New York 17, Indianapolis 16: The Show Goes On

-- The Jets escaped with a 17-16 win in Indy -- See Gang Green Nation for even more Jets coverage

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Grading Out Jets/Colts

Quarterback (C+) - This wasn't Mark Sanchez's best overall effort. He missed Dustin Keller for a sure touchdown right before the end of the first half, threw a brutal interception a few passes later, and missed Braylon Edwards down the field late in game. However, he settled down in the second half for the most part and more importantly hit three straight passes on the Jets final drive to set up the game winning field goal. He has now won three playoff games in his first two years.

Running Back (A) - LaDainian Tomlinson looked like his early season self with 99 total offensive yards and 2 touchdowns. The Jets will need him to keep it up if they want a shot at New England. Shonn Greene looked strong as well with 70 yards on 19 carries.

Wide Receivers (A-) - Outside a bad drop by Santonio Holmes late in the game, the Jets receivers made all the plays they were given a chance to. Braylon Edwards continued his great season with a clutch catch late to set up the game winning field goal, as he continues to make a strong case to be re-signed next year.

Tight Ends (A) - A strong game of blocking for both Dustin Keller and Ben Hartsock. Keller added 3 receptions for 42 yards and Hartsock actually pulled in his first catch of the year for 5 yards.

Offensive Line (A) - They took over the game in the second half and kept Mark Sanchez clean all day. We always hear about all the Pro-Bowl caliber players on the Jets offensive line and they played to that level last night.

Defensive Line (C+) - They did a pretty good job against the run but generated absolutely no pass rush. Mike DeVito led the way with 6 tackles. Sione Pouha added 4 tackles and Trevor Pryce returned from injury to have 3 tackles.

Linebackers (B-) - No pass rush but they made some timely tackles in space, including a big one by Bart Scott late. David Harris had 9 tackles and a TFL. Calvin Pace recorded a sack. Jason Taylor was quiet.

Secondary (B) - Darrelle Revis showed why he was worth every cent this off-season. Brodney Pool had a great game and finished with 7 tackles and a TFL. Antonio Cromartie was torched up and down the field, which isn't a good sign for next week. Eric Smith led the team in tackles with 10 and 2 passes defensed.

Special Teams (A) - Nick Folk avoided becoming Doug Brien. Cromartie had a huge, huge kick return to set up the game winning field goal. The coverage units were all solid.

Coaching (A) - I wasn't crazy about some of Brian Schottenheimer's timing of the Wildcat, including on one of the Jets final drive...keep Sanchez on the field in that situation. Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine had a great game plan on defense and were smart enough not to be stubborn with their blitz packages.


Jets 17, Colts 16: The Reaction

Lots of reaction from Saturday night's thrilling 17-16 last-second AFC playoff victory by the New York Jets over the Indianapolis Colts. Here is some of it.

From Gang Green Nation:

The Jets beat the Colts tonight in Indianapolis 17-16 in an absolute classic. In the final minute, it looked like we were in for a long offseason of trying to figure out where to go from here. It would have been devastating because the Jets had a good plan, executed it really well, and still looked like they were going to be knocked out by the Colts for a second straight year. However, they will get a rubber match with the Patriots late next Sunday afternoon instead. This game should earn a special place in New York football lore.

From Stampede Blue, SB Nation's Colts blog:

In game where the Colts offense gutted it out for every yard, where Peyton Manning and Adam Vinatieri did all they could to get the lead in the fourth quarter on a 50-yard FG to go up 16-14 with less than one minute left, it only took the much overpaid, much over-valued, quite unreliable Colts defense and special teams 53 seconds to allow Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez to lead New York into FG range, and for Nick Folk to bang through a gimme 32-yarder as time expired.

Ball game. Jets win.

So much effort. So much fight. All of it undone. One-and-done, again.

Stampede Blue also has plenty more reaction. Among their offerings are posts questioning Jim Caldwell's timeout with 29 seconds left and receiver Reggie Wayne complaining about not getting the ball thrown to him enough.

By now, you also probably know that Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was allowed to make his own play call on the pass to Braylon Edwards that set up the game-winning field goal. Here is one take on that move.

