Monday, January 24, 2011
AFC Title Game- A Tale of Two Halves
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Mark Sanchez played valiantly in the second half, dusting himself off after a nightmarish opening stanza. The man they call the Sanchise finished the game completing 20 of 33 passes for 233 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Trailing 24-3, with 12:20 remaining in the third quarter, the Jets faced a third and four from the Steelers 45 yard-line. Sanchez dropped back, faked a hand off to half back LaDanian Tomlinson and unleashed a bomb to a wide open Santonio Holmes who cradled the ball against his chest for the score. The touchdown spurred New York on to 19 unanswered points as they nearly completed the greatest comeback in title game history. Despite the Steelers making the Jets offense one dimensional, Mark Sanchez showcased his big-game prowess playing with poise and confidence against arguably the NFL's best defense.
Rashard Mendehall gouged the Jets run defense stepping through tackles and shedding would-be defenders. New York had no answer for the Steelers’ ground and pound game as Pittsburgh took the fight to New York and dominated the line of scrimmage. Inexplicably Gang Green came out flat playing tentatively on both sides of the football culminating in a 21 point first half deficit. Brian Schottenheimer’s play calling was perplexing setting the Jets up with third and long yardage scenarios time and time again. A woeful first half proved too much for the Jets to overcome as their second half rally fell a final scoring drive short of securing a Super Bowl berth. Somebody should have told Gang Green the game started at 6:00PM and not at 8:00PM.
The Jets have not scored an opening quarter offensive touchdown since Week 4 of the regular season against the Buffalo Bills.
"We played a good half. We never played a good game, and that was the difference," said head coach Rex Ryan. "You get to this point, you've got to play a great game against a great opponent and we played a good half and that was it."
Sunday’s AFC title game was a tale of two halves, with the first miserable and the latter magnificent. The Jets came out on the short end of a 24-19 decision. Ben Roelisberger beat the Jets, not with his arm, but with his legs; running on several third a long plays to extend drives. Two years running the Jets have been on the doorstep of a Super Bowl berth only to have their dreams fall one game shy. The Jets faithful can take solace in the fact that Rex Ryan is a resilient leader and he along with the general manger Mike Tannenbaum will do everything in their power to get the Jets over the hump. For Gang Green, it’s signora until the 2011 regular season, unless of course Rex and the boys are up for an encore of HBO’s hard knocks!