EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Brett Favre hung out on the New York Jets’ sideline after calling it an early day, relishing a rout that was unlike any other in franchise history.
“It’s proof positive of what this team is capable of being,” Favre said.
The dominant Jets took advantage of every mistake by the St. Louis Rams, making their 47-3 rout Sunday look more like a scrimmage than an NFL game. They planned to celebrate for at least a few hours before they started preparing for their big matchup at New England on Thursday night.
“I’ve only had about 5 minutes to really think about it,” coach Eric Mangini said. “It’s New England. It’s a tough game, a conference opponent and it’s always a tough environment up there.”
The Jets (6-3) certainly made things tough for the Rams (2-7) at the Meadowlands. Thomas Jones had three touchdown runs, Jay Feely kicked four field goals — including a franchise record-tying 55-yarder — and the Jets converted five turnovers into 27 points. Their previous biggest win was 45-3 over Houston in 1988.
“It’s awesome to be in a game like that,” a grinning Favre said.
That is, as long as you’re on the winning side.
“It was embarrassing,” Rams interim coach Jim Haslett said. “That was bad football all the way around. I can’t even describe it.”
The Jets have won three straight and five of six, with the only blemish a 16-13 overtime loss at Oakland three weeks ago. New York is tied with New England at the top of the AFC East, making Thursday’s matchup between the rivals even more intriguing.
“They’ve been the nemesis for the whole league, not just this franchise,” fullback Tony Richardson said.
Jones had 26 carries for 149 yards, and Favre was 14-of-19 for 167 yards and a touchdown to Dustin Keller before being replaced by Kellen Clemens in the fourth quarter. It was the Jets’ first win over the Rams since 1983.
“It definitely feels good to be at this point right now,” Favre said. “A game like this does a lot for you, but I don’t think this team will be overconfident.”
New York had two interceptions and three fumble recoveries, including Calvin Pace’s 50-yard touchdown return. Things were so bad for the Rams that Trent Green, who replaced the ineffective Marc Bulger at halftime, hit umpire Bill Schuster in the head with a pass.
The Jets scored on all seven of their first-half possessions, jumping out to a 40-0 lead, their second-most points in an opening two quarters.
“The Rams got taken to the woodshed today,” St. Louis guard Richie Incognito said. “It was terrible to be out there on the field.”
Jones, who entered second in the AFC in rushing, capped the Jets’ opening drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. He took a couple steps to his left, shifted to his right and juked Oshiomogho Atogwe, then got a nice block downfield from Laveranues Coles as he scampered into the end zone.
“Running the ball, you physically have to dominate the other team,” Jones said. “And I think that’s what we were able to do.”
Pace’s fumble recovery gave the Jets a 17-0 lead. Hit by blitzing safety Abram Elam as Bulger tried to throw, the ball was jarred loose. Pace picked it up and took off down the sideline untouched for the score.
Rams coach Jim Haslett challenged that it was a fumble, but officials upheld it after a short video review.
“Somebody was looking down on me today because if it had taken another bounce, I might’ve kicked it out of bounds,” Pace said. “I had enough burst to finish and get into the end zone.”
The Jets extended their lead to 24-0 less than 3 minutes into the second quarter on Jones’ second score, a 2-yard rumble.
Feely’s 49-yard field goal made it 27-0, and kicked a 46-yarder a few plays later after Kerry Rhodes recovered a fumble by Derek Stanley.
New York took advantage of another turnover when Rhodes picked off Bulger’s pass for Donnie Avery and returned it 50 yards to the Rams 18. Four plays later, Favre found Keller in the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown to make it 37-0.
Instead of kneeling on the ball, the Rams chose to run — and paid for it. Kenneth Darby, starting for the injured Steven Jackson, had the ball knocked out and Eric Barton recovered it. Feely kicked his 55-yarder two plays later, tying Pat Leahy and John Hall for the longest in team history.
Green replaced Bulger in the second half and led the Rams to their first points on Josh Brown’s 37-yard field goal. He was later intercepted by Hank Poteat, and Jones dragged a few Rams into the end zone a few plays later for his third touchdown from 6 yards to make it 47-3.
“We went out there and handled business,” Pace said. “We finished the game like we were supposed to.”
Notes: The Jets’ record for first-half points is 41 against Tampa
Bay in 1985. … Jones’ nine rushing TDs ties his single-season career high. … The Rams had won the last seven meetings between the teams.