This rite of passage was granted by Brian Schottenheimer after Sanchez basically shook off the offensive coordinator's undisclosed first call from the sidelines. Instead Sanchez listened to his top receiver, Braylon Edwards, who told the quarterback in the huddle he could go over the top and take Jacob Lacey, who was playing him man-to-man.

This was a leap of faith on many levels, all of it eventually justified. Sanchez lofted the perfect, back-shoulder pass along the right sideline, the Jets gained 18 yards on the reception and then Nick Folk took it from there, a 32-yard field goal for the 17-16 victory as time expired.

"I wasn't thrilled with the first call," Sanchez said. "Schotty gave me the freedom to do it. I know I could make that throw last year. But I don't know if I could make the call."


The Show Goes On. Jets Win 17-16

The 2010 New York Jets season isn't ready to be written off yet.

Our defense which has underachieved all season, held the mighty Peyton Manning to one touchdown. Reggie Wayne? 1 catch for 1 yard. The pass rush didn't exist and Antonio Cromartie had an awful game but as a unit, they had a hell of a performance.

The offense got back to the Ground and Pound in a big way. LaDainian Tomlinson stepped up with 82 yards on 16 carries along with two touchdowns. Shonn Greene added 70 yards on 19 carries, as the Jets offensive line completely dominated the second half. Mark Sanchez didn't play his best game and missed some huge throws, however he did enough to win his third road playoff game in two years.

How about Braylon Edwards with the clutch catch that set up the game winning field goal? He has turned into the Jets most reliable receiver in a big spot, which is something must of us didn't see coming.

Nick Folk did what he needed to do and hit the 32-yard field goal to win the game and with that we are off to New England, in hopes of pulling off the monster upset. Hey, it is playoff football...anything can happen. Did you see what happened in Seattle today?


New York Jets At Indianapolis Colts: Final Thoughts & Prediction

If you haven't been able to tell from the rest of this story stream, I am feeling pretty confident about the Jets chances tonight against the Colts. The match-ups have improved exponentially since last January and this team was built to win this football game, especially against an under-manned Colts team. 

Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning. He is going to make his share of plays. However, this should be a big night for the Jets offense and for Mark Sanchez in particular. The Jets can put the necessary amount of points on the scoreboard to keep pace. 

I hope to see plenty of Shonn Greene tonight against a smaller Colts defense that has struggled against the run. Jason Taylor, how about getting that pass rush going? Antonio Cromartie, we brought you here so we wouldn't have to worry about players like Pierre Garcon killing us.

In the end, I am predicting a 27-24 Jets victory. See you next Sunday in New England.


Jets At Colts: 'We Are Going There To Win,' Says Rex Ryan

(Saturday, NBC, 8:00 PM ET)

Pretty much everything that can be said about today’s New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts AFC Playoff Game has been said. Here is a final overview of the game, courtesy of the NFL PR. Dept.

It will be a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game when the Jets visit the Colts on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium. New York will look to avenge the Colts’ 30-17 victory that sent Indianapolis to Super Bowl XLIV a year ago.

“It’s an opportunity to get back at them,” says Jets tight end DUSTIN KELLER, who led the club with 55 catches. “We owe them one. They got us last year.”

New York quarterback MARK SANCHEZ, who is the second youngest Jet to pass for 3,000 yards (Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE NAMATH), has guided his team to the postseason for the second consecutive year. Last year, he became only the second rookie QB to start and win two playoff games (JOE FLACCO).

“We are not going to Indianapolis to lose, we are going there to win,” says Jets head coach REX RYAN. “That’s our mentality and always will be. I believe in our football team. I know that’s an excellent football team we’re going to play but they’re getting our best shot. This will be a great game and as long as the Jets win, I’ll sign up for it.”

The Colts, the defending AFC champions, return to the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season, tying the Dallas Cowboys (1975-83) for the most postseason appearances in a row.

“You’ve got to earn your right to play in the playoffs,” says Indianapolis head coach JIM CALDWELL. “This is what you work for. It’s the beginning of the second season. Now you feel everything kind of kicks up a notch or two.”

Colts Pro Bowl quarterback PEYTON MANNING set a league record with 450 completions and passed for 4,700 yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers DAN FOUTS (1980-81) and WARREN MOON (1990-91) as the only players in NFL history to have consecutive seasons with at least 4,500 passing yards.


