Jets hault perfection, defeat unbeaten Colts

December 28, 2009

Thomas Jones and company ran all over the Colts

Boo yah….

The New York Jets put themselves in prime position for a playoff berth with a 29-15 victory over the previously undefeated Colts.  Everything broke the right way for Gang Green in the earlier games, and the Jets did their part to earn the opportunity to play for a wild-card berth next Sunday against the Bengals.  If the Jets win, they’re in….lose, and they can schedule tee times with Eli Manning and the Giants. 

The Colts entered the game winners of an NFL-record 23 straight games and things went their way early.  After the Jets D stopped them on the opening drive, Indy responded with an impressive touchdown to take a 6-0 lead (the extra point was blocked.)  The Colts and Jets would add a field goal a piece which led to a 9-3 Colts lead at half.

Things seemed to turn the Jets way when Brad Smith returned the second half kickoff for a Jets team record 106 yards (second longest kick return in NFL history) and New York took a 10-9 lead.  The Colts responded and had their way with the Jets defense, scoring a touchdown to regain the lead. 

Then the football Gods decided to be Jet fans, and Jim Caldwell decided to take Peyton Manning out of the game, and insert rookie Curtis Painter.  Stunned fans didn’t react immediately, but when Painter returned to the field for his second series, the boos began. They grew louder when Painter was hit by linebacker Calvin Pace and lost the ball, with Marques Douglas recovering and scoring. A 2-point conversion pass from Mark Sanchez to Dustin Keller made it 18-15 and put the Colts hopes in jeopardy.

“Until any player in here is the head coach, you follow orders and you follow them with all of your heart,” Manning said. “That’s what we’ve done as players. We follow orders. Our orders were not to give up a turnover, not to give up a kick return for a touchdown. There’s not many games, under any circumstances, that you win when you have turnovers and give up a kick return for a touchdown.”

Caldwell, players and team president Bill Polian, however, said perfection was never the goal; winning the Super Bowl was. And on Sunday, they showed exactly what they meant.

I realize haters want to get on the Jets, and claim they received a huge break, got lucky, and never would have won if Manning stayed in the game, but give Gang Green some credit.  The Jets played the Colts tough, even with Manning in the game, and still managed to run all over the Colts defense to a tune of 200 yards rushing.  Before you say it was against all backups, please realize that it is impossible with a 53 man roster to take out all the defensive starters.  So yes, the Jets ran the ball against most of the Colts starters on defense. 

“Indianapolis earned the right to do whatever they want,” Rex Ryan said. “That’s a heck of a football team. We were just going to line up and play, one way or the other. Whoever was in a Colts uniform was who we were going to play against.”

 The Jets sealed the win with two fourth-quarter scores — Jay Feely’s 43-yard field goal and Thomas Jones’ 1-yard TD run — and Mark Sanchez was efficient, completing 12 of 19 passes for 109 yards.  He wasn’t asked to do much, except hold on to the football. 

The Jets will host the Bengals next Sunday, on Sunday night football.  Cincy still could claim the three seed with a win and a Patriot loss, but teams rarely care about seeding unless it means a first round bye.  There’s a good chance the Bengals will rest even more players than the Colts did.   Nonetheless, the Jets just have to win, regardless who plays, as a playoff berth would be a huge accomplishment for a team with a rookie QB and a first year head coach. 

But as a Jet fan, I can only wonder if this team is just setting me up for another brutal letdown.  Only time will tell…


One comment

  1. Agreed! Definitely excited about the prospect of them going into the playoffs with a win over Cincy – but also nervous that they will totally blotch the game and end the season with a loss… Let’s hope for the first one and a playoff spot! J-E-T-S.. JETS! JETS! JETS!

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