By Peter Schwartz
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Raise your hand if you were not a happy member of Jets Nation when Gang Green decided to let Jay Feely walk and then sign Nick Folk.
I’m going to take the liberty of thinking that there are a lot of you with your hand up in the air. It’s okay to admit it because there were plenty of people around the NFL who were left scratching their heads.
What are you saying now?
Folk nailed the game winning 32-yard field goal as time expired to give the Jets a 17-16 win over the Colts Saturday night in the Wild Card playoff at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I just kind of went out there and tried to make it look just like an extra point,” said Folk. “It went right down the middle.”
This was a true team effort.
Brad Smith suffered a quad injury in the first quarter and although he would return later in the game, it would be Antonio Cromartie who provided yet another example of what head coach Rex Ryan has preached all year.
There are 53 players on the roster for a reason and you need contributions from all 45 who dress.
So Cromartie took over some of the kick return duties and came up with a big one after Adam Vinatieri put the Colts ahead with a 50-yard field goal with :53 left. Cromartie returned the ensuing kick 47 yards to set the Jets up at their own 46-yard line.
“When I saw that Brad went out, I just asked the coach to put me back there,” said Cromartie.
There are so many players that contributed to this win. From Brodney Pool who had two big third down tackles, to Jason Taylor with his first career post-season sack, to Ladainian Tomlinson who rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns, to Shonn Greene with another 70 on the ground and to quarterback Mark Sanchez who shook off an awful first half to come through went it meant the most.
On the final drive, he was 3-3 for 38 yards including an 18-yard strike down the right sideline to Braylon Edwards at the Colts 14-yard line that set up Folk’s game winning field goal.
But you want to know who I’m giving my game ball to?
I’m giving it to Rex Ryan.
The coach may rub people the wrong way, but he believes in his team and his players will go through a brick wall for him. He’s waiting a long time to beat Peyton Manning and finally he can smile.
“It was a Herculean effort by our team,” said Ryan. “I’m thankful that I finally got to beat Peyton Manning.”
Of course now it’s on to another juicy storyline.
The Jets get another crack at the Patriots next Sunday in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Foxboro. On Monday night December 6th, the Jets were pounded by New England 45-3.
One can only imagine what the rhetoric will be like this week.
Here are some other notes from the Jets’ dramatic win:
*Rex Ryan now has a 3-1 post-season record as Jets head coach. His .750 winning percentage is the best by any Jets coach.
*Mark Sanchez now has three post-season wins. He now has the most wins by a quarterback in Jets post-season history. Joe Namath, Chad Pennington, and Richard Todd each had two.
*Ladainian Tomlinson’s 23-yard run on the first Jets offensive series was the longest postseason run of his career.
*Eric Smith led the team with a career post-season high 10 tackles.
GET OVER IT, THIS IS YOUR JOB
Reporters are supposed to be objective and professional in the press box. Most stadiums make an announcement asking members of the media to refrain from cheering. Whatever a reporter feels in his heart should stay there and any emotions should not be seen or heard.
This should also apply when it comes to those who complain about their job.
I heard Jets beat writer go on this tirade after Saturday night’s game in the press box.
“I hope the Patriots beat them 45-3 again next week. I can’t believe this continues. (blank) Peyton Manning, (blank) Reggie Wayne, (blank) Blair White and (blank) everybody!”
This person has a job that many aspiring journalists coming out of college dream of having. It’s also a job that many current professionals would like to have.
Covering an NFL team, or any professional team for that matter, is a privilege. It’s even better when the team wins. More people read your stories. It’s what this business is all about.
If you don’t like it, take a hike.
Are the hours sometimes a little crazy? Yes.
Is there a lot of pressure that comes with covering a team? Absolutely.
But it’s also exhilarating and fun. I could be doing something else for a living but this is the path that I chose. It’s also the path that this reporter I’m talking about chose to follow.
The Jets are in the AFC Final Four. Go book your hotel room and gas up your car to drive to Foxboro.
It’s your job!
A MAGNIFICENT STADIUM
This was my first trip to Lucas Oil Stadium and let me tell you that the place is absolutely fabulous. They did everything right with the place. From fan amenities to atmosphere, to appearance, the building is just fantastic. Not that it’s a concern for fans, but the press box was pretty impressive as well.
I’ve spoken to a lot of Jets and Giants fans about the New Meadowlands Stadium and I’m in agreement with them about the new home of Gang Green and Big Blue.
I don’t think I’m breaking any new ground with this next statement but just for the record…
After visiting Lucas Oil Stadium, the Jets and Giants should be embarrassed about what they collaborated on.
There was a very funny moment on the field before the game. A person disguised as Fireman Ed was about to do the “J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS” routine and had the letters spelled out on the field. But, the Colts’ mascot “Blue” tackled the fraud and flipped the cards over to spell “COLTS”.
If the real Fireman Ed saw it or heard about, let’s hope that he has a sense of humor!
That’s it for now. Check back later this week for more as the Jets get set to take on the Patriots.