Deion Sanders with some of the best fake laughter you will EVER see...
For the first time last week we published a Five Keys to Victory article. Normally we wouldn't pen such a post because I feel it's a bit of a cop-out, but since the Jets won we have no choice to come back with a repeat column.
Last week there were five keys to victory: Injure Peyton Manning, pressure the QB, lock Schotty in the locker room, do NOT trust Nick Folk, and Rex-Sanchez have a great game. No. 1: Fail. No. 2: Fail. No. 3: Fail. No. 4: Fail (they trusted him) and No. 5: Check, kinda.
Well, I guess my formula for success didn't match the formula the Jets needed to knock off Indy. In retrospect, here were the Jets five keys to advancing to second round. 1. Force the Colts to run the ball, 2. Establish LT and Greene!, 3. TRUST Nick Folk, 4. Get Dustin Keller involved, and 5. Jim Caldwell gives the Jets a fourth timeout on the game's final drive.
Playing the Patriots is a different animal. I could probably write a short story detailing the Jets keys to victory for Sunday. Instead, I'll choose five and go from there. Feel free to add any of your own in the Comments section!
1. Weather The Storm
It's going to be an absolute madhouse at Foxboro to start the game. There will be more venom coming from the mouths of Patriots fans and players than a cave full of poisonous snakes. If the Jets turn the ball over on their first drive or allow Brady to hit Branch for a 65-yard touchdown on the game's second play their already miniscule chances of winning the game will disappear.
But that doesn't mean the Jets have to be the first team to score. If they have the ball on the Pats 36-yard line on fourth down in the first quarter...punt it. I know Folk's range is 55-yards long, but that's a terribly misleading statistic. He made that kick in the razor thin air of Mile High Stadium in October. I'd say his range in a big moment is 45 yards. Play it smart early and keep yourself in the game. The Jets, under no set of circumstances, will blow out New England on Sunday night.
2. Control The Clock
Well, duh. The Jets need to Super Bowl XXV the Pats in this game by controlling the clock with a punishing run game (which can work versus New England). The lone game New England almost lost after their Cleveland defeat was the Sunday nighter versus Matt Flynn and Green Bay. In that game the Packers owned the clock by throwing short, high-percentage passes and letting their far below average running backs wear down the Pats. The stats from that game are remarkable:
Time of Possession: GB- 40:48, NE: 19:12
Total Plays: GB- 80, NE- 43
How did the Patriots win the game? A pick-six and Dan Connolly's 71-yard kickoff return. Needless to say if the Jets allow either of those to happen they're screwed.
3. Don't Change a Thing
Last week was Rex's best coaching effort as a Jet. He finally swallowed his pride and acknowledged his team has ZERO pass rush. That's why he dressed 10 DB's and only 4 DL's. You simmply cannot sack Peyton Manning or Tom Brady with the Jets personnel. So what do you do? You clog the middle of the field with an array of defensive backs and let Revis take out the other team's deep threat. If the Jets keep this strategy I would have Revis on Branch (he is their "deep-play threat"). Let Welker run underneath routes and have DB's 3, 4 and 5 stalk him. I'd put Cromartie on whatever big ass, annoying tight end is on the field (he plays better versus bigger players) and then hope and pray the linebackers can handle "Woodcock" coming out of the backfield.
It's that simple!
(I know it's not but didn't that sound nice?)
4. Nick Mangold
Arguably the most important player for the Jets on Sunday. He had one of his weaker games in the 45-3 defeat as Vince Wilfork ate him up. If the Jets are going to control the clock and establish the run and all that fun stuff, Mangold will have dominate or at least neutralize New England's best defender.
5. Do NOT trust Nick Folk.
Don't get me wrong. I've been loving Nick Folk all week. He was The Man last Saturday night. He saved the Jets season. But with that said, if the Jets are down 16-14 with three seconds left and the Jets have the ball at the New England 30-yard line---is there any chance he makes that field goal? Maybe, but do you want to have to rely on Folk to get you to the AFC Championship Game? You're lying if you say, "Yes." Remember that Doug Brien was a hero a week before he missed two game-winning field goals in the final two minutes of the Steelers game in '05.
We're not out of the woods with Nick Folk.
The former USC WR was at his first practice since being re-signed to the active roster when, at the very end of the session, nickel CB Drew Coleman was felled by a knee injury. Coleman's status for the weekend is uncertain and Rex has already revealed that Kyle Wilson is likely to start in his place.
There is NO truth, rumor, or anything in between saying Turner had anything to do with Coleman's injury.
