NFL news of December 23, 2002

From the time it was announced last week that veteran cornerback Otis Smith had been placed on the injured reserve list, it was expected that Jets quarterback Chad Pennington and his cast of fleet-footed wide receivers would test his replacement, Leonard Myers, who was making his first NFL start.

The second-year cornerback’s night got off to a poor start and progressively got worse in the Patriots’ 30-17 setback.

Pennington threw nine times in the direction of Myers, connecting seven times for 99 yards and two touchdowns.

In the Jets’ second offensive series, Pennington connected with Laveranues Coles for a 32-yard touchdown pass when a leaping Myers bumped into teammate Terrell Buckley, who was also covering the Jets wide receiver.

…As frustrating as last night’s loss may have been, the Patriots can still win the AFC East title with a victory next week against Miami in Foxboro combined with a Jets loss to Green Bay. The Pats also have a slight chance to make the playoffs as a wild card, but Milloy didn’t want to hear about it.

— Ed Gray, The Boston Herald “Game 16: The Jets; Myers can’t spell O-t-i-s”

The Patriots defeated the Dolphins 27-24 in overtime in the early game of week 17, but the 12-3 Packers fell to the Jets 42-17 in the late game and the Jets advanced to the playoffs.

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