Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Jets [Print without images]

Monday, January 9, 2012
Sanchez feat looking more impressive

By Rich Cimini

Looking at the first weekend of the playoffs from a Jets perspective:

1. Whenever Rex Ryan defends Mark Sanchez, he invariably mentions his four road playoff victories -- tied for the NFL record with four other quarterbacks. Sometimes he sounds like a broken record, but listen up: Those down on Sanchez after his poor finish should appreciate that mark because, as we saw in the first round of the playoffs, road victories are hard to come by. In fact, there were none over the weekend, as the home teams won all four games.

2. The Jets faced every team in the AFC's final four. They lost to the Patriots (twice), lost to the Broncos, lost to the Ravens and lost to the Texans (in the preseason).

3. Felt bad for former Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery, whose game-tying TD catch for the Steelers -- perhaps the biggest play of his career -- was quickly forgotten because of Tim Tebow's heroics in overtime. Yeah, Cotchery demanded his release from the Jets, usually not an endearing act, but he's different because he was such a class act for the organization. The Jets missed his intangibles in a big way.

4. What do the Giants, Broncos and Texans have in common with the Jets? They all lost at least three straight at some point in the season. In fact, the Broncos had two three-game losing streaks and the Giants dropped four in a row at one point. But they're still playing because they were able to overcome the adversity, and that's where team chemistry becomes so important. It's easy to be Team Harmony when things are going well, quite another story when the dark clouds emerge. The Jets couldn't cope with it, and that's why they're at home.

5. I half-expected Eric Smith to come out of nowhere on that 80-yarder to Demaryius Thomas, trying in vain to make the tackle.