Second- year quarterback Dave Krieg, making his first professional start, threw two touchdown passes, the second a 57-yarder to Steve Largent that won the game, and ran for a third touchdown today to bring the Seattle Seahawks a 27-23 upset of the New York Jets.
The Jets slipped to 8-5-1 and out of a first-place tie in the AFC East with this sixth consecutive loss to Seattle, including a defeat six weeks ago in Shea Stadium. New York had won five straight since then, but now reverts to third place in its division behind Miami and Buffalo.
Krieg, from little Milton College in Wisconsin, started in place of Jim Zorn, whose ankle was broken last week. Krieg completed 20 of 26 passes for 264 yards in holding his own against Jet passer Richard Todd, who was 27 of 51 for 286 yards and two touchdowns. Krieg worked his long play with Largent with 8:21 left in the game, just two plays after the Jets had gone ahead.
Largent -- Zorn's premier target -- caught seven Krieg passes for a career-high 169 yards to go over the 1,000-yard mark in reception yardage for the fourth straight year. He caught the winning throw on the Jet 17, behind safety Jesse Johnson, and sprinted away.
The Seahawks (5-9) protected Krieg well against New York's highly publicized defensive front four, and he was sacked just once. Freeman McNeil, the Jets' leading rusher this season, was lost early in the second quarter with a foot injury.
After Seattle went ahead, 27-23, the Jets had two offensive opportunities to win. Todd was intercepted by Dave Brown on the Seattle 17 with 7:10 left. The Jets ran out of downs on the Seattle 43 with 52 seconds remaining.