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Jets strike early, cruise to win over Pack

GREEN BAY, Wis. (Dec. 3, 2006) -- New York Jets coach Eric Mangini showed his team a tape of the "Ice Bowl," and fullback B.J. Askew ran around shirtless in pregame warmups to prove the cold wasn't so bad.

Then Chad Pennington stoked the Jets' hopes of an improbable playoff run.

Pennington, who snapped out of a midseason streak of shaky performances in a victory over Houston last week, put together three touchdown drives of 70 yards or more in the second quarter and the Jets cruised to a 38-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

"I just think we're starting to click," Pennington said. "Any time you put in a new system, it's going to take some time. It's a process. We experienced some success early in the run game, and then everything started to come along."

New York (7-5) built a 31-0 halftime lead as snow flurries floated to the ground and boos showered down from the grandstands on a windy 19-degree day. The Jets used frequent wide-receiver motion and occasional no-huddle offense to confuse a Green Bay defense that has been prone to miscommunication and susceptible to big plays all season.

"One of the trademarks is trying to play fast," Mangini said. "And in doing that, different guys are going to come open based on whatever the scheme is."

Pennington, 25-of-35 for 263 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, connected with eight receivers. Cedric Houston carried 22 times for a career-high 105 yards and two touchdowns.

Could the Jets really make a run at the playoffs?

"We've won a couple of games, but that is what it is," wide receiver Laveranues Coles said. "We're 7-5 and, again, we have a long way to go."

Fans booed the Packers (4-8) several times during the first half and loudly as they jogged to the tunnel at halftime.

"I'd be booing too," McCarthy said. "Shoot, they should boo us. I've got no problem with that. This is a man's league, a man's business and a man's game."

Green Bay barely managed to avoid being shut out at home for the third time this season. McCarthy called for a field goal with his team down 31-0 midway through the third quarter, and Dave Rayner hit a 34-yarder -- a move that elicited sarcastic applause from Packers fans, a Midwestern version of the Bronx cheer.

Brett Favre's season-long struggles with passing accuracy continued as the three-time MVP was 24-of-47 for 214 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Pennington was intercepted by Patrick Dendy late in the third quarter, and Favre threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver to cut the Jets' lead to 31-10. Green Bay then recovered an on-side kick after a successful replay review by McCarthy, but the Packers' slim chances of the comeback were dashed when the offense went three-and-out.

The Jets put together another long scoring drive, and Leon Washington ran 20 yards for a touchdown to put New York ahead 38-10 early in the fourth quarter.

New York began the game with a field goal, then got the ball back when Bryan Thomas sacked Favre and forced a fumble that was recovered by Dewayne Robertson near midfield.

Pennington marched the Jets into Packers territory, then hit Jerricho Cotchery for a touchdown on third-and-9 at the Packers 12 as safety Nick Collins appeared to lose his footing in coverage.

Two long drives capped by Houston touchdown runs made the score 24-0.

Favre was picked off by Andre Dyson with 5 minutes remaining in the half, and Pennington marched the Jets 77 yards, finishing the drive with a lob pass to Chris Baker on third-and-goal.

Favre laughed off the notion that he should have made some sort of motivational speech at halftime.

"I don't know what to say," Favre said. "We're losing 31-to-nothing at halftime. 'Pick it up, guys?' I mean, that's embarrassing."

Mangini, who showed his team footage of the frigid 1967 NFL championship game between Green Bay and Dallas to help motivate them, praised his team's ability to adjust to chilly conditions.

Askew took it a step farther, warming up -- so to speak -- without a shirt before the game.

"For a guy to go out there without his shirt on kind of sends a message, 'Yeah, we'll be all right,"' Askew said.

The Packers are a chilly 1-5 at Lambeau Field this season.

"We didn't really bring the heat in the first half," Packers linebacker Nick Barnett said.

Notes: Jets running back Kevan Barlow was inactive Sunday. ... Starting right tackle Mark Tauscher (groin) and tight end David Martin (ribs) were inactive for Green Bay. ... Barnett played with his broken right hand wrapped up in a club-style cast. ... Punter Jon Ryan played for Green Bay after his father, Bob, died from cancer earlier in the week.

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