As I sit here I keep thinking about the Jets 30-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts today. The Jets proved to many they are one of the NFL’s top teams. Mark Sanchez completed 17 out of 30 passes for 257 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. They did more in the air than on the ground, and that includes scoring. Darelle Revis kept Reggie Wayne in check for most of the game and the Jets defense was doing what they needed to do. But early pressure on Manning didn’t hold up and he showed why he won an unprecedented fourth MVP award this season, working with Pierre Garcon, a sixth-round pick from last year who caught four passes in his first season, and rookie Austin Collie, a fourth-round pick. They looked like perennial all-stars as Manning completed 26 of 39 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns with Garcon (11 catches, 151 yards) and Collie (7, 123) combining for 274 yards against the league’s No. 1-ranked defense.
When the Jets lost nickel cornerback Donald Strickland to a groin injury early in the game, the Colts immediately went to three-receiver packages, confident their youngsters could win against the bottom of the Jets’ depth chart. The Colts also adjusted with three-step dropswhich gave Manning mroe time to throw the ball and open it up in the air. Also, with Shonn Greene hurting his midsection Thomas Jones had to be the lone back for a bit. The second half proved to the be the Jets unraveling. The Colts seized control in the third quarter. A 4-yard touchdown pass to Garcon put Indianapolis ahead 20-17. A 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Clark early in the fourth quarter put the Colts up 27-17, and they tacked on a Matt Stover field goal to make what had been a competitive game look lopsided and send first-year head coach Jim Caldwell to the Super Bowl as just the fifth coach in league history to make it to the big game in his rookie season. Even with Jay Feely’s two missed field goal’s, the Jets still needed more on offense.
The Jets hung in there and showed they can hang with the more experienced teams in the league. For the first time in a long time, they were taken seriously. Even after finishing the season 9-7 and people saying they backed into the playoffs, they showed they deserved to be there. Teams with Number one ranked defense’s, great rushing, creative offsive should be in the final four and the AFC Championship game. It does not matter how you finish the season, it is the impact you make in the postseason that matters. Rex Ryna talked the talk and had a team to back up his words. Today’s only problem was, they were facing Peyton Manning. Rex needed to change up the defense in the 2nd half. For Rex’s first year he did a better job than many previous Jets’ Head Coaches. He has a team willing to back him up in any situation, something the Jets have been missing from their players in the past.
Next year will be a new year and a building year. They have a lot of success to build on and they can go a long way next year. New year, new stadium. Jets fans have a reason to be proud about this season. They silenced the doubters. I sat here nerbous and wanted them to hold onto the lead. My heart was pounding and believe me, I was hoping they would pull it off. Once Manning got on a roll, I knew we had a great ride and the Jets did their fans proud. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We know in 8 months there is a new season and new possibilities. The Jets will have a great year next year and once again make us all proud to be Jets fans.
One quick story. My father was on his way to the AFL Championship game in 1968. He was speeding and ended up getting pulled over. He waaround number 12 in a line of cars pulled over for tickets. My father knew he was wrong and was going to be late for kick off. He called a cop over and said he knew he was speeding and deserved the ticket. He then told the officer he had tickets to the Jets game and showed him the tickets. The officer said he would be back. About 5 minutes later my father received his ticket before the other cars pulled over. He zoomed out of there and made it to Shea before kick off. Now to finish watching overtime of the Vikings/Saints game. Looks like the Saints will face the Colts. That did not take long. Brett Favre, serves him right.