By Peter Schwartz
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These are not your traditional "Same Old Jets".
The old "Same Old Jets" would certainly have lost. In fact, they might not have even been playing. Surely, the old "Same Old Jets" would never have gotten past Peyton Manning. If things broke the right…make that wrong way, the old "Same Old Jets" may have even choked away a playoff spot.
But, again, these are not the old version of the "Same Old Jets".
I'm talking about the new version of the "Same Old Jets". The group that head coach Rex Ryan referred to this past week and reiterated after Sunday's 28-21 win over the Patriots in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.
"Same old Jets, back in the AFC Championship Game," said Ryan.
These "Same Old Jets" are preventing me from using one of my favorite lines.
As Kermit The Frog says "It Ain't Easy Being Green."
These days, it's now cool to be green. The Jets are in the NFL's final four for the second straight year and they've done it again the hard way. Just like last year, they've won consecutive road playoff games and will play the Pittsburgh Steelers for the AFC Championship this Sunday at Heinz Field (6:30pm CBS2 HD).
And they got there in grand style, disposing of the AFC East rivals with a brilliant performance. On offense, Mark Sanchez threw three touchdown passes and is now 4-1 lifetime in the post-season. His passer rating on Sunday against the Patriots was a spectacular 127.3
Defensively, the Jets sacked Tom Brady five times and basically made him feel uncomfortable the entire game. Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine deserve a ton of credit for coming up with a brilliant game plan for a second consecutive week.
So who gets my game ball?
There's no shortage of possibilities, including Sanchez with his three touchdowns, Shaun Ellis with a pair of sacks, Shonn Greene with 76 yards and a touchdown, or David Harris for intercepting Brady.
But I'm going with Jerricho Cotchery. He had 5 catches for 96 yards but he gets the honor because of a play he made early in the fourth quarter. The Patriots had scored near the end of the third quarter to make it a 14-11 game.
The Jets needed to get something going offensively and they did just that. On 2nd and six from Jets 29, Sanchez hit Cotchery who rambled 58 yards down to the Pats 13 yard line. That set up a seven-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to Santonio Holmes. It was Holmes' fourth career post-season touchdown catch.
"Same Old Jets?"
They are playing for the AFC Championship.
*For the 1st time in franchise history, the Jets are in the AFC Title game for a 2nd consecutive year.
*Jets head coach Rex Ryan is now 4-1 in the playoffs. The four wins and the .800 winning percentage are the best all-time among Jets head coaches.
*Mark Sanchez is now 4-1 in the playoff. In just his 2nd NFL season, Sanchez has the most post-season wins by any quarterback in Jets history.
*Sanchez' passer rating of 127.3 against the Pats is the second highest of his career. He registered a 139.4 rating last year against the Bengals.
*For the 12th consecutive playoff game, the Jets defense notched a sack. The streak began when they recorded three sacks against the Broncos in the 1998 Championship game.
THIS ONE WAS FOR THE BYRD
As you probably know by now, former Jet Dennis Byrd addressed the team on Saturday night and he made quite the impression. He sent the Jets the jersey that was cut off of his body when he suffered a spinal cord injury against the Chiefs in 1992.. The Jets' captains brought the jersey out to midfield for the opening coin toss.
Byrd was a guest of the Jets at the game on Sunday and held a press conference before the kickoff…..
It's been a long time since Byrd was part of the organization so hopefully this can be the start of something good. He talked about the opportunity that the Jets had right in front of them.
That's all for now. Check back later in the week for a preview of the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers.
- Cromartie, Jets D Shut Down Brady, Patriots (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Jets Take Down Pats, Advance To AFC Title Game (newyork.cbslocal.com)
for more features.