In the rematch of Parcells' Jets against the Patriots, the team he led to the AFC championship a year ago, he turned to his backup quarterback to jump-start a lethargic offense in the second half Sunday. Foley led the Jets to three touchdowns and a 24-19 victory.
"He's spunky," Parcells said of Foley, who was 17 for 23 for 200 yards and a touchdown. "I watched him at Boston College, went to practices, saw him play. I know this player. We needed a spark and I felt he could give it to us."
So Parcells lifted ineffective Neil O'Donnell, who was six for 14 for 59 yards. And Foley lifted the Jets (5-3) to their first victory in the last seven games against Patriots (5-2), including a 27-24 overtime defeat at Foxboro, Mass. on Sept. 14 in Parcells' much-hyped return to New England.
"It's nice when you're playing again and winning again," said Foley, who suffered a severely dislocated right shoulder against the Patriots in 1995. "It's especially nice to be able to come in and get a chance to play against the team that put my career in jeopardy.
"It's very hard being a backup. This is really a nice way to come back and to beat the AFC champions, it makes everything worth it."
Not to the Patriots, who didn't seem as inspired for their second game against Parcells. They played well in spurts, but just couldn't slow down the Jets once Foley got into the game.
With the Patriots ahead, 12-3, in the third quarter, Foley guided the Jets 74 yards to a touchdown, a one-yard run by Leon Johnson.
The Patriots responded with Drew Bledsoe's second touchdown pass, a 23-yard pass play to Troy Brown, but Foley led touchdown drives of 59 and 76 yards on the Jets' next two possessions. In one stretch Foley completed 14 consecutive passes.
The touchdowns came on Adrian Murrell's five-yard run and a five-yard pass play to Lorenzo Neal, who touched the ball for the first time all season when he caught the pass in the flat and tumbled into the end zone.
"It's a tough one to take because the Jets just outplayed us in the second half," Bledsoe said.