By Peter Schwartz
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The Jets put a lot of physical and emotional effort into their come-from-behind 27-24 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday night. With the game being on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Jets felt a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves to win — and they rallied to make it happen.
Did they have a little bit of luck along the way?
Absolutely, but good teams also find a way to make their own breaks as well.
But this Sunday, they have to turn the engines back on when they welcome the Jacksonville Jaguars to MetLife Stadium. The game doesn’t have the same buzz as the opener against Dallas, but the Jets are taking the contest game very seriously.
After the events of Sunday night, a lot of people are bringing up the “L-word.”
How do the Jets avoid a letdown?
By turning on their DVD players!
“This one is huge and this one is easy,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “Because all you have to do is pop on the tape from two years ago when we played Jacksonville.”
On that day at Giants Stadium, the Jaguars headed back south with a 24-22 victory. They did so by pushing the Jets around.
“We pride ourselves on being a physical football team,” said Ryan. “They handed it to us. They imposed their will on us. They ran the ball better than we did. They were more physical than we were. They came up with three turnovers, so this one won’t be hard to get our team up for. We know what happened the last time we played them. They beat us at our place, so we’ll let the video do most of the talking.”
That video was looked at and examined a lot this week and its shows that Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez threw an interception on the game’s first play. He was 16 of 30 that day for 212 yards, a touchdown and two picks.
He’ll have to step it up this time around against a pretty good Jaguars defense.
“We dropped a game to them at home,” recalled Sanchez. “It just reminds us how well we need to play at home and protect our stadium. But they’re a good disciplined football team under coach Del Rio and we know they have some great players. They’re a tough, physical team so we need to be up for this game and excited, and play well at home.”
After a slow start, the Jets offense picked things up a bit in the second half against the Cowboys. Gang Green was simply following the same script from last season when they came from behind to win on numerous occasions.
But, the Jets would eventually like to flip that script and come out flying.
“It’s always good to start off quick,” said wide receiver Derrick Mason. “You never want to get in a habit of having to play catch-up in any game. We want to be able to come out of the gates, score points and make it a lot easier for our defense.”
The Jets defense will be facing a new-look Jaguars offense following the release of David Garrard just before the start of the season. Luke McCown was 17 of 24 for 175 yards in the Jaguars’ season opening 16-14 win over the Titans.
“They’re similar but their different,” said Jets nose tackle Sione Pouha of the Jaguars offense. “They don’t have (Garrard) there, but I think they’re similar in the way that they have the same coaches and they establish the run with Maurice Jones-Drew back there.”
Paying close attention to McCown will be cornerback Darrelle Revis, who has been hard at work learning about the Jaguars new starter.
“This is the first time I have been introduced to him,” said Revis. “I’ve been watching film on him this week. He’s a solid NFL quarterback. He’s starting (and) they had a great game last week and you see that they are improving as a team.”
Offensively, the Jets will look across the field and see some familiar faces on Sunday. Former Gang Green cornerback Drew Coleman and safety Dwight Lowery are now with the Jaguars.
They will always be friends, but for a day, they are foes.
“It’ll be good (to see them) before the game,” said Sanchez. “As soon as we start playing we have to get after it. We’ll see how they play against us. They’ve always played traditionally well against our offense when they were on the same team as us. They’re still good friends of ours, but we’re trying to win a game. So we’ll put that aside for 60 minutes and then high five at the end, but that’s about it.”
There won’t be any special ceremonies on Sunday. I’m guessing there won’t even be a welcome back video for Coleman and Lowery. But, for a week two game, it’s a huge contest for the Jets. They will play three in a row on the road after this game and need to establish that they’ll be dominant at home.
This is not a slam-dunk. The Jaguars will give the Jets fits. But, as we have come to learn about Gang Green, they can get up after taking a punch.
Sunday marks the 9th regular season meeting and 10th meeting overall between the Jets and Jaguars. The Jaguars lead the regular season series 6-2 with the Jets winning the only post-season meeting, a 34-24 victory in the AFC Divisional Playoff on January 10th, 1999 at Giants Stadium.
The last meeting between these two teams took place on November 15th, 2009 when the Jaguars beat the Jets 24-22 at Giants Stadium. Josh Scobee nailed a 21-yard field goal as time expired after Maurice Jones-Drew took a knee at the one-yard line. The Jets had no timeouts left and were going to let Jones-Drew score so that they could get the ball back, but Jones-Drew was instructed to take a knee.
The Jets were supposed to let MJD score on the previous play, but somebody didn’t get the memo.
“Well, there you go,” said, Ryan. “Ten of us knew to let him score. I’m not going to put Marques Douglas under the bus (joking). You know I love Douglas, but he had the classic quote of all time. He told me, “Hey, he’d been breaking that tackle all day.” (I was) like, “Really, that’s what you came up with?” (laughing). That’s what he said to me.”
It was no laughing matter at the time, but the Jets did wind up making the playoffs despite letting that game slip away.
The Jets last regular season win over the Jaguars was a 13-10 win on November 23rd, 2003 at Giants Stadium.
A SPECIAL DAY AT THE MEADOWLANDS
The Jets have announced plans for Hispanic Heritage Day Sunday at the MetLife Stadium. Here is a portion of the Gang Green’s official press release:
“The day is part of a league-wide celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15, 2011). When the Jets kick off against the Jaguars at 1pm they will be wearing the blue and gold New York Titans uniforms, the franchise’s original name and colors from 1960-1962.
At this Sunday’s game, the Jets will celebrate Hispanic heritage with a variety of cultural entertainment, performances and activities that reflect the vibrant diversity of New York’s Latino population, the second largest in the country. The team has selected Ricardo Fernández as the recipient of the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award, a recognition made possible through the support of Bud Light. Fernández is the president of Lehman College, now in his 22nd year at the helm. He is the longest-serving of the 23 current CUNY presidents and a long time leader and advocate in his community.
Hispanic Heritage Day will feature the National Anthem performed by New York native and Latin Grammy award nominee Prince Royce. A singer, composer and actor in both Spanish and English, Prince Royce’s self-titled debut album has been certified Double Platinum and it features Royce’s first single, a bilingual and bachata cover of the 1961 Ben E. King song, ‘Stand By Me.’ At halftime, one fan who wins the field goal kicking contest will win a trip for two to the 2011 Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas this November.”
This will be a tough, physical football game. The Jets won’t have any problem getting up for the game, but it won’t be a walk in the park. I can see it being tied with five minutes to go. Nick Folk is one of the heroes again.
Jets 16, Jaguars 13
That’s all for now. Check back after the game for more!
Will the Jets avoid a letdown on Sunday? Give us your prediction in the comments below…