Freeman McNeil scored twice in 64 seconds of the first period today and the New York Jets ran their winning streak to five games with a 32-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
An early morning snowstorm and 20-degree weather kept the crowd to 28,147. There were 32,223 no-shows, the most since the Jets moved into Shea Stadium in 1964.
McNeil ended the Jets' first drive with a four-yard touchdown, then made the score 13-0 with a five-yard run after the Jets had recovered a fumble on the kickoff. Richard Todd's one-yard touchdown pass to Mickey Shuler and Scott Dierking's yard scoring run ensured victory for New York (5-1), which retained its share of first place in the AFC.
The Jets went 62 yards in 12 plays on their first possession, twice getting first downs on fourth and one, to take a 7-0 lead. Two plays after Bruce Harper returned the opening kickoff 31 yards to the Jets' 38, McNeil ran 24 yards to Tampa Bay's 34. McNeil gained eight yards and Todd passed to Wesley Walker for nine to the four-yard line before McNeil followed a crunching block by tackle Marvin Powell and went around right end to score.
On the next kickoff, Shuler jarred the ball loose from Johnny Ray Smith and teammate Tom Newton recovered on the Tampa Bay 14. Todd threw to Jerome Barkum at the five and, on the next play, McNeil again followed all-pro Powell around right end for a touchdown.
"Weather is weather. It made no difference," said John McKay, coach of Tampa Bay (2-4). "We couldn't even pick up a kickoff. A kickoff was a new thing for us today. If you have solidarity and a strong union, you ought to be able to pick up a kickoff."