But if he did...
(It'd be really weird, is all. I guess.) no comments
The bane of Schotty's existence...
For 56 minutes and 56 seconds of Saturday night's thrilling 17-16 victory over Indianapolis, Brian Schottenheimer called one of the best games of his Jets career. He, like the rest of the team, channeled their play and energy from last season's playoff run and it resulted in the Jets needing just one first down to put the Colts' season to sleep.
There was 3:04 left to play and the Jets led 14-13. The Jets had just been given a second chance to kill the clock when the Colts' Taj Smith took an inexplicable running into the kicker penalty on fourth down.
And that's when the beautiful mind of Brian Schottenheimer reared its beautiful head. As Ricky Fitts said in American Beauty, "Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in."
Schotty knew exactly what he was talking about...
NYJ ball on their own 30-yard line. 3:04 to play...
What a game it's been so far. We established LT early on, Marty's in the stands---"Hey, Marty!"---and I still haven't called my special package of deep plays. And you know what, I'm happy Brad Smith got hurt. He doesn't deserve any plays after the shit he pulled. Did you see him riding LT's stationary bike after he hurt his quad. That's LT's bike! We had the trainers bring it in from San Diego! This is the playoffs! He needs it! And what if we hadn't got him established?! Then what would Brad say?! Athletes these days are so selfish...
1st down: Give me Greene behind Slauson. I'd love to have LT take the carries here but we already established him. I'm a nice guy. I'll let Shonn get a sniff! Clear 'em out, Slaus!
Result: 2-yard gain
Man, I love that play. All right, now what should I call...Hmmmm...What's that you say up in the press box? This game has the highest TV ratings of any Wild Card round game of the past 10+ years? Everyone is watching me call plays? Well then I have to show the world what I can do!
"Uhh coach he's really hurt. He's having a hard time walking."
I don't care. Bring him over here! Tell him to take the ball, DO NOT pitch it to Shonn even if he has an open lane, then run straight up the middle into their linebackers! Break!
Result: 3-yard gain.
OK, baby. Third down. The Colts just called their second timeout. There's only 2:51 to play. A first down here and we're looking pretty good. I could go with a short curl to Keller because he's been dominating his guy all game, or I could call a short pass to LT in the open field where he excels, or....
I could make Mark throw the deep ball he's been struggling with all day and hope Braylon has the speed to catch up to a pass thrown seven yards over his head! Yeah, let's go with that!
No biggie. The Colts will score here and then I can get us to a point where Folk will be "in range"for a field goal but we all know he won't make it. He'll miss and then I'll be able to start interviewing for head coaching jobs sooner rather than later. I am BEAUTIFUL.
Colts kick field goal. Take 16-14 lead. Cromartie returns kickoff to to NYJ 46. Jets complete two passes to get to Indy 34.
1st down, ball on Indy 34.
This is perfect. I nailed it! Now we can get super conservative just how Marty would and Herm did with Doug Brien versus Pittsburgh. And hey, let's pound it with LT. He's a team leader, right? The guys will be happy to see him out there late in the game.
Give me a halfback dive up the middle!
Result: 2-yard gain.
Ahhh this is perfect! Now we can run that exact play one more time and Folk will come on and miss a 47-yarder to lose the game. I did my job though! We're in field goal range!
Wait, why is the clock stopped?! That wasn't part of our plan. Indy called it? What the f***?!?! Why would Caldwell do that?! Ahhhh shit! Now Mark's coming over here with Rex! They're going to veto another halfback dive with LT!
Mark: Hey, Bry Guy! Whatcha thinkin' here? (giggles)
BS: Just call whatever you want. I'm so over this f***ing team! I tried my best and Caldwell screwed me!
Mark: I think I'm going to go deep to Braylon. He keeps yelling at me that he wants the ball and it's starting to make me cry! I hate when people yell!
Yeah whatever. Just go for it. I have no reason to live anymore.
Result: 18-yard completion.
Folk kicks field goal. Jets win 17-16.
(In locker room...)
I need to talk to Marty! Where is he???
"Your dad, he's over there."
(Searches locker room)
BS: Dad, what are you doing talking to LT before me you talk to me?
Marty: Ohhh hello there son. I was just talking to LaDainian here about how we got him established nice and early. Ain't that right, LT?
LT: Yessir. I couldn't have done it without your help Coach.
BS: Without your help (looks at Marty)? What do you mean LT? I called the plays tonight. My dad was in the stands.