New York Jets At Indianapolis Colts: Looking at the Defenses

When the Jets are on defense...

6th in opponent's passing yards

3rd in opponent's rushing yards

Defensive Line - Sione Pouha (59 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 TFL), Mike DeVito (59 tackles, 4 TFLs), Shaun Ellis (36 tackles, 4.5 sacks), Vernon Gholston (12 tackles, 1 TFL), Trevor Pryce (4 tackles, 1 sack)

The Jets defensive line doesn't do much in the way of getting after the quarterback, however they are efficient at stopping the run. Trevor Pryce has been out the previous few weeks but is expected back in the rotation. The Jets need their seasoned veteran, Ellis, to generate some type of pass rush from this group.

Linebackers - David Harris (99 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 TFLs), Bart Scott (81 tackles, 1 sack, 6 TFLs), Calvin Pace (51 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 3 TFLs, 1 INT), Bryan Thomas (39 tackles, 6 sacks, 3 TFLs), Jason Taylor (36 tackles, 5 sacks, 5 TFLs)

This unit hasn't produced the number of big plays you'd hope for. Despite being very good in run support, they struggle in pass coverage and haven't got to the quarterback enough. Jason Taylor and Calvin Pace need big games in particular as the team's top two pass rushers. David Harris had a pair of sacks against Peyton Manning last year in the AFC Championship Game.

Secondary - Darrelle Revis (32 tackles, 10 PDs), Antonio Cromartie (42 tackles, 17 PDs, 3 INTs), Brodney Pool (53 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT), Eric Smith (54 tackles, 1 sack), Dwight Lowery (19 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 INTs), Drew Coleman (41 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 INT), Marquice Cole (22 tackles, 2 INTs), James Ihedigbo (22 tackles, 3 sacks), Kyle Wilson (21 tackles, 5 PDs)

As you can see, the Jets have a ton of players who contribute in the secondary. Ironically, most of their pass rush comes from this unit. Darrelle Revis will be matched up with Reggie Wayne, while Antonio Cromartie will cover Pierre Garcon, who killed the Jets last year. The key to the game could very well be how players like Coleman, Pool and Lowery handle tight end Jacob Tamme and slot receiver Blair White. Don't be surprised to see a ton of packages that are defensive back heavy.

When the Colts are on defense...

13th in opponent's passing yards

25th in opponent's rushing yards

Defensive Line - Robert Mathis (60 tackles, 11 sacks), Dwight Freeney (25 tackles, 10 sacks), Eric Foster (33 tackles, 3.5 sacks), Keyunta Dawson (31 tackles), Fili Moala (26 tackles)

We all know about the Colts ability to get after the quarterback led by Mathis and Freeney. Fortunately, the Jets are equipped to handle this with their pair of tackles. However, it will be interesting to see if Damien Woody is struggling upon his return from injury, if they turn to Wayne Hunter who played very well the previous few weeks.

Linebackers - Gary Brackett (74 tackles, .5 sacks, 4 TFLs), Pat Angerer (88 tackles, 1 sack), Philip Wheeler (61 tackles), Kavell Conner (57 tackles)

This isn't a particularly strong group and there is no reason the Jets should be shy about running at them all day north and south with Shonn Greene. I am aware they have played better against the run lately but the Jets offensive line and fullbacks should be able to clear plenty of lanes.

Secondary - Antoine Bethea (106 tackles, 1 INT), Jacob Lacey (64 tackles, 1 INT), Kelvin Hayden (61 tackles, 2 INTs), Aaron Francisco (45 tackles, 2 INTs), Tyjuan Hagler (59 tackles, 1 INT), Justin Tryon (44 tackles)

This has been a banged up unit all year. There is no reason the Jets can't exploit them with Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller. This isn't the game to handcuff Mark Sanchez. The Jets have superior talent on the outside and shouldn't hesitate to take advantage of it.


Advantage: Jets - The Jets have a better overall unit, despite all talk about Indy's pass rush, the Jets actually have 10 more sacks than them this year.


