2011 AFC Championship Game: 5 Reasons Why The Jets Beat The Steelers
It's not 1969 and Joe Namath is not in the building, but it sure feels like it.
It's a different form of bravado that has propelled the 2011 New York Jets to the AFC Championship game. While the Steelers have been there and done that twice in the last five years, there's something to be said for the Jets not disappointing their fans.
They exploded onto the scene in last year's playoff with a rookie coach and rookie quarterback in what many expected to be a short lived experience. The 2011 season began with them being feature in the most talked about Hard Knocks season HBO has produced to date. A few bold NFL analysts and prognosticators had them as their vogue Super Bowl pick, but unlike the Cincinnati Bengals, they were actually able to live up to their potential.
It's been a season filled with controversy that can only come from a city like New York. There was the Inez Sainz fiasco, Braylon Edwards' DUI, Brett Favre's alleged texts and sexts to Jenn Sterger, Rex Ryan v. Tony Dungy in the battle for America's verbal soul and then Footgate—footage of what appears to be Rex Ryan filming his wife in a manner that would lead one to believe he has a foot fetish.
The season has been anything but boring for the Jets and they proved that with a verbal lashing and on field thrashing of the New England Patriots last weekend.
No matter how bad things have looked this season, they always seem to come up smelling like roses, and that's why I like them to pull off the upset in this weekend's matchup against the Steelers.
No. 5: Ladanian Tomlinson
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The six-time Pro Bowler and offseason signing of the Jets has proven to be a prescient pick.
He provides veteran stability in the backfield and a valuable outlet receiver for second year QB, Mark Sanchez. The Jets have done well by Tomlinson keeping his legs fresh for the offseason.
Besides Jason Taylor, Tomlinson will be the most motivated player on the field Sunday. A win Sunday would send him to the one place that has eluded him his entire career.
If you want to know how much this game means to him, go back and watch his post game interview from last weekend.
You'd think the guy just found out that he got drafted. A trip to the Super Bowl in the shadows of his college stomping grounds in Fort Worth and his home state of Texas would be a fitting end to his stellar career.
No. 4: Jets Wide Receivers
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They're a slightly perplexing and frustrating group.
Dropping easy passes and sure touchdowns during the regular season then coming up with the most difficult catches when the game is on the line. They are also a group of misfits with Edwards and Holmes earning their future pay after being discarded by the teams that originally drafted them.
Edwards needed to learn that you can't be a football star if you don't actually star on the field. Holmes' on-field performance was never in question—the guy is a gamer. It's what he does with his time when he's away from football that's been a concern and for the Pittsburgh Steelers, not one worth the headache.
Holmes returns as the prodigal son to the team for which he was the Most Valuable Player on their Super Bowl XLIII team.
The Jets will need big games out of Edwards and Holmes if they are to come out of Pittsburgh with a win.
No. 3: Jets Defensive Line
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Pressure is the name of the game in this weekend's matchup, and the team that's able to bring the pressure will win.
There's one caveat, though: the Jets, who like to blitz, will have to win using the pressure they can create with their defensive line. Roethlisberger is too elusive and far too experienced to rely on blitzing alone.
The Steelers offensive line is in shambles and the Jets' linemen will have to take advantage and commit to getting Big Ben down once they have in in their grasps. In their last meeting the Jets tallied three sacks and one QB hit.
They'll need a repeat performance and then some if they have any hopes of making it to Dallas.
No. 2: Mark Sanchez
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It goes without saying that this Jets team will only go as far as the second year quarterback's arm and legs will take them. Expect the Steelers to try and confuse him. He proved capable in their Week 15 matchup, coming away with a "W".
He's already topped Peyton Manning and Tom Brady this season. Why not Roethlisberger, too?
No. 1: Rex Ryan
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If Rex Ryan were a cocktail, his recipe would probably be something like:
One part puppet master,
Two parts asylum warden,
A splash of high cholesterol,
Add bluster and profanity to taste.
Love him or hate him, Sexy Rexy has got his finger on the pulse of his team. He's not without his faults along the way, but he's proven he can talk a good game and back it up. His team will need his and his staff's best to topple the recently two-time champion Steelers.
Something tells me he's perfectly capable, and why not? The guy just flat out-coached Bill Belichick!
J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!!!