LT: Coach didn't tell you? I had nightly chalk talks with him this week to get me back on track. He was the reason I established myself so early tonight.
BS: (Lips quivering) Is this true, dad?
Marty: I didn't think you'd mind son. You're still just a coordinator. I'm "Coach." (Smiles and winks at LT) Your day will come.
(LT rubs head of BS)
Marty: Sonnnn, please don't cry. You got really conservative on that final drive. That was great! I was so proud of you! If that idiot Caldwell hadn't called that timeout Folk would've kicked the ball somewhere into the stands!
BS: Aww gee golly, Pa. I know, I did it for you. You taught me how to lose playoff games your team was about to win. But still, I was the one who established LT!
Marty: What did you just say to me?!
(LT moves between them)
BS: Papa! Nooooo!
Marty: I invented this young man right here! (Puts arm around LT; LT lowers head in respect) Who do you think bought him his first stationary bike? Who do you think taught him how to go into his shell in big-time playoff games? Who do you think told him to come to NY? Who do you think established him tonight?!?!?!
BS: (Weeping) I'm sorry, pa! I'm sorry!
LT: Coach, really, it's OK...
Marty: No, LaDainian, it's not! This boy needs to learn some respect. This was a first-round game tonight. Annnnd he let Sanchez call the play at the end that set up the field goal. Let's see him establish you next week. Then we'll talk.
(Marty zippers up jacket; Firmly places hat on head; places arm around LT)
Marty: Come on LaDainian, let's go get a drink. We can talk about how to get your bike to New England next week. We know that's one of your favorite places to ride.
LT: It really is, Coach! I love it there! Let's get outta here. (Looks back at BS) Later, Brian...ya big weiner! (high fives Marty)
(BS drops to knees, looks to ceiling, cries and screams in frustration)
Woody seems like a decent dude-- always worth a laugh on twitter-- and even if Wayne Hunter improved with each late-season start, it's a big blow. Ground and Pound just got 20% more difficult. no comments
Our boys at Foxboro Blog drop in again to give us an inside look as to how Patriots nation views Sunday's rubber match, divisional round playoff game versus the Jets. As always they expect to win, but you can sense some nerves in their conviction. The thought of Rex running off the field wagging a Namath No. 1 finger does not sit well with them...
RS: Is this game considered a challenge for the Pats? Are you already gameplanning for the Steelers and Ravens?
FB: I would consider this game a challenge because the Pats want to stick it to the Jets all the time so they can show the world that they are still the class of the AFC and it does not matter what anyone says. They will let the Jets talk all they want, but New England's playoff record shows that they don't gameplan for everyone. New England is going to plan to stop the run and then use their defensive schemes to confuse Sanchez and make him beat them. Belichick deep down wants to show he is way, way better than Rex and Brady wants to show Rex that you can't take jabs at me, especially when you aren't playing me that week. When you make Brady angry, he makes you pay.
RS: Does the fact you're playing the Jets add any nerves or are you even less anxious about it because you know the Pats will be focused?
FB: To me, as a Patriot fan in New York, I have a unique circumstance. I get more nervous when the Patriots play the Jets, especially in the intensity of the game over the past couple of years. It does add nerves in any playoff game, especially this one because anything can happen as we saw last week when Seattle defeated New Orleans when no one gave them a shot. This year, the Jets have been a clutch team making the plays when it matters most ever. That win over the Steelers could have flipped their season in reverse, too. This is for a trip to the AFC Championship Game, which adds the nerves to it. If I went 1-10 from level of nerves, I am at a 7.
RS: Describe one scenario where you can see the Pats losing this game?
FB: If the Jets are going to beat the Patriots, they will have to take a little page out of the playbook of the Green Bay Packers. The Packers ran the ball a lot in that game and controlled the clock. They will have to get a big dose of a successful running game from Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson. Tomlinson has not been successful in Gillete Stadium in the past and I don't expect him to be good this Sunday. He does not run well outdoors in January. Also, Mark Sanchez has to protect the football. Regardless of pressure, the Pats will put up 20+ points. New York can put up that number easily, but Sanchez needs to play well for four quarters. Pressure on the QB + a balanced offense that makes Brady sit = Back-to-back AFC Championship appearances.
RS: Do you expect the Pats to alter their gameplan at all from the 45-3 victory?
FB: I don't think they will alter it dramatically, but why would you change something you had great success with? New England's gameplan will be altered to a small degree because Belichick knows what to fix because he gives a dose of humble pie to his players even after that kind of game. I think the gameplan will be to get out to an early lead and make New York play from behind. Without Leonhard, the same holes in the secondary are still ripe for the taking for Brady. Also, if they are up, expect a little Danny Woodhead who had one of his best game against the Jets in that 45-3 victory.
