EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., NOV. 1 -- With sorrow for his friends, but enthusiasm for his future, Eric Dickerson has no room for anger at the Los Angeles Rams anymore. They have traded him to a first-place team that doubled his salary.

"I appreciate that," Dickerson said today. "I want to be on a contender. I like winning. I hate to lose. I'm not 1 and 5."

Make that 1 and 6. As the Rams' stock continued to drop, the Indianapolis Colts (4-3) and Dickerson are soaring following their 19-14 upset of the New York Jets (3-4). That left the recent doormats sharing the AFC East lead with the New England Patriots, whom they upset last week.

Not that Dickerson had so much to do with it. The star of the day was the tailback Dickerson will displace, Albert Bentley, who rushed 29 times for 145 yards but is destined to become the next Wally Pipp.

Participating in 16 plays, Dickerson carried 10 times for a net of 38 yards, caught one pass for 28 and botched two scoring opportunities when the Colts had to settle for a couple of Dean Biasucci's four field goals.

All was quickly forgiven, however, because this was a honeymoon afternoon, scarcely a day and a half since he was traded.

"I was a little nervous, believe it or not," he said. "I didn't know the offense that well. We went over it last night and I tried to learn as much as I could in one night."

On the last play of the third quarter, third and two at the Jets' 2-yard line, quarterback Jack Trudeau pitched out to Dickerson going left but the ball bounced off his chest for a 19-yard loss (not charged to Dickerson).

"Nerves," Dickerson said. "I was nervous, and I was thinking too much. I didn't know the plays and I didn't want to mess up -- like, is that the right play? Am I going the right way? The terminology here and at the Rams is different. Even numbers were to the left. Here they're to the right. I'm out there trying to reverse 'em in my mind. I'm not a thinker on the football field. When you think, you're dead."

A few minutes earlier, second and four at the Jets' 25, Trudeau turned left to hand off to Dickerson, who ran behind his back. Trudeau took a two-yard loss.

"That was an audible," Dickerson said. "I just wasn't sure. That was my fault. When we practice, I can learn a lot in a week."

Dickerson didn't play after the bungled pitchout. "They got more complicated and I didn't know the plays that well," he said. "I knew two pass plays and four run plays."

He said his sore leg wasn't a factor. "It was a little sore at times," he said. "I kept talking to Ron {Meyer, the Colts' coach, who had Dickerson at SMU} and he kept asking me how it felt. It loosened up, but then I stopped playing and it tightened up again."

Trudeau said, "I'm surprised he made only one mistake. I was audiblizing a lot while he was in there and he picked 'em all up."

Now, Dickerson will be expected to start earning in earnest his $5.6 million over the next four years, beginning against the San Diego Chargers in the Hoosier Dome next Sunday.

Dickerson talked about being unappreciated in Los Angeles, but should enjoy greater popularity in Indianapolis.

"I have a cousin there," he said. "I'm sure he'll show me around."

The worst part is leaving his Rams friends, especially tight end David Hill, with whom he was especially close. Dickerson already has suggested that Meyer try to get Hill before Tuesday's trading deadline because he is "the best blocking tight end in football."

Meanwhile, he was making new friends during pregame warmups. But Bentley couldn't share the enthusiasm for the new arrival. "Right now {I'm} unhappy," Bentley said. "But I'm sure in the long run everything's gonna work out okay."

"I want to contribute," Dickerson said. "I don't want to be just a wallflower standing around . . . One thing I can say about this football team, they want to win, and they have a good offensive line. With a good offensive line and me, I think we can go places."

Jets defensive end Marty Lyons missed the game to be with his wife Kelley in Demopolis, Ala. She is in intensive care with severe facial injury and broken shoulders after her auto skidded off a road Saturday and went down a 20-foot embankment, a Jets spokesman said. The Lyons' son, Rocky, 5 1/2, was in the car but apparently unhurt. Lyons told the Jets the boy pulled his mother out of the car and helped her up the slope.

Indianapolis 3 7 3 6 19 N.Y. Jets 0 7 0 7 14 First Quarter

I -- FG Biasucci 36, 7:04 Second Quarter

I -- Bouza 44 pass from Trudeau (Biasucci kick), 4:37

NY -- Hector 12 run (Leahy kick), 12:46 Third Quarter

I -- FG Biasucci 44, 7:02 Fourth Quarter

I -- FG Biasucci 38, :04

I -- FG Biasucci 33, 5:39

NY -- Hector 20 run (Leahy kick), 8:30

A -- 60,863

Colts Jets First downs 21 15 Rushes-yards 45-186 20-101 Passing yards 191 129 Return yards 24 10 Passing 14-23-0 16-30-1 Sacked-yards lost 1-1 7-61 Punts-average 3-40 5-36 Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-2 Penalties-yards 4-35 6-34 Time of possession 34:47

RUSHING -- Indianapolis: Bentley 29-145, Dickerson 10-38, Trudeau 6-3. New York: McNeil 7-37, Hector 5-37,

PASSING -- Indianapolis: Trudeau 14-23-0, 192 yards. New York: O'Brien 15-29-1, 174; Jennings 1-1-0, 16.

RECEIVING -- Indianapolis: Beach 4-31, Bentley 3-32, Bouza 2-51, Brooks 2-37, Murray 2-13, Dickerson 1-28.

MISSED FIELD GOALS -- Biasucci 28.