New York Jets
August 23, 1968
JETS TURN BACK, FALCONS BY 27-12
Namath Passes for 2 Scores on His Return to Action
By CORDON S. WHITE, Jr.
Special to the New York Times
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Aug. 23- The Jets, obviously given a big boost by the return of Joe Namath, did a workmanlike job on the Atlanta Falcons tonight, winning 27-12. Namath was sharp and accurate most of the time as the Jets held the National Football League team to four field goals.
In his initial appearance of the season, Namath kept his offense working well throughout the first half. He put on a fine show for the 27,406 sweltering fans at Legion Field. They enjoyed it since most of them came just to watch the New York quarterback, who had played many of his college games on this field while with Alabama.
The performance had many elements of satisfaction for the Jets. They were pleased by the way their $400,000 quarterback performed in the first real test, of his left knee since it was operated on last March.
This was the Falcons' 14th straight defeat and New York's American Football League team looked 100 per cent better than it did in its first two exhibition' games contests played without Namath.
Namath left the game late in the third quarter after hitting on 12 of 20 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. In addition he ran the offense with a snappy hand.
Joe was at his best the second time the Jets had the ball. Atlanta had taken a 3-0 lead on a 27-yard field goal by Faust Parker. But that meant little once Namath got the feel and began moving his club. A 10-play march of 84 yards resulted in the first touchdown, with Namath tossing a 3-yard pass to Bill Mathis for the score. En route, Namath connected on all five passes he threw, including a 24-yard aerial to Bake Turner.
Jim Turner hit on a 9-yard field goal for New York early in the second quarter before Namath tossed his second touchdown pass-24 yards to George Sauer.
A field goal by Jim Turner, a safety engineered by Verlon Biggs and Paul Rochester, and a touchdown run of 2 yards by Mathis completed the Jets' scoring in their second interleague game. A year ago, they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Falcons offense was limited to field goals. The last of these was a 50-yard placement by Bob Etter, the longest in the team's short history.
The Jet defense was as sharp as the offense, checking the Falcon offense many times. Ralph. Baker, a linebacker, had a particularly good night for New York. Sam Walton, the rookie offensive tackle who replaced Sherman Plunked, helped keep charging Falcons away from Namath and blocked well.
ATL- FG Parker 27
NYJ- Mathis 3 yard pass from Namath (run failed)
NYJ- FG Turner 9
NYJ-Sauer 24 yard pass from Namath (Sauer pass from Parilli)
ATL- FG Parker 17
NYJ- FG Turner 41
NYJ- Safety Johnson tackled in endzone by Rochester and Biggs
NYJ- Mathis 2 yard run (pass failed)
ATL- FG Etter 43
ATL- FG Etter 50