RS: How sweet will it be to see Rex walking off that field a loser? And conversely, how upsetting would it be to see him running off wagging a No. 1 finger with his fat jiggling everywhere?
It would be very sweet to see New England do something similar to a 45-3 romp, but we all know that won't happen again in all likelihood. This is going to be a close game, but again I thought that in the meeting back in December. As a New Yorker, it's upsetting for the Jets to have bragging rights on me of course, but for Patriots fans, even though NE has won both division titles with Rex as coach, the Jets would be the one advancing in the playoff further than New England. Now, the Pats are stable long-term, but NY has some good pieces for the long-term as well, so this would be a very bad loss to have Rex wag the finger home and take the AFC bragging rights and undo all the great things that have happened this year.
RS: How do you see Sunday's game unfolding? Final score.
FB: Even though the Jets beat Peyton Manning on Saturday, I don't expect the Jets to get much pressure on Tom Brady on Sunday. Without Jim Leonhard, New England can throw over the middle with success, especially because Darrelle Revis can't cover every Patriots wide receiver. New England is 10th against the run, so I expect Wilfork and company to keep Greene and LT in check enough to force Sanchez to win the game. The numbers in Foxboro speak for themselves: 2 games, 1 TD, 7 INT's, 2 fumbles. Something about Sanchez in the Gillette elements affects the way he plays and Brady has another score to settle. Look for Woodhead and Branch to be the difference on offense and for Jerod Mayo to make enough plays on defense. It will be a close game, but New England will pull away late.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Jets 24no comments
(Editor's Note: It took us nearly two seasons, but we're finally interviewing real, living NFL players! This is not an interview with ourselves. I promise!)
Undrafted out of Northwestern, DB Marquice Cole is in his second season with the Jets after three years bouncing around NFL practice squads. Primarily, and quite effectively, used as a special teams man (he's the gunner on punts), Cole has figured more into the defensive gameplan in the past few weeks-- it was, of course, only his fingertips that kept Ben Roethlisberger's last gasp pass out of Matt Spaeth's hands on that final play in Pittsburgh.
For all the bluster and coverage-zero, the secondary members of a Rex Ryan secondary are counted on to be just as clever as any in the league. And judging by what we heard from Cole last night*, what takes place behind close doors is probably a bit more esoteric than your average Rex Ryan press conference.
RS: Rex dressed 10 DBs for Indy, do you think he's going to stick to that next week against the Patriots?
MC: I'm not sure of the type of angle we're going to take, but as confident as we were in the gameplan last week, you know, we're pretty sure it's gonna be just as good this week, or not better.
RS: Do you expect to get a similar role to the Indy game and when will you find out?
MC: I had a role last week, but you know, Peyton Manning being Peyton Manning, whenever I came on the field he knew it was "small ball," so he'd check to the run. We had to take that into consideration and make wise decisions. So this week we'll see what the gameplan is and if I get a role, how big my role will be. Tuesday we'll get the gameplan and go from there.
RS: Were you surprised that on the first of their two field goal drives [in the second half; their only two of the half] they twice checked to a run on 3rd and long?
MC: Yeah, on the first one.. that's the one I was in...
RS: To Rhodes?
MC: Yeah yeah, exactly. We had a nice call on, thinking we were gonna give some underneath help to some of the guys, but as I bailed out of there he checked to the run and the guy was running right behind me. So yeah, that part of it was surprising.
RS: What the hell is Manning yelling? We could hear him yell that "52's the mike" ["identifying the mike," or middle/strong side linebacker is something most quarterbacks do at the line of scrimmage. It's particularly important against a 3-4 defense, which is designed to disguise even a basic pass rush] during the game last night, but that's it..
MC: Right, sometimes he'll just come up and identify the mike. That's what Brady does; he identifies the mike every play. Peyton, he'll come up and not only identify the mike, he'll tell everybody what everybody's doing. He'll call out: this guy's coming off the edge, this guy's running high..
RS: How often is he right?
MC: Whenever he says it! It's weird. Revis always talks about it. It's like cheating, it's like having a coach out there who's got a rocket for an arm.
RS: So even if he's not technically calling the plays, he's the one who decides, right?
MC: Yeah, he knows what's going on. He knows what the defense is doing and I guess he's just got that type of freedom in that offense where if sees something and he knows what's happening he's gonna check out of something that's gonna hurt them.
