On Sunday the New York Jets beat the New England Patriots 28-21 to advance to the AFC Championship game. This will be the second year in a row that Gang Green will be in the championship game, which is pretty remarkable considering that the franchise had been there only two times prior in their history (minus SB year). Lets take a look at some of the highlights from the game.
Sanchez stars- What you can say about quarterback Mark Sanchez (16/25 194 yards 3 touchdowns) other than the kid plays big in big games. Sanchez did an excellent job managing the offense and came up with some huge throws on third down. The number one stat for Mark: 0 turnovers.
Receivers bring their “A” game- The Jets wide receiver group was absolutely spectacular on Sunday as they made several clutch grabs to keep scoring drives alive. Jerricho Cotchery led the Jets with 5 catches for 96 yards, while Santonio Holmes added an unbelievable touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Braylon Edwards once again did a solid job of blocking and added a touchdown catch of his own.
Ground and Pound- It was no secret that Gang Green wanted to run the ball on Sunday and the team did just that. The Jets pounded out 120 rushing yards which helped the offense keep drives alive and Tom Brady off of the field. The Jets offensive line led by center Nick Mangold did an excellent job winning the battles in the trenches and wore down the Patriots defense by the end of the game.
Shaun Ellis erupts- New York Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis played the best game of his career on Sunday. Ellis generated constant pressure on Tom Brady racking up 2 sacks along with 5 tackles. Ellis is the longest tenured Jet and his performance was truly inspirational for his defensive teammates.
Secondary solid- Even though the statistics show that the Jets gave up 299 passing yards to Tom Brady, Gang Green’s defensive backfield did an excellent job in pass coverage. Safety Eric Smith had his best game as a Jet making plays all over the field, while Darrell Revis and Antonio Cromartie blanketed receivers Wes Welker and Deion Branch.
Backers bring it- Linebackers David Harris and Bart Scott brought the fire and brimstone on Sunday as they continuously pounded on the Patriots blockers. Harris ended the game with 12 tackles and an interception, and I still contend that he is most underrated player in the NFL. Calvin Pace and Jason Taylor had solid games in terms of getting pressure on the quarterback and collapsing the pocket.
This was just a tremendous game by the New York Jets and has to be considered one of the biggest victories in the history of the franchise. Rex Ryan and his staff developed a solid game plan and the players executed it to perfection.
Earlier in the week Ryan commented that he had to outcoach Bill Belichick in order for the Jets to have success, and on Sunday the Jets coach did just that. Overall this was just an outstanding performance by the entire Jets team.
Next up for the New York Jets will be the Pittsburgh Steelers which will be a rematch from week 15 where the Jets won 22-17.
One sidenote: How funny was the Jets celebration after Shonn Greene’s game clinching touchdown. You could just see the referee “Personal foul: excessive celebration on #23,#17,#10,#57,#75, Rex Ryan, ok the entire Jets team”. What an inspiring performance by the New York Jets. What a time to be a Jets fan.