For the past eight years, Jets fans have been tormented by the division rival New England Patriots, forced to watch their Jets stick their heads in the ground. The Patriots dominated the Jets on their own turf, outscoring them 219-108.
But that came to an end on Sunday in the Jets' 2009 home opener. Gang Green and their new attitude defense stifled Tom Brady and the once-feared Pats, snapping the skid with a 16-9 win.
Brady, who had never lost to the Jets on the road, looked rustier than he did in his Monday Night Football game against Buffalo, finishing 23-of-47 with 218 yards for a passing rating of 48.9.
The Jets sent a message to their most hated rival from the start when they sent three former Patriots—QB Kevin O'Connell, T Damien Woody, and ILB Larry Izzo—to the field as captains for the opening coin toss. The Jets won and chose to defer the ball for the second consecutive week.
It would take the Pats three drives to get on the scoreboard, settling for a Stephen Gostkowski 45-yard field goal after Leon Washington fumbled on his first carry of the game.
Gostkowski would hit his second of the day in the first drive of the second quarter before Jets kicker Jay Feely cut the lead in half with a 33-yarder of his own.
The field goal game would continue on the ensuing Pats possession, a 10-play drive that ended with Gostkowski's third and final kick to extend the Pats' lead to 9-3.
The game would go into halftime with no signs of any touchdowns in the near future. The Jets' -2 passing yards threatened their hopes for a win, but quarterback Mark Sanchez and the offense had different ideas.
After a Washington 43-yard kick return, Sanchez would need just three plays to find the end zone. He hit receiver Jerricho Cotchery for a 45-yard gain, handed off to running back Thomas Jones for a two-yard run, and found tight end Dustin Keller for an eight-yard touchdown strike, giving the Jets a 10-9 lead after Feely's extra point.
The Pats would go three-and-out, allowing the Jets an opportunity to build on their lead. Gang Green would do just that, adding another Feely field goal to make it 13-9.
On their next possession, the Pats and Brady got the best from the rambunctious crowd, suffering two consecutive delay of game penalties. Despite earning three first downs in the drive, New England was forced to punt.
The Jets responded with their longest drive of the game, 11 plays, setting up Feely for his third field goal and extending the lead to 16-9.
Brady, who has 29 game-winning drives, could only muster an 18-yard pass to receiver Julian Edelman before missing his next four attempts.
Cornerback Dwight Lowery's fourth-down deflection of Brady's pass intended for receiver Joey Galloway sealed the Jets' win and sent the stadium into a complete euphoric state.
Upon Further Review
The Jets' first half offense was obsolete, forcing the special teams to gain all the points, whereas the defense prevented the Pats from scoring a touchdown all game.
In doing so, they snapped New England's streak of 36 games with an offensive touchdown—which was also the last time Brady lost a regular-season game.
The Jets defense backed up their big talk throughout the week. They kept the Pats under 300 total offensive yards and helped the team take an early lead in the AFC East with a 2-0 record.
Now, the Jets must prepare for a desperate 0-2 Tennessee Titans teams, whose perfect season was broken by the Jets at LP Field a year ago.
If the Jets can overcome a strong Titans team next week, spirits might be flying very high for the men in green. Don't look now, but there might be something brewing with that "other" New York team.