RS: Going back to the summer, on Hard Knocks, Rex brought up how you have "sleepy" looking eyes but that they know you're paying attention. How's your relationship with Rex?
MC: Rex is a great guy and a great coach. Everybody jokes around and we have our fun and then we just get our business taken care of. Actually, one of my best friends from college, he sent me the excerpt about it. It was funny. Everybody always talks about my eyes because they're so low.. been like that my whole life. It was funny though to hear it coming from Rex.
RS: Was there anything the New England guys were yapping at you during the 45-3 game that sticks in your mind?
MC: I never let anybody talk anything to me. It's just "in the game." I know these guys don't hate us as people, they hate us as, you know, professional athletes just going against somebody. So I never let any of that get past the field. After the game, that's just over.
RS: We talked a bunch about Manning. What does Brady do that's special, or different?
MC: He's just as smart as Peyton Manning, it's just their offenses are different types. But his precision identifying what's going on and diagnosing the defense and knowing EXACTLY where his receivers are gonna be is just... unrealistic. It's unbelievable for him to be THAT good.
RS: There was a lot of talk about how Tannenbaum got Cromartie in specifically to help beat the Colts. Do you think the Pats ditched Moss and went small as a reaction to that week 2 loss here, when Revis took Moss out of the game and they just looked like they were out of ideas?
MC: Well, I have no clue what's going on in their organization, but it's looking like they made a pretty good decision. I would never get rid of Randy Moss, but I guess it's working out for them pretty well.
*I got a tip that Cole, Folk, Weatherford, and Tanner Purdum would be at the Park Avenue Tavern (99 Park Ave, corner of 39th and Park) and that they'd take be willing to take a few questions. Apparently Folk, or Folk's agent, is pals with the new management. The latter was kind enough to ply us with a few beers while we waited for the players and not entirely for that reason I can report the bar, both levels, is aesthetically pleasing and the bartenders efficient and attentive. They also have a few tables on the lower level that come equipped with your very own beer tap (in the place where the jukebox might be in a diner booth). You pump it and they charge every drop to your tab. Cheers!no comments
"I don't like to look at him."
That was Mark Sanchez's response to being asked if he watched Nick Folk's game-winning, season-saving 32-yard field goal. It's hard to blame him. Thought to be the team's weakest link, Folk miraculously did not attempt a win-or-lose field goal during the Jets pulsating, heart-stopping regular season. That changed tonight in Indy. It was fitting, really, as we knew from the day the Jets signed Folk that he would have a chance to etch his name into New York sports history---we just assumed it would be for the worse.
I'm certainly not guaranteeing Folk a place in the Jets Ring of Honor---Doug Brien did hit the game-winning field in overtime a week before he became Doug Brien---but for one possibly franchise-defining moment, Folk made The Likely Lad and I eat crow...again (see: Slauson, Hunter, etc.), as he gallantly booted the Jets into a rubber match showdown versus the Patriots next Sunday in Foxborough.
It was a game the Jets perfected winning during the regular season. What most people called luck throughout the season was in reality a team learning how to win close games.
The Jets displayed what they learned Saturday night.
The first half belonged to the defenses. The Jets unit played as well as they had all season, limiting the Colts to seven points and only four first downs. The lone blemish on the team's statline was a 57-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon that ended in Antonio Cromartie pushing Garcon to the ground as he entered the end zone. (Sound familiar?) Cromartie would struggle covering Garcon throughout the game, but like virtually every member of the active roster, Cro would play an integral role in the Jets 17-16 victory.
The Jets offense struggled mightily in the game's opening thirty minutes. Err, check that. Mark Sanchez struggled mightily in the game's opening thirty minutes and continued to until the contest's final 53 seconds. Whether it was rust or his aching shoulder, Sanchez had a Pennington-like float on every pass he threw. For once it wasn't Brian Schottenheimer foiling the Jets' primetime quarterback, but Mistuh Californiar Cool himself costing the Jets points. His poor play culminated in a pre-halftime red zone interception that cost the Jets three important points.
Then the second half happened. And what a miserably exciting, traumatizing, nervous-poop inducing, man-hugging, little-girlishly yelling second half it was.
The Jets opened the third quarter with a 10-play, 63-yard touchdown drive that revived Ground-and-Pound, with Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson rushing for 43 yards and a touchdown. After a Colts field goal made the score 10-7, the Jets answered with an even more aesthetically pleasing march, operating 17 plays for 87 yards over the course of nearly ten minutes in two separate quarters. The long trek climaxed with a one-yard Tomlinson touchdown, giving the Jets a 14-10 lead.
