Saturday, January 18, 2014
10 plays that shaped the season (No. 2)
By Rich Cimini
We're counting down the 10 most important plays of the New York Jets' season. After presenting numbers six through 10 in one post, we'll take it one at a time from five to one.
No. 2: Lavonte David's greatest shove of all
It happened a long time ago -- opening day -- but that doesn't diminish its significance. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' linebacker committed one of the dumbest penalties you'll ever see, allowing the Jets to go from losers to winners in a matter of seconds.
Down by two points with 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and no timeouts remaining, the Jets got the ball at their 20. It looked bleak, especially with a rookie quarterback, Geno Smith. He found Kellen Winslow for 25 yards and, after spiking the ball to stop the clock, Smith scrambled 10 yards, running out of bounds by the Jets' sideline. For some reason, David pushed Smith after he had crossed the boundary, resulting in a 15-yard penalty.
That changed everything. Instead of a 63-yard field-goal attempt, Nick Folk got his shot from 48 yards -- and he drilled it with two seconds left, lifting the Jets to an improbable 18-17 victory.
It was an emotional boost for the Jets, who began the season with so many questions and low expectations from the outside. If it weren't for David's penalty, the Jets would've been 0-2 (they lost a few days later at the New England Patriots) and there's no telling how things would've turned out.
David rebounded nicely, as he went on to an All-Pro season. The Bucs, not so much. They started 0-8, finished 4-12 and got Greg Schiano fired.