Monday, January 18, 2010

Jets Win Again. Any more questions?

Wow. Much to the dismay of lead writer JMays, the Jets are in the AFC Championship Game for the first time in 10 years. While I remember that heartbreaking loss like it was just yesterday (I still remember eating pizza and watching the first half at my friend's house before watching the Jets collapse at my house in the second half), this is totally different. That year, the Jets essentially were the Chargers of this year. They had a first round bye, winning 10 of their last 11 regular season games and were also a team that a lot of people had running past the Broncos to the Super Bowl. Basically what I'm trying to say is that people were expecting something from those Jets. These Jets? Not so much.

Indianapolis? That way. (McIsaac/Getty)

So many people were saying these Jets backed into the playoffs and would be one and done. While the Jets were the beneficiaries of some convenient scheduling, they took advantage of what was given to them. Deal with it. The rest of the league should be glad that they're in the AFC Title Game. With it, they proved that they were worthy of that playoff spot. Winning at Cincinnati and San Diego is no picnic, that's for sure. As much as people seemingly don't want to admit it, the Jets have a great team. They're a team that easily could have finished around 12-4 were it not for some terrible errors (Sanchez INTfest against Buffalo, letting Ginn run wild, gift wrapping the Saints games with INTs). These Jets are something to be proud of and really built from the ground up with a foundation from the draft. The Jets TRADED UP in the draft for arguably the 5 most crucial pieces on the team right now: Nick Mangold, David Harris, Darrelle Revis, Mark Sanchez, and Shonn Greene. If that isn't incredible front office work and scouting, I don't know what is, especially with those first 3 (OK, I guess the jury is still out on Sanchez). Imagine if that worthless Buckeye Gholston hadn't turned out to be a bust. For those that think the Jets will take a step back next year (coughJMayscough), I don't think so. Barring serious injuries, they should at least be favored to make the playoffs again. These Jets may be lucky, but they're also good. Both Rex and Sanchez made plenty of rookie errors throughout the year that will not be made again and with Revis on their side, the defense will still be great.

Alright so enough commentary on that other stuff, on to the game. Again, wow. I'll admit, the Jets did not look great. But they were good enough. The first half was uneventful, that's just how the Jets wanted it. Going in to halftime only down by a touchdown was very encouraging for these Jets. Regardless, I knew the Jets needed a huge turnover at some point in the game and they got it with that Leonhard pick on the awful throw by Rivers. It was then that I knew it was the Jets' game to lose. The reason the Jets won was because of their defense. It kept them in the game. If the Jets fall behind by 2+ scores in the second half, they're in trouble. If not, they're in it. The Chargers couldn't seal the deal. Especially Nate Keading. Who I must say, as a PSU fan, has given me closure on the situation with Iowa kickers. Even so, if the Chargers make 2 of those 3 kicks (keep in mind one of those was well over 50 yards), the Jets still would have been in it (their play calling certainly would have changed there in the 4th). It was all about defense and Sanchez minimizing mistakes. It was New York Jets football. And it won. Again.

Shonn Greene sprints to paydirt in the 4th to put the Jets up by 10. (William Perlman/The Star-Ledger)

Now on to the Colts. Interesting game, especially for me on a personal level. The Colts are my dad's team and have always been my 2nd favorite. I was at that playoff game 7 years ago where the Jets decimated the Colts 41-0 with him. He still remembers Super Bowl III and still references it multiple times a year. Now the Jets and Colts square off in the most important game they are able to face each other in. This is going to be one rough game for the Jets but I would not count them out...just like everyone seemed to do for the Chargers game. When a team can shut down an offense and keep it close, anything can happen. They need to put pressure on Manning and hope for one or two errant throws that can tip the balance. All while Sanchez continues to play mistake-free football. It won't be easy, but they can win. Will they? My man Rex Ryan seems to think so, and that is good enough for me.

Can the Jets improve their postseason record against the Colts to 3-0?