It was at this point ther nervous pit started to form...
Peyton Manning effortlessly led the Colts down the field, driving a Dallas Clark-less, Austin Collie-less, and Reggie Wayne-less (Duuuuuuurrreeelllllll!) offense down to the Jets 15-yard line. Then on a third-and-7 play, Manning curiously audibled to a Dominic Rhodes run play instead of picking apart the Jets secondary as he normally would. It was a revealing moment because for as smart as Manning is he lacked the killer instinct in that situation. Tom Brady, the dude the Jets face next week, would have gone for the jugular under a similar set of circumstances. That play illustrated the difference between the two legendary quarterbacks.
An Adam Vinatieri field goal cut the Jets lead to 14-13 and gave Sanchez and Co. a chance to run out the final four minutes and 37 seconds of the match.
At this point in the game I had scrapped any plans for a Beautiful Mind post for this week. Schotty had actually called a respectable game once he saw Sanchez was off his, pounding the rock with Greene, giving the ball to LT in space, and hitting Keller on short underneath routes.
But then the clock struck midnight (in the Atlantic time zone, at least).
I don't want to go into detail and breakdown each of his play calls until we receive his internal and external dialogue from the game, but with Marty in attendance, Schotty did everything in his power to let the Colts win. And he damn near did.
Yada, yada, yada and the Jets are down 16-14 with 53 seconds to play. Brad Smith is hurt and the goat of the game, Cromartie, is back to receive...
Ahhh but what's tastier than the sweet tang of redemption! Cromartie returns the kick to the Jets 47-yard line. Nine yards to Braylon. Eleven yards to Santonio. A Beautiful Mind two yards to Tomlinson. A Colts timeout????!!!!???!!! (Colts HC Jim Caldwell explained the decision by saying Folk was already in field goal-range (not true, really) and he wanted the Jets to "run more plays." I have no idea what that means nor why he would want that to happen.) Then, thankfully, Sanchez vetoed whatever inane playcall Schotty relayed to him and hit Braylon on a gorgeous 20-yard pass down the right sideline.
So it came down to the final play. Folk makes it---he's a hero and gets a free Rex foot massage. He misses it---he's a villain and has his ankles Annie Wilkes-ed.
As we all expected and guaranteed throughout the week...
He made it? He f***ing made it! He mother************* (mufffled noises) (squealing) (pounding doors)****** made it!
One of the finer moments you'll have as a Jets fan, maybe ever.
Next week: New England. I have just a few thoughts about that game but I'll spare y'all for now. A great, grrrrrrreat win. Enjoy your Wild Card Sunday and know nights like tonight only happen once, possibly twice, maybe three, hopefully four times in a lifetime.
Would have been far worse but he showed doze brass ones again in the final minute. That's all you want from your Sanchise.
Ground-and-pound. I eat that shit up!
Santonio's drop in the fourth quarter was bad and Sanchez didn't make their lives easy. Had big catches in final drive, though.
Huuuuuge game from Keller. Played like he did last postseason. And for heaven's sake Hartsock had a catch and didn't hold once!
Great with the run, ehh versus the pass, couldn't run out clock in fourth, blocked well on game-winning drive.
Invisible rushing the quarterback but solid versus the run. A.K.A., The Usual.
Big game from David Harris, as always. Bart Scott had a big tackle on Colts final drive. Helped hold them to FG. No pass rush from OLB's.
Pool had nice tackles early in game. Smith broke up a few big passes (all of which may have been PI). Cro was terrible for most of night. Oh, and yeah, Revis was incredible. Quite possibly his best game in a Jets uniform. A performance for the ages.
Folk. I always loved the guy!
Other than Schotty's playcalling in the game's final 4+ minutes, both he and Rex had terrific games. A big notch on the belt for Rex. Finally beats Peyton and wins his third road playoff game in two years. With that said, a win next week and he takes The Leap. He simply took The Hop tonight. no comments
"On a day when football seems silly..." was how I first began this post. Then it occurred to me: No, football doesn't seem silly at all. RexSanchez takes the Jets very seriously, of course, but we don't need a national tragedy to get us to really put things into perspective. The two feelings-- of caring deeply about your ballclub and actively appreciating the value of human life-- are not mutually exclusive. These are not competing thoughts; we are perfectly capable of keeping the two ideas in mind and retaining the ability to function.
