Sunday, January 16, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Jets 28, Patriots 21
By Tim Graham
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New York Jets avenged their Week 13 annihilation at Gillette Stadium by stunning the top-seeded New England Patriots 28-21 in Sunday's playoff showdown.
What it means: For the second straight year under Rex Ryan, the Jets won two road games and advanced to the AFC Championship Game. The Patriots lost their third straight postseason game.
Hero: Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez outplayed MVP favorite Tom Brady and won for the first time in Gillette Stadium. Sanchez completed 16 of his 25 throws for 194 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He was cool in a pressure-packed environment.
Unsung hero: Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis had a big game as a pass-rusher and against the run. He sacked Brady twice on the Patriots' second possession.
Goat: Brady, who once posed with goats for a GQ photo spread, didn't perform when it mattered. He threw an interception, had trouble locating open receivers and wasn't on target very often. He completed 29 of 45 throws for 299 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Pivotal play: Two plays after Brady found Alge Crumpler for a touchdown and Sammy Morris ran in the two-point conversion to cut the Jets' lead to three points, Jets receiver Jerricho Cotchery made a 58-yard catch and run to the Patriots' 13-yard line, setting up an eventual 7-yard touchdown strike to Santonio Holmes.
Jets received variety of contributions: No Jets player gained over 100 yards. Nobody had more than five catches. Their four touchdowns came from different players: LaDainian Tomlinson, Braylon Edwards, Holmes, and Shonn Greene.
Feeling the pressure: The Jets sacked Brady five times and hit him a lot while he was throwing. Calvin Pace recorded a strip sack in the third quarter.
What's next: The Jets will play the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, where they won 22-17 in Week 15. The Patriots will clean out their lockers and go on a longer vacation than they wanted.