(Long Island, N.Y.) You know that things are going your way when your quarterback has his worst game of the season and the team still steals a win, on the road no less. With the Jets riding a four-game winning streak and Mark Sanchez having thrown zero interceptions thus far, the New York Jets headed into Denver last Sunday looking to maintain the top spot in the AFC East.
The ominous start by Sanchez – including a pick on only his third pass of the game – set the tone for the first 58 minutes of the contest. The Broncos failed to take advantage of a second INT and a number of near-interceptions, allowing the Jets to mount a comeback and walk out of the stadium with a 24-20 improbable win.
“We made a ton of mistakes on a short week, a tough place to play and all that kind of stuff, yet we never gave up,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “We just thought it was our day, anyway. I think that’s the big thing, the type of mentality that we have. The biggest thing that I see is the confidence that we have in each other, but also how hard we play.
“We made a bunch of mistakes, but we were all out,” he continued. “Our guys, they sold out for each other, and that’s the way the New York Jets play. I think that’s why we ended up winning the game.”
It came down to a 40-plus yard pass interference penalty with under two minutes remaining, to be more exact. The Jets had been getting the short end of the stick all day long with questionable calls but the officials made the right decision by throwing the yellow flag on a desperation heave by Sanchez to wide receiver Santonio Holmes at the two-yard line. Running back LaDanian Tomlinson scored his second touchdown on the day the very next play to finish off the Broncos and send the Jets home happy.
With a league-best 5-1 record, the Jets head into their bye week with whispers of being the top team in the NFL. Sure, there is a long way to go, but Ryan is enjoying the moment. “5-1 is good enough to be in first place, and have the best record in football, so absolutely, it’s hard to say that we’re not the best team in the league,” the second-year coach said. “I still think we’re at a certain level right now where our record says we’re the best team in the league, but I think this team can really improve and really improve in all aspects.”
Getting an extra week of rest for Darrelle Revis and Calvin Pace will definitely result in more improvements as a team and that can only bode well for the Jets and their fans. For a team that went all the way to the AFC Championship Game a year ago, they have made it perfectly clear that anything less than a Super Bowl championship would be a disappointment.
“We’re on a mission,” concluded Ryan. “We know what we want to accomplish as a football team and we’re doing everything in our power to get better each week.”