NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Brett Favre gave the Tennessee Titans a painful reminder Sunday. He will pick apart the best NFL defenses when given too much time.
Favre threw two touchdown passes, Leon Washington ran for two scores and the New York Jets served notice they will be a factor in the AFC this season by routing the Titans 34-13, ending the perfect start by the NFL’s last undefeated team.
“I’m not going to sit here and say we’ve established ourselves as the best team in football,” Favre said. “All it says is I think we beat the best team in football today, definitely if you go by record and the way that they’ve played. They have been the best team in football.”
The Jets (8-3) came in atop the AFC East after a victory over New England at Foxborough. They have won five straight for the first time since October 2004 and seven of their last eight. The win also pulled them within two of Tennessee (10-1) with five to play in the race for home-field advantage through the playoffs.
Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas called it a statement to the rest of the NFL.
“Now people are going to start looking at us and say, ‘They are a team you have to reckon with,”’ Thomas said.
New York coach Eric Mangini said he was proud of his team for playing, and winning, in a challenging environment. The Titans sold out their 101st consecutive game.
“We’ve been down here the last three years. It’s loud, and it’s always been a tough place to play,” Mangini said.
The Titans had won 13-straight regular-season games dating to Dec. 16, 2007, in becoming only the 11th team since 1970 to win its first 10 games.
“It was a great run, and we’ve got to win our next game,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said of playing Detroit on Thursday.
This time, the NFL’s stingiest scoring defense that had been allowing 13.1 points per game had no answer for Favre and the Jets, even with the return of defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch.
The Jets spread out Tennessee, Favre threw fast and often, and they wore the Titans’ defense down by keeping it on the field for more than 40 minutes. New York overcame two turnovers and two sacks in the first half by outgaining Tennessee on offense 409-281.
“We really didn’t have an answer for it today,” Vanden Bosch said. “Favre had a really good game. Give him credit. We knew what to expect from him. He’s a great player, and he beat us today.”
Not that they got any help from their own offense.
“It felt like we were on the sideline forever just watching Brett Favre play,” Titans fullback Ahmard Hall said. “The defense, I felt bad that we on offense couldn’t get anything going and keep them off the field.”
This was only the third game in NFL history featuring two starting quarterbacks with more than 100,000 yards combined yards passing in Favre and Kerry Collins.
Favre threw for 224 yards and had much more help than Collins, whose receivers dropped at least five passes in the first half, including one by Bo Scaife in Jets territory with room to run. Favre took advantage of a Titans’ secondary featuring Chris Carr starting at cornerback in place of Nick Harper, and he was flagged twice on one drive for pass interference.
With the win, Favre broke a tie with Dan Marino for victories in the most NFL stadiums by winning in his 32nd at LP Field.
Washington scored on runs of 61 and 4 yards in the fourth quarter as the Jets padded their lead. Jay Feely also kicked two field goals.
The Jets led 10-3 at halftime and could have had an even bigger margin if not for two turnovers — the first at the Tennessee 21 at the end of the first quarter. Favre could not have started hotter as he completed his first eight passes for 89 yards, the sixth a 10-yard TD pass to Thomas Jones on the opening drive.
The Titans went three-and-out on three of their first five drives and had only 55 yards offense until a final drive just before halftime when Rob Bironas finally put Tennessee on the scoreboard with a 43-yard field goal. Bironas added a 49-yarder in the fourth quarter.
By the time Collins tossed a 6-yard TD pass to Hall, it was too late. They finished with just 45 yards rushing.
“We are a very confident team anyway, but coming in here and doing this and getting it done, that can only help us,” Jets safety Kerry Rhodes said.
Notes: The Jets improved to 9-0 when Jones scores a touchdown. …
Jones had a chance for his third straight 100-yard game, but finished with 96 yards on 27 carries. Washington finished with 82 yards on eight carries… Favre had been 0-1 at LP Field, losing in his first visit here with Green Bay in 2001. … Tennessee becomes the fifth team the Jets have held to 50 yards rushing or less. The Titans finished with a season-low 45. … Chris Johnson’s fumble in the third quarter was the first of the rookie’s career. … Tennessee punter Craig Hentrich played his 234th career game, passing Rohn Stark for eighth all-time.