They're No Pat-Sies: Jets Win Thriller In Foxborough
Piece of cake.
The Jets 34-31 win in New England last night was anything but, as head coach Eric Mangini saw his team collapse twice, first blowing a 24-6 first half lead followed by a fourth quarter, game tying touchdown drive which ended with a miraculous throw and catch forcing overtime.
Despite both meltdowns, the Jets would win the coin toss in overtime and never relinquish the ball, driving 64 yards and setting up a game winning, 34 yard field goal from Jay Feely.
The win gave the Jets sole possesstion of first place in the AFC East, and at 7-3, the Jets hold the second best record in the conference behind the undefeated Tennessee Titans.
Brett Favre put any final doubters of his acquisition to rest, playing his best game of the year under the circumstances, going 26-33 for 258 yds, two touchdowns and most importantly, no interceptions.
Favre was brilliant when it mattered most, engineering two drives, one late in the fourth quarter ending in a one yard touchdown run by Thomas Jones, the second in overtime when he went 5-6 for 56 yards including a key third down conversion, needing fifteen yards and connecting with rookie tight end Dustin Keller for sixteen.
Speaking of Keller, the rookie had his coming out party last night (8-87), and coming up with a handful of big catches both in the fourth quarter and overtime.
The Jets went up early with a methodical opening drive culminating in a touchdown pass to Leon Washington.
Washington wasn't done, as he brought back a kickoff 92 yards following a Patriots field goal in the second quarter, putting the Jets up 17-6 at that point.
The offense then went back to work after the defense forced the Patriots to punt, with Favre hitting Jerricho Cotchery for a fifteen yard touchdown strike giving the Jets a seemingly safe 24-6 lead.
However Patriots head coach Bill Bellichick pressed all the right buttons from that point on, as his team scored an important touchdown before the end of the first half, as quarterback Matt Cassel hit Jabar Gaffney for 19 yards, ending the first half with the score 24-13 in favor of New York.
New England would get the ball in the second half, but Ben Watson fumbled on the opening drive, giving the Jets an opportunity to go for the throat. However the play-calling stayed conservative, as the Jets would be forced to punt on three consecutive possessions.
Cassel finally rewarded his defense with a 10 yard touchdown pass to Watson, and with the two-point conversion the Patriots were within a field goal heading into the fourth.
When things couldn't seem to be going worse for the Jets, Cotchery fumbled on the ensuing possession, which set up a game tying field goal for New England with just over ten minutes to play.
Needing some vintage Brett Favre magic, the Jets finally saw exactly why their quarterback is so special, as Favre orchestrated a 14 play, seven minute drive ending in a one yard Thomas Jones touchdown run.
Moss caught the pass falling out of bounds but somehow managing to keep both feet in, and despite being reviewed by the officials, the play stood up and the game was heading to overtime.
Any and all hope the Jets had of taking out their bitter rivals disappeared, as the Jets looked absolutely stunned on the sidelines following the heroics of Cassel and Moss.
However on this night, the last laugh would belong to Brett and the Jets, as Favre delivered another memorable drive that he's made a habit of throughout his career, setting up the Feely game winner.
After all the twists and turns and what was likely a night filled with cardiac failure, Jets fans were able to rejoice a much needed victory which should solidify the team as a legitimate postseason contender.
While the win was great, it can't be understated that the Patriots were missing not only their MVP quarterback in Brady, but Lawrence Maroney, Adalius Thomas and Rodney Harrison were all out with injuries.
Not enough praise can go to Cassel, who played the game of his life last night, going 30-51 for 400 yards and three touchdowns, while not throwing an interception. He also ran for 62 yards, providing more yards by himself (462) than the entire Jets team (375).
Fortunately for the Jets, how you win isn't taken into account when it comes to the standings, and when they wake up today they'll find themselves alone on top of their division.
Last night, both teams seemed to stir up some of the ghosts of Super Bowl XLII, as the game featured New York and New England, an unbelievable catch by a wide receiver pinning a ball to his helmet, a late game touchdown pass to Pats wide-out Randy Moss, and a stunning victory by the underdogs from the Empire State.
The catch refers to the play made by Jerricho Cotchery of the Jets, who during the second quarter reeled in a downfield bomb from Favre, leaping and while falling down- he managed to catch the ball with one hand while securing the ball with his helmet.
The most important similarity of course though was the outcome, which ended with New England on the short side of the final score, and New York celebrating a hard earned victory.
And while the Giants were celebrating a Super Bowl win, with a wide open AFC, the Jets may very well have been celebrating the prospects of a Super run of their own.
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