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200 Miles From the Citi


September 21, 2009 4:01 AM

MONDAY MORNING IMPRESSIONS: JETS 16, PATRIOTS 9

I don't want to make a huge deal out of this...but I got a game ball on Sunday.

"I think our fans are huge in this victory," said head coach Rex Ryan. "In fact, we're giving a game ball to our fans. It will go up in our trophy case. I thought they were the difference."

It's not the first time I've been given a game ball, incidentally. I remember I was awarded one after the Jets' playoff win over Jacksonville in 1999. I was loud then, too.

But I wasn't alone in this - I did have help. Besides the 70,000+ others screaming for much of the game, there was the Jets' defense. They played pretty well. They still have yet to give up a touchdown on this young season, holding the Patriots to three field goals (and after the Texans scored last week on only a defensive score).

And then there was Tom Brady. I'll delve into this one later in the week, but again he looked terrible, this time without the end-of-game flurry like the ones the Bills handed him last week. And there were times that he had the Jets' defense beat, but threw a terrible pass, and didn't seem on the same page as his receivers.

Sure, I'd like to think it was all me causing the back-to-back delay of game penalties (following a time out, no less), but some of that blame falls on the quarterback. And on this day that QB did not look like a former Super Bowl MVP.

The Jets' rookie quarterback, meanwhile, was able to bounce back from his mistakes. (And I did my part to help the offense by resting my voice while they had the ball...but again, this isn't about me. I was only part of the team, game ball or not.) After a first few possessions that were just terrible (a Sanchez fumble that put the ball inside the 5, a Leon Washington fumble that the Patriots recovered), Sanchez managed to get the Jets 3 points in the second quarter (after some questionable play-calling where the Jets seemed to give up the chance at a TD), and then came out of the gates in the third quarter with a quick, efficient touchdown drive to give the Jets the lead for good.

Sanchez could have easily had a second touchdown but he overthrew a receiver in the end zone...but he managed to limit the mistakes and help the Jets hold the lead.

In the end, as Rex Ryan said, the Jets were the better team on this day. They're starting to look like they might just be a better team than most this year. Again, we'll have a better idea when the Jets take on the Titans at home next week.

I just hope they can manage without me there.

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