New York Jets Season In Review: Milestones

The New York Jets are focused on the task at hand, which is preparing for Saturday’s wild-card weekend AFC playoff game in Indianapolis against Peyton Manning and the Colts. That, however, doesn’t mean we can’t take a minute to look back on some of the accomplishments of the Jets’ 11-5 regular season.

Courtesy of the NFL PR Dept., here are some significant milestones achieved by the Jets in 2010:

— Clinched consecutive playoff appearances for fifth time in franchise history.

— Erased a 10-point deficit in the final three minutes of regulation and defeated the Detroit Lions 23-20 in overtime in Week 9. It marked only the second time in franchise history the Jets rallied from a double-digit deficit in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter (September 24, 2000 at Tampa Bay).

— Defeated the Browns 26-20 in overtime at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Week 10, and became the first team in NFL history to win road games in overtime in consecutive weeks.

— With 3,291 yards, QB MARK SANCHEZ (age 24) became the second youngest Jet to pass for 3,000 yards (Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE NAMATH, age 23 after 1966 season).


Rex Ryan: 'We Expect To Win'

Appearing on ESPN Radio in New York New York Jets coach Rex Ryan — as always — had some interesting things to say leading up to this weekend’s wild-card weekend playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Courtesy of Sports Radio Interviews, you can read the full transcript. We have some snippets for you.

What he can take out of last weekend’s game and apply it towards the game against the Colts:

“I just like the way we played. It was just like the ‘Jet Way’ just full of intensity and passion and I think that is the way we want to do business. It was an opportunity for a lot of guys to step up and it was exciting to see Jason Taylor and Calvin Pace, they did a tremendous job of rushing the passer, and then I thought our back-end, having Darrelle out and Cromartie out, and those guys really stepped up. Marquis Cole and Kyle Wilson, those guys really played well.”

If this team is any better heading into the playoffs than they were last year:

“I think we are. I think we have more weapons on the outside that if you want to stick them all down there than we get you on the outside. I think we have proved that. I think Mark is more confident with the offense knowing the system. I just think we are better offensively, and then on defense, I think we are obviously, statistically we weren’t as good as we were last season, but then again, I want to talk about how we are going to finish and I think, right now I think we have a huge test in front of us, but I think we have more depth right now. Last year, when we played Indianapolis, when we had a couple of corners go down, it devastated us. I think now, even as soon as against the Bills, that we do have depth around the corner and that is what you have to have going up against these guys.”

Whether it is fair to say, if the Jets are a better team this year and the Colts aren’t as good of a team this year:

“I hope so. As long as you have got Peyton Manning out there he seems to make everyone better, but losing Dallas Clark is going to hurt him. Collie, the slot receiver, but they are still the Indianapolis Colts. I think they are running the ball better than they did, especially recently, and then their defense they still got all those great, edge pass rushers, so they’re still an excellent football team, but I like our team and we are going down there to win this thing. That is our mission and we expect to win.”


New York Jets At Indianapolis Colts: Looking at the Offenses

When the Jets have the ball...

22nd in the NFL in passing yards

4th in the NFL in rushing yards

Quarterback - Mark Sanchez (54.8 completion percentage, 3291 yards, 17 TDs, 13 INTs, 105 rushing yards, 3 TDs)

Sanchez put together a much-improved sophomore campaign. He is much better at protecting the football and is playing with more poise and confidence. Despite a banged-up shoulder, he played some of his best football in Week 16 against a strong Chicago Bears defense. Sanchez thrives at throwing on the run and has really demonstrated his mobility throughout the year. He also throws a good slant route and is accurate on quick passes over the middle. Despite his improvements, he still struggles with inconsistency and can get down on himself if he starts poorly. It doesn't hurt that Sanchez played arguably his best game as a professional in Indianapolis during the AFC Championship Game last year.

Running Backs - LaDainian Tomlinson (914 rushing yards, 4.2 YPC, 6 rushing TDs, 52 receptions, 368 yards), Shonn Greene (766 rushing yards, 4.1 YPC, 2 rushing TDs, 16 receptions, 120 yards)

Despite a strong start, it appears Tomlinson is fading a little down the stretch while Greene looked the best he did all season against the Bears in week 16. Greene's north/south running style should be good against a Colts defense built on speed, not size. Tomlinsonis still a valuable weapon as a receiver out of the backfield. It will be interesting to see if the Jets use rookie Joe McKnight in the game plan after his strong showing in Week 17.

