The Jets had just won their fifth straight, and had pulled off a bunch of shockers along the way: an upset win in Buffalo (tops in the AFC East at the time), an epic in New England (which of course, was 16-0 last year), and the big victory over the Tennessee.
Three huge wins on the road, to be sure.
There was talk the 8-3 Jets were the 'best' team in the AFC, as they had dominated the 10-1 Titans and other contenders like the Indianapolis Colts (7-4) and San Diego Chargers (4-7) either hadn't hit their stride yet or were just struggling. The Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) weren't on many's radars at that point.
The Jets were proclaimed to be the team to beat in the conference.
Well, guess what?
Then the Jets fell apart in the fourth quarter in San Francisco, dropping a key 24-14 decision to the lowly 49ers, who had already been eliminated from playoff contention.
In those two losses, Favre didn't throw for a touchdown and had QB ratings of 60.9 and 60.8.
New York somehow escaped a third straight loss, with Favre having another bad game (1 TD, 2 INTs), when Abram Elam sacked Bills QB J.P. Losman and caused a fumble, allowing Shaun Ellis to scoop up the pigskin and score on an 11-yard play with under two minutes left. The 31-27 win over Buffalo gave the Jets a 9-5 record and renewed confidence, as all they now needed to do was beat Seattle (3-11) in the Pacific Northwest and do the same to Miami, which has historically faltered in the cold, in the Meadowlands, to close out the season.
Do that, and Favre's Jets would be AFC East champs.
Sure, the Jets looked good with those road wins in New England and Tennessee earlier, but there was one undeniable fact: They stunk against bad teams.
Of course, of the Jets' five losses up to that point, three had come on the West Coast (San Diego, Oakland, and San Fran). One came in Week 2, when they hosted--and fell 19-10 to--the Patriots in the wake of New England losing MVP Tom Brady and being forced to start a QB who hadn't started since high school.
Not exactly winning games they had to have now, were they?
And Sunday in snowy Seattle again showed the Jets couldn't win when they needed to. New York dropped a 13-3 shocker at Qwest Field, with Favre throwing two more picks and being sacked four times for a 48.7 QB rating.
More importantly, the Jets had gone 0-4 on the West Coast, losing to teams that had gone a combined 17-39.
The Jets are now out of first place and are probably not going to make the playoffs. They'll need lo win their finale and pray for help if they want to make the dance.
Ironically, next Sunday at the Meadowlands, the Dolphins (10-5)--led by ex-Jet QB Chad Pennington--can clinch the AFC East with a win over the reeling Jets.
Yes, that's right, Chad Pennington. The same guy New York dumped after they went out and acquired Favre.
Another irony was the fact Pennington's Dolphins, historically a team who can't win in the cold, managed to pull out a huge win over the Chiefs Sunday in Kansas City (winning 38-31 on the strength of three Pennington TDs), while the Jets, well, played like the Jets of old, one who can't win big games in December.
Oh, wait. Favre, with his one TD and six picks in the last four games, is going to the Pro Bowl, by the way, despite leading the league in interceptions (17 at the time the Pro Bowl rosters were announced).
His Jets aren't going to the playoffs. Not with everything going against them.
And though Favre will be at the Pro Bowl, he most certainly won't be considered a legend in New York sports history.
Less than two weeks ago, Favre came right out and said he expected the Jets to make the playoffs. Something tells me Favre isn't going down in the history books the way Broadway Joe Namath and Mark Messier did in New York sports lore in guaranteeing their teams to championships and actually delivering.
Not with the Jets' collapse the last few weeks. Not with the way Brett Favre played in Seattle or his interceptions in the past month.