For a moment, the world laughed at the New York Jets, one of the most appealing franchises in the NFL labeled as the most overrated franchise, based on its abysmal and humiliating performance in a prime-time meeting with the Baltimore Ravens.
One day soon, the team in the Meadowlands is likely to blossom as an unstoppable force and escape the inept times to end derision that religiously ridiculed the Jets, a team over the summer that bothered us greatly with its cockiness and smart ass guarantees in winning the Super Bowl.
Maybe it wasn’t the time and place for prematurely forecasting an appearance on football’s grandest stage, but as a confident unit, maybe it had some truth.
As the most talented franchise in the NFL, the Jets are the type of team that seek our attention with nonsensical publicity and we love to acknowledge an efficient core, especially when it brings fun to the game populace enjoys in America.
The latest noteworthy win, after convincingly pummeling its foes the New England Patriots, might redefine a sense of belief the rest of the way as the Jets are still on pace to prove worthy of testing its wills in the Super Bowl.
It gives antagonist Tom Brady all the reason to despise the enemies of their division more than ever, weeks removed from his bitter statement when he was asked if he watches the HBO show “Hard Knocks” and said that he hates the Jets.
And something significant always happens when the Patriots and Jets encounter each other on the same turf, raged over the ridiculous trash talk and hard blows in every meeting.
Given the history of antipathy, a critical win may have been enough to settle the score and avenge a heartbreaking letdown last season.
They were sluggish and too complacent in the first half, fatigued and had trouble slowing down the Patriots efficient running plays as Jets head coach Rex Ryan called a sequence of unforeseen schemes, but were incapable tactics and allowed the Pats to gain positive yardage.
They were bullied and outran by an undersized receiving core, and the secondary played like kids who stepped onto the turf for the first time.
But in context of strengthening as a competitive force in football, the Jets challenged came ever quickly and finally happened when Mark Sanchez led New York to a 28-14 win over the Patriots to make a significant statement.
For once, we all understand what Ryan meant when he boldly described the Jets as a Super Bowl team. It wasn’t amazingly, as it seemed, all about the offense but a tenacious defensive unit, which set a tone during the second-half and harassed Brady and his bunch.
It was almost time to panic, and fans had begun to maintain their collective breaths nervous and frightened over the possibility of witnessing a huge disappointment.
With much buzz surrounding the Jets for what is supposed to be a remarkable season amid a pursuit, after many of whom credited the Jets as a trendy pick to win the division, Sanchez matured and completed 21-of-30 passes for 220 yards with a career-high three touchdown passes.
LaDainian Tomlinson, a classy veteran with blistering speed, flashed back to his record-setting days and intensified the rambunctious crowd in the stands on a 31-yard run and ensured a scoring drive without center Nick Mangold.
It’s no longer accurate to refer to Sanchez as a hapless passer who appeared to be confused and frustrated in his incompetent performance. This time, his body language defined him as a franchise quarterback, and he surely was the difference in the Jets recovery.
The assumption that the Jets have invested much hope in Sanchez ever since bringing a modest leader to the organization to rid the flustering era of worthless failures is benefiting the team aiming for headline performances and relevancy.
Seemingly, of course, the Jets were resilient in the aftermath of a devastating rout to the Ravens, and the lost of defensive leader Kris Jenkins after suffering a knee injury.
The adversity has brought the Jets together as a cohesive core, now a team with enough heart and fortitude to assemble a nice pursuit and punch a ticket to the Super Bowl.
From the luxurious suites, owner Woody Johnson watched elated with the sudden progress and growth of Sanchez. Filled with much pressure, he plays with the Super Bowl expectations and a franchise that resides in a territory where the media is very critical if a player under-performs.
In a town where tabloids and fans ridicule useless athletes, Sanchez played a key role in a must-needed win to avoid a 0-2 skid and defied the odds in dazzling performance.
He played with a determined desire and displayed a skilled throwing motion at the New Meadowland Stadium on Sunday afternoon, and fired up the energetic crowd with the ability to translate his mobility and tremendous energy on the pro level. If you haven’t notice, the Jets are blessed to have an elite quarterback.
The frightening turn-of-events happened moments after Randy Moss’ jaw-dropping one-handed touchdown late in the second quarter, and without prolific cornerback Darrelle Revis, the Jets were still potent and physical by raising the intensity level.
It was a huge loss that Revis grabbed his left hamstring and didn’t return. By halftime, they trailed, they seemed victimized and they seemed doomed.
But the Jets survived in desperation and sent a statement to the NFL, becoming a modest favorite to rise to the occasion on Feb. 6.
There were times when Ryan’s team relied on the Patriots clumsiness and took advantage of two pass interference calls to take a commanding lead.
At one point, the Jets effortlessly picked off Brady’s intended pass to Moss on a sterling defensive play. In an instance, the ball was tipped by the Patriots wide receiver and then bounced off of Antonio Cromarite’s helmet and into the arms of Brodney Pool.
In the end, Sanchez was surrounded by a swarm of photographers and reporters. A legion of fans gathered collectively outside the tunnel and applauded him for overcoming a shaky and awful performance. It couldn’t have come at a better time against the Jets’ arch rivals on a day they were limited and lost Revis to a hamstring injury.
It couldn’t have come at a better time that the ageless Tomlinson finished with 102 all-purpose yards. It couldn’t have come at a better time that Braylon Edwards amazingly caught five passes, and converted on the two-point conversion.
It couldn’t have come at a better time that tight end Dustin Keller caught seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.
As the Jets get the last laugh against the Spy-gate criminals, Sanchez made it all possible and stopped the devious Bill Belichick and his partner in crime Brady.
“This is just the beginning,” Sanchez said.
It could be the beginning to a wonderful ending.