Jets v. Patriots...Thursday night...prime time...only game of the day, talk about an instant classic. What a game for the New York Jets. They go up to New England tied for first place with the hated Patriots, build a huge lead and blow it, and still walk out with a win. This game was big, not just for the Jets in the standings, but for the whole organization. Just when we were all ready to say "Same Old Jets", they pull out a miracle win in enemy territory.
All throughout his career, Brett Favre has won big games. Last night, he finally won a big one for the Jets. Favre played by far his best game of the season for the Jets, considering the stakes. He made no mistakes in this game. He was 26-33 for 258 yards and 2 touchdowns, and most importantly, no turnovers. He was able to spread the ball all over the field, making completions to seven different receivers. He is definitely getting more comfortable in the Jets offense, which was evident last night, completing almost 80% of his passes. The key stat for Favre was that he was 9-12 on third down. He was finding the open man all night.
And last night the open man was rookie tight end Dustin Keller. Keller, coming off a 6 catch 107 performance against the Rams, had another great game last night. The Jets first round pick hauled in 8 catches for 87 yards, with some of his biggest catches on the night coming on overtime. Three of his 8 catches came on the game winning drive in OT. His biggest catch came on third down and 15 in overtime. Favre was able to hit him for about 14 yards, with Keller making a 2 yard dive for the first down. He is proving to be a very reliable option for Brett in the passing game, especially over the past two weeks. All though he did drop a sure touchdown in the 1st quarter, he does have very good hands, and you can see why the Jets picked him in the first round.
Jerricho Cotchery and Leon Washington also had huge games for Gang Green. In the second quarter, Favre saw Cotchery in man coverage, and unleashed a bomb down the sideline. Jerricho, fighting off Ellis Hobbs with his right hand, was able to make a one handed catch with his left hand. He reached out, while falling down, grabbed the ball and pinned it to his helmet for a 46 yard reception that ended up on the New England 16 yard line. The Patriots must have been having David Tyree flashbacks from the Super Bowl. To cap off the drive, Favre hit Cotchery for a 15 yard touchdown. He was met by two Patriots at the 2 yard line, so he stretched his arm out to break the plane by the nose of the ball. He ended up with 5 receptions for 87 yards. Leon Washington, who has been a Jets MVP, stepped up in a big way for the Jets again. In the second quarter, the Patriots scored a field goal to cut the Jets lead to 10-6. On the ensuing kickoff, Washington fielded it at the Jets 8 yard line and took it to the house for 92 yards. Giving the Jets a 17-6 lead. He also had a 7 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter to give the Jets a 7-0 lead. He really is the Jets "X" factor. There is nothing he can not do, and is always a threat when he is on the field.
The offensive line was good last night again. They did allow Favre to be sacked three times, but were able to help Thomas Jones gain 104 yards rushing against a very good Patriots line. Jones was not flashy, but kept grinding out yards. He ran the ball 30 times for an average of 3.4 yards. Overall the Jets ended up with 140 yards on the ground. At one point, Brad Smith lined up under center with Favre going out wide left. Smith took the snap and ran the ball for 17 yards to the Patriots 5 yard line. That would be the Jets version of the "wildcat" formation. The best part was Favre running a slant and waiving his arms in the air for Smith to throw him the ball.
The defense had a great first half to this game. They held New England to two field goals until the last minute of the second quarter, when the scored their first touchdown of the game. During the first half, the Jets defense managed to not let Matt Cassel get into a comfort zone. He missed a few open receivers on key third downs. The defense was able to get a huge sack on Cassel in the second quarter on 4th and 1 with the Patriots going for it down 24-6. The second half was a different story. Tom Brady's backup had a huge second half, leading the Patriots back to tie the Jets at 24 and then again at 31. He ended up throwing for 400 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also ended up with 62 yards rushing on 8 attempts. His best play was a touchdown pass to Randy Moss on 4th and 1 with .01 seconds left on the clock. He has chased out of the pocket, and almost sacked, only to hit Moss falling out of bounds on the right side of the end zone. Moss made an unbelievable catch with Ty Law all over him. Cassel played a very good game and almost led his team to a big comeback win.
This was a huge win for the entire Jets organization. They have been getting beat down by New England in what seems like forever, losing 11 of the previous 12 to their hated rivals. They needed a win like this to not only take a one game lead in the division, but to show the NFL that they can hang with the big boys. One of the reasons they got all these big name free agents was to win "this" game. Favre proved he is still up to the task. And as he said after the game, "This is why I came back". If he can play like this the rest of the way, this may end up being a very special season for the Jets.