Washington scores two TDs as Jets edge lowly LionsOct 22, 2006 - 8:37 PM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Rookie Leon Washington made easy work of the shorthanded Detroit Lions' defense.
Washington set season highs in rushing yards and touchdowns, while Chad Pennington went over 10,000 career yards as the New York Jets posted a 31-24 triumph over the Lions.
Washington, who was drafted in the fourth round out of Florida State, carried 20 times for 129 yards and his first two career touchdowns, including a 16-yard scoring run down the left sideline with 4:51 remaining in the fourth quarter. T hat capped an eight-play, 62-yard drive and increased the Jets' lead to 31-17.
"My job is to come in here and do what the coach asks me to," Washington said . "If they want me to run between the tackles, I'll do it. If they want me to run outside, I'll do it."
"We couldn't control the running game," Lions coach Rod Marinelli said. "If you cannot control the running game in this league, you cannot win."
Washington opened the scoring with a five-yard run in the first period to set the tone against a defensive line that was without Pro Bowl tackle Shaun Rogers due to a four-game suspension. New York (4-3) registered 221 yards on the ground with a 5.3 average per attempt.
"As an offensive lineman, you love when your running backs have the opportunity to make big plays," Jets rookie Nick Mangold said.
"Anytime you can get the running game going, your play-action is elevated," Pennington said. "It's really nice to see these guys jell together as an offensive line. When you have (Kevan) Barlow and Leon, it's a nice 1-2 punch."
Pennington threw for 189 yards, completing 16-of-22 passes with a touchdown and interception. His 44-yard TD pass to Justin McCareins gave the Jets a 14-0 advantage after one period. The signal-caller ranks fifth on the Jets all-time passers list behind Joe Nameth, Ken O'Brien, Richard Todd and Vinny Testeverde.
Barlow had 49 yards on the ground and a score and Jerricho Cotchery caught seven passes for 79 yards for New York, which matched its win total from a season ago.
"You've got to take advantage while it's there, for a while you're a quiet guy and nobody's going to pay attention to you," Cotchery said on being the No. 2 receiver. "For a while you're just going to be the guy on the side of Laveranues (Coles). A lot of opportunities were out there for me."
The Jets are in second place in the AFC East under rookie coach Eric Mangini after finishing last with a 4-12 record in 2005 under Herman Edwards.
"The things that happened last year, I was at another place at that point, and it was a good thing that the Jets had that record," Mangini said. "I'm really pleased with the way we're working, the individual preparation. It's carrying over into wins."
Jon Kitna went 22-of-36 for 269 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions (1-6), who fell to 22-64 under president Matt Millen.
Running back Kevin Jones added 86 yards on 15 carries and 57 on six catches with one score.
"I've said it all year: We just can't finish," Kitna said. "I don't know what it was like here before. It stinks being 1-6, but who says we can't win nine in a row? That's the mentality I have, and if you don't have that mentality, you don't need to be here."
Mike Furrey finished with nine catches for 109 yards - both career highs - for Detroit (1-6), which had won five of its previous six games at the Meadowlands.
Furrey's diving catch with 2:22 left to make it 31-24, but the Jets were able to run out the clock.
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