Sunday, January 24, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Colts 30, Jets 17
By Tim Graham
INDIANAPOLIS -- The New York Jets pushed for about as long as a team could without reaching the Super Bowl.
The Jets held a two-score lead in the first half and led by four points almost 37 minutes into their AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Jets couldn't land the knockout blow on the mighty Colts and eventually succumbed to Peyton Manning's pinpoint passes.
Manning delighted a record Lucas Oil Stadium crowd by leading the Colts back to a 30-17 victory and snuffing a magical Jets campaign that exceeded anyone's expectations outside of their own.
With the Super Bowl in sight, the Jets seemed to be a team of destiny. Head coach Rex Ryan declared them eliminated from the playoff hunt after a Week 15 loss, but the planets aligned and they slipped into the tournament. Then the Jets beat a pair of division champions on the road to reach the AFC title game.
The Colts rolled up 461 yards on the NFL's best defense.
The Jets' top-ranked pass defense allowed 153.7 yards per game in the regular season, but Manning fired all over the field for 377 yards and three touchdowns, two in the second half.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was sensational for most of the day, completing a lot of difficult throws. He went 17-of-30 for 257 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.
New York's offense took a hit when running back Shonn Greene suffered a rib injury. Green was the offensive catalyst in the first two playoff games, but with him sidelined for much of the game, banged-up veteran Thomas Jones was forced to carry the load.
Jones finished with a team-high 42 rushing yards, a far cry from what the ground-and-pound Jets were used to all season.