"Why not us?" "We are going to visit the White House as the championship guest of Barack Obama." In the world of Jeopardy, the appropriate answer would be "things Rex Ryan said prior to the start of the playoffs".
Did he really believe these things or was it psychological warfare being waged not only on his players but his opponents as well? Whatever the answer, it is working and his players have bought in and are playing like they believe him. Their opposition may have as well.
Ryan seems to be a players' coach. Knowing what he has and motivating them to get the most out of them. Yesterday was no different. I have to admit, I was expecting a much different outcome yesterday but the Jets, and their defense, has me believing the Jets do have a chance. And it is the defense that will have to lead them there. With one explosion by Shonn Green the Jets all but sealed the game with just over seven minutes left. The big play on that drive was the completion by Mark Sanchez on 3rd and 4 to Jericho Cotchery for seven yards and the first down.
I remember turning to my brother in law on the couch and telling him that the Jets are playing too conservative and they need to put together a sustained drive and put points on the board. That kept the drive alive and kept the ball away from the dangerous Philip Rivers and the high powered Charger offense that seemed to take the day off. Or did they? In the first half the Jets applied a lot of pressure but just couldn't seem to get to Rivers. That would come in the second half forcing him into two interceptions. A very big feat considering he only threw nine interceptions for the entire season. How much pressure did that put on Nate Kaeding who never missed three field goals in a game until yesterday?
A big win for the Jets, no question. After the game Rex Ryan said that Mark Sanchez is no longer a rookie but he is now a football player. Although I have climbed aboard the Jet, can Mark Sanchez lead them all the way? Completing 12 of 23 passes for 100 yards is adequate but what do you do at the end of the game? How many games come down to the two minute drill? Can Sanchez lead his team down the field and make accurate throws to the sidelines to stop the clock? I think that Rex Ryan has given Sanchez a great game plan for a first year quarterback. Can the Jets be that conservative and pull a game out in the last seconds? He did show some poise finding Dustin Keller in the end zone to take the lead early in the fourth quarter. It has been fun watching him mature as a quarterback during the season, now lets see if he can lead his team to the super bow.
We'll see next week. The Jets have a lot to prove. They want to show the football world that they can beat the Colts with their starters playing the entire game. If the defense has their way and can put Peyton Manning on his back a few times early, they may be on their way. Tune in Sunday. Until then, let's see what Rex Ryan can say to motivate his troops.