American Football: Testaverde's injury brings downs the Jets

IT HAS not taken long for the New York Jets' hopes of a first Super Bowl victory in 31 years to dissipate. The Jets were selected by many as pre-season favourites, but their prospects already seem bleak following the loss of their quarterback, Vinny Testaverde, who ruptured his left Achilles tendon in the 30-28 loss to the New England Patriots and will be out for the rest of the season.

It was a freak accident. Testaverde was lunging forward in an attempt to recover a fumble by the running back Curtis Martin when he fell.

The loss of their leader, who threw 29 touchdowns and just seven interceptions a season ago, has already had a devastating effect on team morale. "He's irreplaceable. I don't know what the hell you're going to do," said the receiver, Keyshawn Johnson. "I never dreamed in a million years we would lose our starting quarterback in the first game of the season."

Despite a brave effort from his replacement, Tom Tupa, the Jets also lost the game in sickening fashion when the Patriots kicker, Adam Vinatieri, successfully converted a 23-yard field goal with just three seconds remaining.

The importance of having a quarterback of proven quality was confirmed by unlikely victories for the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys. Trailing by 21 points in the fourth quarter against the Washington Redskins, the Cowboys were revitalised by the brilliance of their passer, Troy Aikman, who tied the game with less than two minutes remaining with a touchdown pass to Michael Irvin.

Aikman then completed the job with a 76-yard strike to Raghib Ismail in overtime to complete a 41-35 triumph. He finished with 362 yards and five touchdowns, while the Redskins confirmed that they have retained their penchant for self-destruction.

Brett Favre was in similarly irresistible form for the Packers, who trailed the Oakland Raiders for most of the contest only for Favre to find the receiver Jeff Thomason for the game-winning score with just 11 seconds left. Favre threw four touchdowns in his side's 28-24 triumph.

The latest drama of the day occurred in Philadelphia, where the Eagles raced to a 21-point lead over the highly rated Arizona Cardinals but let it slip away in the second half. The Cardinal comeback was completed when the kicker Chris Jake sent over a 31-yard field goal with no time on the clock, giving Arizona their only lead of the game at 25-24.

An unexpected success came in St Louis, where the quarterback Kurt Warner, making his first NFL start, threw three touchdown passes as the Rams disposed of the Baltimore Ravens 27-10. Warner, whose only previous professional experience was with the Amsterdam Admirals in Europe, was pressed into service following the pre-season injury to Trent Green.

The big shock of the opening day was the San Francisco 49ers' humbling by Jacksonville Jaguars. San Francisco, the most consistent team of the last 20 years, have been hit by player losses and in-fighting between the team president, Bill Walsh, and the head coach, Steve Mariucci, and it showed in a 41-3 humiliation. The normally prolific quarterback, Steve Young, was held to just 96 yards, also giving up two interceptions.

The Minnesota Vikings gained a measure of revenge against the team who beat them in last year's playoffs, the Atlanta Falcons. Despite a late Atlanta rally, the Vikings held on for a 17-14 win.

It was all smiles and celebrations in Cleveland as the Browns returned to active duty for the first time since 1995. However, the smiles faded as Pittsburgh Steelers completed a 43-0 humbling that was every bit as convincing as the scoreline suggests.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Reach Volunteering: Volunteer Trustee with Healthcare expertise

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf