Martin runs for 174 yards, ties league record

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- A few hours before kickoff, Jets

running back Curtis Martin went onto the field at the Meadowlands

to practice running on the snow.

Allen's Analysis

Eric Allen

Question on the Steelers: Is Maddox still the starter next year?

I don't think so. Last season he had a good run, but it's obvious why he's been second-string. He doesn't have the durability or consistency to put up big numbers year after year. It's time for the Steelers to either take a QB with its likely high draft pick or find a QB who's going to lead the team. This was supposed to be a big season for the Steelers -- they have a tremendous receiving corps and the feeling was that Maddox would do a fine job leading the offense. But it hasn't turned out that way as the defensive backfield had trouble and Maddox seemed gun-shy.

Question on the Jets: Is Martin still the lead back next year or is it time to get younger?

It's time for the Jets to get a younger back. Martin has had a tremendous year and the past few weeks he's run the ball very well. He's collecting achievements almost every week for rushing yardage or touchdowns. I'm not sure if it's either the number of carries or the age for a running back, but once a back reaches either plateau, it's time to make the change. I'm not saying he should retire, but the Jets should make the transition to a younger back who can carry the ball 25-30 times.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Whatever he did worked. Martin had 30 carries for 174 yards,

finished with 228 all-purpose yards and etched his name in the NFL

record books Sunday, helping the New York Jets beat the Pittsburgh

Steelers 6-0. It was the first time in over three years the

Steelers (5-9) were shut out, dating to a 16-0 loss to Baltimore on

Sept. 3, 2000.

"I went out there early to get used to it and try to use it to

my advantage," Martin said. "I said, 'I'm going to get a few

people today.' I was confident I wasn't going to slip."

Doug Brien kicked two field goals to provide all the scoring,

and the inconsistent defense made three defensive stands in the

fourth quarter to seal the win.

Pittsburgh had its chances, but Jeff Reed missed his field goal

attempts of 42 and 20 yards wide left. With the loss, the Steelers

were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Martin stole the game after a winter storm dumped several inches

of snow on the Northeast. He became just the second player in NFL

history to top 1,000 yards in nine straight seasons to start a

career, joining Barry Sanders as the only players in NFL history to

accomplish the feat.

Sanders had 1,000 yards in each of his first 10 seasons.

"It is something that I feel good about," Martin said. "I'm

not big on statistics and individual goals, but this one is special

to me. I'm only the second person in the world to do this."

Martin also passed John Riggins for 11th place on the all-time

rushing list. Martin has 11,488 career yards.

His rushing counterpart, Jerome Bettis, also passed Franco

Harris for eighth place on the career rushing list, though Bettis

was limited in the fourth quarter with a right knee injury and

finished with 16 carries for 68 yards.

Bettis has 12,184 career yards.

Martin had his most productive game on the ground since rushing

for 203 yards against Indianapolis on Dec. 3, 2000.

"There were a lot of missed tackles," Steelers end Kimo von

Oelhoffen said. "We had our opportunities. The weather played a

part, but we've got to make the tackles. Our defense is designed to

stop the run. We missed too many tackles."

The last time the Jets (6-8) hosted a football game played in a

snowstorm was Dec. 12, 1982, at Shea Stadium against the Tampa Bay

Buccaneers. The Jets beat the Bucs 32-17 in front of an announced

crowd of 28,147.

The snow changed to rain in the second half, but by that time it

was too late for the Steelers to mount a comeback. It was the

lowest scoring game in the NFL this year.

"I don't know if you could have done a better job with the

weather like that," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "Games like

that are the games you dream about when you're a kid. It was a

classic game, a game for the purists."

Brien kicked field goals of 28 and 41 yards in the first half,

and the Jets held on after the break thanks to three defensive


Midway through the fourth quarter, Tommy Maddox tried to

engineer a rally. On third-and-goal from the Jets 6, Maddox threw

an interception to Ray Mickens in the end zone. But officials made

a questionable call on Aaron Beasley, whistling him for roughing

the passer after making helmet-to-helmet contact.

The Steelers had a new set of downs, but failed to score a

touchdown. Reed then missed the 20-yard field goal.

"There are no excuses," Reed said. "I missed two field goals

and we lost by six points. I know the guys won't put it on me, but

I take the blame myself."

Martin then marched the Jets down the field, and his 56-yard run

to the Steelers 10 looked as though it would ice the game. But on

the next play, LaMont Jordan mishandled the handoff from Chad

Pennington and fumbled.

Mike Logan recovered for the Steelers. After driving to the Jets

16, they faced fourth-and-10 but Maddox threw incomplete. The

Steelers had one final drive, but Maddox threw incomplete on

fourth-and-10 from the 45.

Maddox finished the game with eight straight incompletions and

was 16-of-38 for 137 yards.

"We needed to be tested, just to see who's going to compete

when everything's against us," Jets tackle Josh Evans said.

"Everybody could have given up, but it was nice to see everybody


^Notes:@ Before the game started, a cheer went up after part of

President George W. Bush's speech on the capture of Saddam Hussein

was broadcast through the loudspeakers at the stadium. ... Steelers

WR Hines Ward had five catches for 68 yards, going over 1,000 yards

for the third straight season. ... Mickens had a career-high four

passes defensed.