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Who dey!?

January 10, 2010

We see you Mark Sanchez....

 

What do the haters and bitter Giant fans have to say now? 

All week, Jet fans listened to how their defense was overrated, the Bengals laid down for them last week, and Sanchez would not be able to make plays against the “stifling” Cincinnati defense.  

With their rookie quarterback playing mistake-free football, the New York Jets turned their surprising playoff appearance into a long-running production and silenced the doubters. 

Mark Sanchez handled single-degree wind chills and the playoff pressure with no problems Saturday, throwing a touchdown pass on a rollout play, and the NFL’s top running game took it from there, setting up a 24-14 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Sanchez went 12 of 15 for 182 yards, becoming the fourth rookie quarterback since 1950 to start and win a playoff game. 

Ladies and gentlemen, Mark Sanchez has arrived.  

 

“He just kept getting better as the season went along,” coach Rex Ryan said. “I told him this was his second season now. His first season is over. This is the playoffs.” 

Speaking of arrivals, third-round pick Shonn Greene ran for 135 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown, as the Jets’ rookies made the pivotal plays under the biggest pressure. 

The Jets (10-7) got their first playoff victory since 2004 and pulled off a rare back-to-back sweep of the Bengals (10-7), who got a team playoff-record 169 yards from Cedric Benson but little else. Cincinnati’s streak without a playoff win reached 19 years and counting. 

 

Gang Green stiffled the Bengals on numerous occasions, especially in the passing game.  

“They might have a chance to make a move,” Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer said. “Their defense is that good.” 

Palmer was just 18-36, throwing for 146 yards and a touchdown.  He was also picked off by the Masterlock, Darrelle Revis.   Speaking of Revis, the refs did everything they could to f*ck the Jets, with two absolutely bogus calls on Darrelle.  That phantom pass interference call was laughable.  And since when is it illegal contact when the receiver initiates contact?   

But I digress…. 

“This was a great team effort,” said Ryan, who won in his playoff debut as a head coach. “We’re a good football team. If people don’t believe that, they soon will.” 

Sanchez looked like a playoff pro, joining Shaun King, Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger as rookie quarterbacks to win postseason starts. His passer rating was a stratospheric 139.4. 

At times, Sanchez found himself on the sideline soaking it all in. 

“It just blows your mind,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. I hope I have this feeling next week.” 

Sanchez was by far the lowest-ranked passer in the playoffs, throwing 20 interceptions in his rookie season — second-most in the league. The Bengals wanted to put the game in his hands. Playing without a glove on his passing hand in an 8-degree wind chill, the kid from Southern California handled it without a bobble. 

Afterward, the team present a game ball to owner Woody Johnson, whose daughter, Casey, was found dead in her Los Angeles home on Monday. 

The Jets had a scare at the outset when punter Steve Weatherford was ruled out because of dizziness and an elevated heartbeat. Kicker Jay Feely punted for the first time in his NFL career, averaging 31 yards on seven kicks. He also made 20-yard field goal with 5:47 to go that put Cincinnati too far behind. 

“I was so happy that I was kicking a field goal (then) instead of punting,” Feely said. “That was great.” 

The Jets pulled ahead 14-7 by halftime with two big plays off Sanchez’s hand. He faked a handoff and made a perfect pitchout to Greene, who needed only one block to find open space for a 39-yard touchdown run, the longest of his career. 

In the second quarter, Sanchez caught the Bengals off-guard. He rolled to his right and found tight end Dustin Keller running uncovered beyond the secondary. The throw was perfect, and Keller kept his balance for the last 15 yards while safety Chinedum Ndukwe vainly tried to knock him out of bounds. 

At halftime, Sanchez was 7 of 10 for 94 yards with a passer rating of 132.9. It could have been even better — Braylon Edwards let a pass slip through his hands in the end zone. 

Sanchez led an eight-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in Thomas Jones’ 9-yard run for a 21-7 lead late in the third quarter. Benson broke a 47-yard touchdown run — the longest in Bengals playoff history — that got Cincinnati within a touchdown, but Sanchez and Greene turned it on again. 

The game ended with a little more Jets serendipity. Shayne Graham, the Bengals’ franchise-tagged player, missed two field goals in the second half, including a 28-yarder with 3:49 to go that essentially sealed it.  

The Jets do not know who they will face next week, but either way it will be tough.  Gang Green will most likely be double-digit point underdogs no matter who it is, but with a strong defense and a strong running game they have a shot. 

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