EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., SEPT. 16 -- A revitalized Freeman McNeil rushed for one touchdown and set up another as the New York Jets gave Bruce Coslet his first victory as their coach with a 24-21 decision over the Cleveland Browns.
McNeil, the Jets' all-time leading rusher waived at the end of preseason and then reclaimed, ran for 62 yards and caught three passes for 80 more.
"I realized I'm totally responsible for myself and for where I'm going to be," McNeil said. "If I wanted to be a professional football player and a New York Jet, I had to give 100 percent. Then, if I made that commitment, I can come back and work. If I couldn't give 100 percent, I wouldn't have come back."
The defense was stingy in the first half and pressured Bernie Kosar throughout. Cleveland, which had only 80 yards rushing last week, was worse against the Jets, gaining 44.
The Browns actually got off to a sizzling start when Eric Metcalf returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a 7-0 lead.
But the Jets came right back with a 68-yard, four-play drive highlighted by a 55-yard run with a screen pass by Blair Thomas, their No. 1 draft pick. That set up McNeil's two-yard scoring run.
New York went on top, 14-7, with a 90-yard drive that took just six plays. Again, Thomas was a key figure with a 25-yard run. On the next play, Tony Blaylock was caught interfering with Al Toon at the Cleveland 27 on an underthrown pass.
Brad Baxter ran three times for 21 yards before Johnny Hector scored from the 6.
Pat Leahy added a 47-yard field goal after Metcalf's fumble was recovered at the Cleveland 42 by James Hasty. Baxter made it 24-7 with a one-yard run that capped a 62-yard march, including McNeil's 59-yard run with a screen pass -- the longest pass play of his career.