INDIANAPOLIS – They say revenge is a dish best served cold. Luckily for Rex Ryan, Nick Folk had ice running through his veins when he kicked a 32-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. The Jets won in the final seconds, 17-16, against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Field Saturday night.
On a personal note, Ryan finally beat Peyton Manning and the Colts, sending them packing in their own home in Must-See-TV fashion. The only way Ryan knows how.
“We’ve been in some close ones this year, but to come out and pull this game out against a great football team, against a great quarterback, it was a Herculean effort,” a relieved Ryan said. “I mean really, I’m just thankful for the men I coach. Thankful for the two backs we got, that pounded it in there. Thankful for that coaching staff. Thankful for Nick Folk, and I’m thankful that I finally got to beat Peyton Manning.”
The Jets (12-5) may have gotten one monkey off their back in defeating the Colts, but the silverback gorilla lies ahead. They will face the top-seeded New England Patriots on the road in the divisional round on Sunday.
The Colts (10-7) lose in the first round of the playoffs despite winning their last four games to win the AFC South. For Manning, who has orchestrated 35 fourth-quarter comebacks and 46 game-winning drives, his final drive of the 2010 season would be neither.
“It’s certainly disappointing tonight and that’s really all you think about tonight,” Manning said. “It’s disappointing with the way we lost tonight. Any time you lose on a last-second field goal, it certainly stings.”
Despite getting his team in place for Adam Vinatieri’s 50-yard go-ahead field goal with 53 seconds remaining, Manning was forced to watch Mark Sanchez do his best Manning impersonation.
“We’ve got to tip our hat to our offense,” Ryan said after the game. “I mean, we totally dominated the second half offensively. On defense, we had to hold serve. Against Peyton, you’re not going to stop him completely, but our guys played well enough to get it done and keep him out of the end zone. Our offense was just spectacular.”
Sanchez’s comeback drive was made possible by the fleet-footed Antonio Cromartie. Following Vinatieri’s kick, Cromartie took the ensuing kick-off 45 yards at their own 46-yard line. From there Sanchez would only need five plays to get the Jets within Folk’s range.
Manning had a solid performance, despite the loss, throwing for 225 yards and touchdown while getting his team in position for the win. His only mistake may have been giving the Jets too much time to return the favor.
“We were certainly trying to pick up that first down at the end, we thought that would make them use some of their timeouts and we could run the clock down,” Manning said. “But we didn’t pick up the first down and had to settle for the field goal.”
Braylon Edwards (4 rec, 62 yards) showed up in a big way on the final drive, catching two first-down balls, one being an 18-yard completion to the right side that brought the ball down the Colts 14-yard line.
That allowed Folk to attempt the game-winning kick. Folk has had his ups-and-downs during the season, but has never shied away from a kick.
Manning hit Pierre Garcon, who burned the Jets in the AFC Championship game last year, for a 57-yard touchdown pass that accounted for the only score of the first half. Garcon had a big day, pulling down five receptions for 112 yards and one score.
Tomlinson, the team’s inspirational leader, said “it was emotional, exciting and all those things at once. We knew it was going to be a dogfight against a great team.”
For the Jet’s sake, be hopefully the didn’t drain themselves of all those things before they face the Patriots next Sunday.
- Rex Ryan has earned his third postseason victory. His .750 (3-1) winning percentage in the playoffs is the best among all Jets coaches.
- With today’s 17-16 win, the Jets are now 6-5 in Wild Card games, winning four of the last five contests.
- QB Mark Sanchez has won three postseason games in his first two seasons in the NFL. The three wins are the most by a Jets QB in the postseason.
- The Jets opened the second half with a 10-play, 63-yard touchdown drive. On the drive, the Jets rushed eight times for 43 yards and a touchdown. The drive was capped by a one-yard touchdown run by RB LaDanian Tomlinson.
- The Jets recorded their longest scoring drive of the season in both plays (17) and time (9:54) on their second scoring drive. The drive traveled 87 yards and was capped by another Tomlinson one-yard score. The touchdown is the sixth postseason score of his career.
- The Jets running game, led by Tomlinson (16-82-2), recorded 157 yards on 33 carries and two touchdowns. Tomlinson collected his second most rushing yards and tied his record for touchdowns in a playoff game.
- Tomlinson’s 23-yard run on the first Jets offensive series is the longest postseason run of his career.
- In four postseason games under Rex Ryan, the Jets have averaged 149 rushing yards and 37 carries. The Jets have also gone for two scores in three of the clubs four postseason games under Ryan.
- The Jets defense held the Colts to 93 rushing yards.
- S Eric Smith led the team with 10 tackles, the most he has had in the postseason, and two passes defensed.
- LB Jason Taylor recorded the first postseason sack of his career when he tagged down Colts QB Peyton Manning for a six-yard loss. It is the Jets 11th consecutive postseason game with a sack. The streak started in the club’s 1998 AFC Championship Game when they recorded three.
- During the second half, the Jets possessed the ball for 18:00 minutes and 33:07 for the game.
- K Nick Folk connected on the game-winning 32-yard field goal with no time remaining. His game-winning kick was the first by a Jets kicker in the last two minutes of regulation or overtime since Doug Brian connected on a 28-yard field goal in San Diego (1/8/05).
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