Pennington bobbles to start, but recovers to beat Miami

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Chad Pennington struggled for most
of the day against the Miami Dolphins, fumbling the opening snap,
wobbling passes and missing receivers.

Then came up big -- right when the Jets needed him.

Pennington threw two touchdown passes, including a 1-yarder to
Jerald Sowell in the fourth quarter to help seal a 17-7 victory
Sunday. And for the most part, he held onto the ball.

Hoping to atone for six fumbles last week in an embarrassing
loss to Kansas City, Pennington vowed not to drop another one
against the Dolphins (1-1). It didn't take him long to break that
promise: On the first play of the game, he bobbled the exchange
from Kevin Mawae.

Ahh, but Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor was offside, so
instead of a disastrous start, Pennington had gotten the one little
gaffe out of his system.

He held on for the rest of the game, but his passes were another
matter. Many wobbled in the air; some were too short, others too
long. But he connected on just enough, and was at his best in the
fourth quarter.

Gus Frerotte threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Randy McMichael at
the start of the quarter, closing the Jets lead to 10-7.

On the ensuing drive, Pennington and the Jets (1-1) answered.
Pennington went 7-of-7 for 74 yards, capping an 80-yard drive with
the scoring pass to Sowell to make it 17-7. The series took 10
plays and ate up 5:54.

Pennington finished 19-of-30 for 190 yards, with no

Curtis Martin, who won the NFL rushing title last season, failed
to reach 100 yards for the second straight game. The Dolphins held
Martin to 72 yards on 31 carries, and the defense kept them in the

But Frerotte, after a stellar game in a surprising 34-10 victory
over Denver last week, was off, finishing 20-of-43 for 177 yards
with a touchdown and an interception, which came late on a last
attempt at a rally.

The Dolphins also failed to muster much of a running attack.
Rookie Ronnie Brown, who came into the game with a slight shoulder
injury, had 35 yards on 12 carries. By the end of the game,
Frerotte was throwing on every down to try to get Miami back in it.

Things even went wrong with normally terrific Olindo Mare, who
missed a 21-yard field goal in the first quarter wide left after a
high snap caused him to stutter-step before planting to make his

Pennington got the scoring going when he threw a 7-yard
touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles. The Jets led 10-0 at halftime
but it could have been more following a bizarre sequence late in
the second quarter.

On third-and-goal from the 8, Pennington threw complete down the
middle to Wayne Chrebet, who appeared to stretch the ball over the
plane of the goal line.

Officials ruled Chrebet down, but the Jets challenged the call.
After the review, the call was upheld because the referee ruled
Chrebet's knee was down, and he was touched down, before getting
the ball into the end zone. Then on fourth down from the goal line,
Martin tried to get himself in but fumbled and the Dolphins got the
ball on downs.