So, with a large part of the brain still sorting and stumbling through what happened this morning in Arizona, let's multi-task some and spin off a couple thoughts about what's on deck tonight from Indianapolis:
*There's no doubt this game is important in affirming Rex Ryan's style of coaching. But should Peyton Manning lead the Colts down the field for a late, game-winning touchdown, does that invalidate all that he is-- all that he's done as head coach? If you read and believe the tabloids, then the answer is "yes." For me, it's a bit much. I think you can demand two things of your team's coach. The first is that he gets the team into the playoffs. The second is they he gets better in his job from year to year. Rex has managed both in his two years, even if the latter leaves plenty of room for further improvement.
*Which brings me to a favored phrase from that other game of football. In soccer, more than a barrel-full of pundits routinely introduce the penalty shootout as a "lottery," the implication being the eventual winner owes more to luck than skill. And while such competitions can feel a bit arbitrary, there is statistically significant evidence that individuals, their teams, and their home countries are predisposed to success or failure. The Germans don't seem to ever miss. For the English, it feels like 120 minutes or bust. I feel that way about these playoff games. What happens tonight in Indy is no Mega Millions writ small, but there is more than a bit of chance involved. So whatever the result, for better or worse, let's remember: it's just one game. The only thing belonging to Rex Ryan that approaches a track record is "two seasons, two playoff appearances."
*It's 5:57 pm-- Do you know where the Saints' secondary is? Seattle just took a 24-17 lead on the strength of everyone's favorite flaky playoff vet, Matt Hasselbeck. I say the champs manage to pull through in the end, but it's going to be close. Ah, the lottery of NFL playoff football.
*Let's not overcomplicate things. If Revis covers Wayne and Cromartie's on Pierre Garcon, that leaves the rest of the defense to contend with Blair White, Jacob Taame, and Taj Smith (5G, no receptions.) Manning is Manning and the running backs have picked it up of late, but really, is this not just very do-able?
*In even simpler terms, let us all nod in agreement that should this game come down to Nick Folk, Michelle Ryan's feet will quickly slot down to the two and three slots in the "Most Infamous Foot in New York" rankings.
*In three playoff games last year-- two wins and one almost-win-- the Jets played by a pretty consistent plot. Blunt the opening swell from the home team and its amped crowd. Hang around and then with a good break or a big play, snatch the lead sometime in the second half. Then hold on. More recently, they went into Pittsburgh for what felt like a playoff game, and won following a similar script. Point is, sign me up for Colts 10, Jets 7 at the half.
*Buddy has already enumerated the RS Keys to Victory, but I'm doubling down on his No. 3. This really is Brian Schottenheimer's game to win. That is, he's got to play to ehemm win the game! It's not about "establishing" the run; it's about running the ball well. The act of the quarterback handing the football to the running back is not an end in itself. Schotty must identify what's working and then stick to it. If past performance is any indication, that means Shonn Greene early and often, with LT on the field to catch a few, block a few, and run a handful of draws and stretches.
*No word on whether the Jets have flown LT's stationary bike out to Indiana.
*Lesson Learned: Whatever defensive scheme the Jets use in the first half, however successful it is, Rex must turn it on its head for the second. Seriously, they said the coaches were preparing for both Indy and the Chiefs before last week's finale. I hope they use both defensive gameplans. You need to keep Manning thinking, and one scheme will have him happily bored at or just before the half.
*It don't come easy. George Harrison said you have pay your dues if you want to sing the blues. We've suffered for a long time here in Jet-land. Here's to tonight as the beginning of something special. If that's asking for a lot, how about a win and we can get started on next week tomorrow morning?
*It's 6:41 pm. Does anyone have any idea where the Saints are?? Maybe the NFL playoffs really are a lottery...
*Hit us up later tonight for Buddy's Happy Recap.
*Update: The inactives are McKnight, Gholston, Ducasse, Cumberland, Dixon, Gilbert, and Trufant. Clemens is the third QB. Lowery starts over Eric Smith, who's playing, but that might be a strategic decision more than a comment on Smith's noggin. Prediction: Jets 31, Colts 25 (OT) no comments
The only redeemable quality I can find in the song are the lyrics, "Got more heart than Cromartie's got babies, What can I say man the dude loves the ladies." Perhaps a video montage of the Jets winning four straight playoff games will make me like it more. Until then...
Fat man falls. Kicker misses big field goal. Refs throw game. A great formula for Super Bowl success.
