It was not so long ago that the New York Jets were an average team with a rookie quarterback who couldn’t pass to his own teammates. No one thought the team could accomplish anything this season. And then they won five of their last six games. And then they beat the AFC North division champion Cincinnati Bengals.
On a brutally cold evening in Ohio, the Jets played about as good a game as they have all year and beat the Bengals for the second consecutive week, this time with their playoff lives on the line.
Although the team is built around veteran talent like the Jets’ offensive line, their very experienced defensive unit, and a veteran running back, it was the rookies and young guys that powered the Jets to a victory.
Mark Sanchez played a near flawless game as he completed 12 of 15 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown. It was the fourth time in five games that the rookie did not throw a single interception.
Similarly, while Thomas Jones, the second leading rusher in the AFC, did not bring his best stuff with him (15 carries for 34 yards and a touchdown), rookie running back Shonn Greene put up a career game as he ran 21 times for 135 yards and a touchdown against the second-best rushing defense in the NFL.
Darrelle Revis continued his amazing year as he shut down the Bengals’ top receiver, Chad Ochocinco, for the second straight game as he intercepted a pass, deflected a pass, and was all over his coverage, allowing Ochocinco to catch just two passes for 28 yards.
The Jets sent a clear message to the NFL this Saturday. They are not going to be a stepping stone for anyone in the playoffs, they are going to come and play hard.
Up next, the Jets take on the San Diego Chargers who won their last eleven straight games.