Wide Receivers - Braylon Edwards (53 receptions, 904 yards, 7 TDs), Santonio Holmes (52 receptions, 746 yards, 6 TDs), Jerricho Cotchery (41 receptions, 433 yards, 2 TDs), Brad Smith (299 rushing yards, 44 receiving yards)

The Jets have one of the most talented duos of starting receivers in the league with Edwards and Holmes, both of whom have put together strong years. They should be able to take advantage of a young, banged up Colts secondary. Edwards has been surprisingly reliable over the middle and as a big play threat, while Holmes has the ability to take a slant route and turn it into a 60 yard touchdown. Cotchery has had a disappointing year but was great for the Jets in the playoffs last year. Brad Smith can do it all and will be featured in the Jets version of the Wildcat.

Tight End - Dustin Keller (55 receptions, 687 yards, 5 TDs)

Keller had a disappointing second half of the year but showed signs of life against the Bears in week 16. He is always a difficult match-up for safeties and linebackers and should be able to exploit the Colts cover 2 zone. Keller did catch a touchdown against Indianapolis in last year's AFC Championship Game.

When the Colts have the ball...

1st in the NFL in passing yards

29th in the NFL in rushing yards

Quarterback - Peyton Manning (66.3 completion percentage, 4700 yards, 33 TDs, 17 INTs)

Just about the best in the business, Manning actually had a down year by his standards but still has the ability to completely take over a football game. Rex Ryan has struggled against him his entire coaching career, so it will be interesting to see what the Jets draw up.

Running Backs - Donald Brown (497 yards, 3.9 YPC, 2 TDs), Joseph Addai (495 yards, 4.3 YPC, 4 TDs), Dominic Rhodes (172 yards, 4.6 YPC, 0 TDs)

Rhodes has come out of the UFL to become a key part of the Colts rushing attack the past few weeks. Addai seems to be healthy now after missing extended time this season, while Brown has seen limited work since Addai got healthy and the team signed Rhodes. The Jets have struggled against the run more than usual the previous few weeks but can't afford to let Indy establish a ground game.

Wide Receivers - Reggie Wayne (111 receptions, 1355 yards, 6 TDs), Pierre Garcon (67 receptions, 784 yards, 6 TDs), Blair White (36 receptions, 355 yards, 5 TDs)

Wayne keeps chugging along and producing at an unbelievable rate. Darrelle Revis will be matched up with him 1 on 1. Garcon killed the Jets last year but will now have to deal with Antonio Cromartie, not Dwight Lowery or Lito Sheppard. He can be rattled easily and has a tendency to drop passes. White has filled in for an injured Austin Collie and produced relatively well.

Tight End - Jacob Tamme (67 receptions, 631 yards, 4 TDs)

Tamme has stepped right in for an injured Dallas Clark and not missed a beat, The Jets have been awful at covering the tight all year, so Tamme is a guy to keep an eye on.


Advantage: Indianapolis - Unfortunately, Peyton Manning means they have an advantage over everybody not named New England in the AFC. However, the Jets have more at receiver and a much better rushing attack. They are way more equipped to score points with this Indy offense than they were in the past.


Jets Don't Deny Wanting Payback On Colts

In opening our coverage of Saturday's AFC wild-card weekend matchup between the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts, Joe Caporoso talked about how the Jets have waited nearly a year for an opportunity to avenge last season's AFC Championship Game loss to Indy. The Jets don't need to be reminded about last season.

"It's a great matchup for us. It really is. We beat them once last year, they beat us when it really counted and that's hard. That's a tough feeling, going home after a playoff game, (getting) all the way to the AFC Championship game, having the lead at halftime and then coming up short," said Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. 

Jets coach Rex Ryan does not deny having payback in mind.

"That's the way it is. If you are a competitor, that's how you feel. I know that's how I feel. It's a lot easier to dream about it, talk about it and think about it so we have to just go out and do it now," Ryan said. "We'll see if it's a different outcome. I believe it will (be different). We are not taking anything away from Indianapolis. They are a (great) football team with one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the sport and two great pass rushers."

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