Who doesn't love a good list? They're easy to write and even easier to read. Instead of having to follow a story and maintain your focus, you can go from one point to another without ever losing your place. They're made for people with short attention spans, like yours tru
THE NEW YORK JETS "FIVE KEYS TO VICTORY" VERSUS INDY
1. Injure Peyton Manning
When your team isn't a favorite to win the sport's championship entering the postseason, you try to find a past team who overcame similar obstacles on their way to winning it all. Last year the Jets pointed to the '08 Arizona Cardinals, who despite coming a 'Tone Time catch away from winning the Super Bowl, parlayed a mediocre 9-7 season into an improbable run to the season's final game. That comparison failed, not surprisingly, as the Jets fell short of reaching the Super Bowl.
This year I wanted the Jets doppelganger to be a team who actually won the Super Bowl. I found the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers.
In 2004, led by a rookie quarterback the Steelers lost to an all-time great quarterback in the AFC Championship Game. The following year Pittsburgh started the season 7-2 before hitting a late-fall funk where the team lost three straight games. They ended the season with an 11-5 record, good for second place in their division and the AFC's No. 6 seed. In the playoffs the Steelers knocked off the No.'s 3, 1 and 2 seed in the AFC, and finally the NFC's No. 1 seed in the Super Bowl. That is the exact path the Jets will (likely) have to follow to win the Super Bowl.
What is lost in that hopefully pinpoint comparison is that the Steelers journey to football immortality was heavily aided by a devastating knee injury. In the team's first round match against the Cincinnati Bengals, journeyman defensive Kimo von Oelhoffen tore the ACL of Bengals' quarterback Carson Palmer with a late, low hit on Palmer's first pass of the game. The Steelers would rally from a 10-0 deficit and defeat the Bengals, with von Oelhoffen's hit serving as the impetus behind the win and their Super Bowl run.
See, I'm not asking Mike DeVito to intentionally explode Peyton Manning's knee; that won't be necessary. But if Mike could, ya know, lead with his helmet the first time he gets a shot at Manning, I'd be OK with that. Now you're probably thinking I'm a huge douchebag for requesting this---I won't argue that, but if you believe history repeats itself, the Jets must take out Manning on the game's first play. End of Story.
2. Pressure the Quarterback
This is the most obvious key on the list. The reason the Jets jumped out to a 17-6 lead last year in Indy and the reason they beat the Patriots in Week Two of this season was because they pressured the quarterback. If you give Manning too much time he will complete, or at least be on target with every pass he throws. He can make a junior high school receiving corps look like Pro Bowlers. My hope is that although last week's game meant zilch in the grand scheme of things, the strong performances by Jason Taylor, Calvin Pace, and yes, Jamaal Westerman will carry over into the playoffs. Taylor and Pace are the obvious candidates to sack Manning, but keep an eye out for the second-year player from Rutgers. If Westerman sees action, Buddy Crutchfield says he will sack the quarterback. Ya heard it here first.
3. Lock Brian Schottenheimer in the Locker Room.
Alas, establishing LT remains the Jets top offensive priority entering the postseason. If LT really came here to win a Super Bowl, he would tell Schotty to let Greene take the Jets to the Holy Land.
4. Do NOT Trust Nick Folk.
It really is a miracle there was not a "Nick Folk Game" this season. You could argue he crushed the team's momentum in the Packers game and maybe even the Patriots game (that was Rex's fault), but Nick Folk will make his mark on the 2010 Jets before the season ends. Let's just pray he shanks his 20-yard field goal in a tied game Saturday night, not with the Jets trailing.
5. Rex Sanchez
No, not our blog. We do wield a great deal of influence over the outcome of Saturday night's game, but not as much as the site's namesakes, Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez. For the Jets to win Saturday (and beyond), the Jets head coach and quarterback will have to be on their games. For Rex, that means not wasting challenges on early, meaningless plays, not asking Folk to kick a 50+ yard field goals when punting is clearly the better option, and of course vetoing as many of Schotty's play calls as he can. For Sanchez, it means he has to audible to a pass play at least once (he has still yet to do that in his career), throwing the ball away when Freeney and/or Mathis are chasing him down like insane killers, and maintaining that late-fourth quarter moxie. Based on how this season has gone, I have a feeling the Jets may need a score at about 11:12 p.m. on Saturday.
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Just a short update for all you NY Jets fans -- we released a Jets Keys to Victory article on the Business Insider. You can find your New York Jets tickets for the playoffs on SeatGeek, the leading ticket search engine that enables fans to discover the best deals for sports and concerts. no comments