By Peter Schwartz
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As many storylines as there were heading into Sunday’s game in Cleveland, there are just as many angles that one can take out of the Jets’ 26-20 overtime win over the Browns.
*There’s not question that the Jets still have a lot to clean up.
*Kicker Nick Folk had a brutal day missing three field goals, but the Jets survived.
*The Jets defense came up with another fourth quarter hiccup allowing the Browns to tie the game in the final seconds of regulation.
*Jerricho Cotchery (groin), Matt Slauson (knee) and Dwight Lowery (head) all left the game with injuries.
*And the team continues to commit penalties at critical times.
Now those are all legitimate ways of breaking down the game if you’re a natural pessimist, which is basically the life story of a Jets fan over the years.
But the bottom line is that there is just one real way of looking at this game.
The Jets found a way to win and they are tied with the Patriots at 7-2 for the best record in the NFL. Technically, the Jets are living in the NFL’s penthouse because of their victory over New England earlier this season.
It certainly looked like the game was headed towards being a sister kisser, or in this case a brother kisser between Rex and Rob Ryan. But the Jets took advantage of one final opportunity. After Mark Sanchez threw a long pass that was intercepted inside the Browns’ five-yard line, the Jets defense forced a three and out.
Jim Leonhard returned a punt to the Browns 37 and then Sanchez found Santonio Holmes for the game winning 37-yard touchdown pass.
It was the Jets’ fourth longest touchdown pass of the season and the latest a game has been decided in overtime by a touchdown in the NFL since the Baltimore Ravens defeated the St. Louis Rams with 10 seconds remaining in 1996.
Sanchez is growing up before our very eyes. He threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns and also ran one in for a score. His performance late in games has been outstanding. He even stayed in the game after suffering a calf injury in the third quarter.
It was the Jets’ second straight overtime win on the road and their eight straight regular season win away from the Meadowlands dating back to last season.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Jets are the first team to win consecutive overtime road games.
Although Sanchez and Holmes came up big in crunch time and Drew Coleman stripped former Jet Chansi Stuckey in overtime, I’m giving my game ball to Cotchery. He had a touchdown catch in the game, but he showed the heart of a lion in overtime. He pulled his groin while running a route yet still found a way to get open and make an acrobatic catch to keep a drive alive.
Cotchery will undergo an MRI Monday to determine the extent of the injury.
He certainly rebounded after having a case of the drops the last two weeks and it appears as if he might be out for a while.
Yeah, it was clearly an ugly win but the Jets aren’t about to give it back and they shouldn’t. They dominated the game in the second half and should have had a comfortable lead late in the game, but a series of miscues prevented that from happening.
The Jets were successful running the ball as Shonn Green rushed for 72 and LaDainian Tomlinson added 57. The Jets have rushed for over 100 yards in all nine games this season.
In the end, Rex made it 3-0 against his brother in the NFL, Braylon Edwards was victorious in his return to Cleveland, and the Jets knocked off former head coach Eric Mangini.
That’s a lot of business to take care of in one day!
As we’ve discussed before, the Jets are winning some games that they certainly would have lost in years past. Although the talk shows will be filled with calls this week from Jets fans that will paint a doom and gloom picture, Gang Green is sticking to a very common saying.
Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good!
- Holmes’ TD In OT Sends Jets Past Browns 26-20 (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Week 10 Recap: Bills Finally Win, 49ers Climb Into Race (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Patriots Down Steelers 39-26, Keep Pace With Jets (newyork.cbslocal.com)