “We haven’t allowed a touchdown in two weeks. We feel pretty good about the way things are going, but we still have a lot to learn. I know we’re not picked to win anything.”

The Jets lost their opener, 28-3, to New England, and even the players admitted they were pushed around by the Patriots. But since then, the Jets, generally expected to finish last in the AFC East, have allowed just two field goals. They beat Cleveland last week, 23-3.

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Ken O’Brien passed for 266 yards and 3 touchdowns, including 2 of Wesley Walker’s 3 scoring receptions, to pace New York. O’Brien completed 17 of 26 passes and Walker, who had 1 scoring reception all last season, caught 6 passes for 129 yards.

“Today is something I will cherish,” Walker said. “It was not perfect because I dropped a ball and fumbled. I’m very proud of our team, we came off the ball and the protection was there. The defense played very well.”

The game’s tone was set on the Oilers’ first play from scrimmage, when New York cornerback James Hasty was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after breaking up a pass intended for Ernest Givins. The rest of the game featured skirmishes, personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Houston was penalized 10 times for 95 yards, New York 11 times for 95.

The Jets’ defense registered five sacks for the second straight week. Defensive end Mark Gastineau had two, his first multiple-sack game since Nov. 3, 1985.

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Cody Carlson, filling in for injured Houston quarterback Warren Moon, completed 9 of 25 passes for 108 yards and was intercepted twice as Houston dropped to 2-1. Both his interceptions were converted into New York touchdowns.

The Oilers weren’t able to mount many sustained drives and the few they had ended with turnovers. Carlson’s pass was intercepted in the end zone in the first half and Allen Pinkett fumbled on the Jets’ 13-yard line in the third period. Houston failed to convert on seven straight third-down opportunities.

The Oilers’ only score came on Tony Zendejas’ 30-yard field goal.

“It was no fluke, they whipped us,” Houston Coach Jerry Glanville said. “Somebody is going to pay for this hanging. We are going to treat it as the best thing that has ever happened to us.”

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The Jets’ previous largest margin of victory was 39 points, which they achieved twice.

O’Brien completed scoring passes of 8 yards to Kurt Sohn and 50 and 4 yards to Walker. Freeman McNeil added an 8-yard touchdown run and Pat Leahy kicked a 47-yard field goal.

Leahy’s field goal came with 9:55 left in the third period and gave New York a 31-3 lead.


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