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Of course, Johnson wouldn't be going to Hawaii if it wasn't for his Pro Bowl teammate this year, Testaverde, who, in his 12th season, also did a little growing up. With an offensive philosophy already set before he stepped in to replace Glenn Foley early this season, Testaverde played caretaker to the offense, a role that allowed the former Buccaneer, Brown, and Raven to become the AFC's top-rated passer. It's Testaverde's willingness to let other players on the field work for him that Theismann credits for the difference: "If it's third down and eight, you can throw a five-yard pass, let the back go get the next three [yards]. If it's third down and 10, you can hit Keyshawn on a six-yard crossing pattern, let him go get the next four or five."
Testaverde must have been listening Sunday when he found Johnson over the middle for a 20-yard completion on a third-down-and-14 in the fourth quarter. The catch for a first down helped the Jets regain the momentum they lost after the Jaguars had closed their deficit to seven points and sacked Testaverde on the previous play.
Against Denver, though, the Jets will be trying to reverse two seasons' worth of Bronco momentum. The defending Super Bowl champions looked nigh invincible against Miami last Sunday, as Davis rumbled for almost 200 yards. Like every team remaining in these playoffs, though, Denver's weakness could play into the Jets' strength.
"Denver's not a great defense," observes Jackson. "However, when their offense is clicking and they go up 10 to 14 points, defensive coordinator Greg Robinson can commit to the blitz packages he needs. Then you don't see the weaknesses in coverage that you saw à la the Giants and Miami [Denver's only two losses]. But with a team that plays them even and sticks with them for a quarter or two, I think you see a different dynamic on defense."
So can the Jets stick with the Broncos in Denver? If the Jets offense remains as dynamic as it's been, it shouldn't take long to find out.