This was one frenzied end the NY Jets might consider a pivot point if they end up pulling off a new late-season playoff push.
Mark Sanchez threw a career-high 4 touchdown passes, along with the winning 16-yard score to Santonio Holmes with just over a minute remaining, as the Jets kept pace in the AFC playoff race with a 28-24 comeback superiority over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
“He’s at his best,” coach Rex Ryan announced of his quarterback, “in key moments.”
And, this was certainly one of them. One win down. 5 more to go.
With 1 or 2 Jets players announcing they wished to win each of their last 6 games to get to the postseason, things appeared stark with New York ( 6-5 ) chasing 24-21 after Dave Rayner’s 53-yard field goal and facing a third-and-11 from the Bills Thirty six. But Sanchez connected with Plaxico Burress, who reached up and made a formidable one-handed grab along the left sideline for Eighteen yards and the 1st down. Football odds
“It was crazy,” Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis said of the catch. “He’s 6-foot-5 and he’s got those ‘Go-Go-Gadget ‘ arms. It was probably one of the very best catches I’ve seen in a while.”
Added Sanchez : “I don’t know if words could do it any justice. It was a big-time catch in a crucial situation.”
Sanchez quickly ran a quarterback sneak — just to make sure there wasn’t any challenge, even though replays demonstrated Burress caught it cleanly. On the next play, Sanchez rolled out to his right to buy some breathing space and found Holmes alone in the right corner of the end section to give the NY Jetsthe lead with 1:01 left. Football spreads
“I felt good,” Sanchez expounded of his confidence approaching the winning drive. “We’ve been in that situation before.”
But the Jets then had to conquer an intrepid comeback endeavour by the Bills ( 5-6 ), who’ve lost 4 straight. With Buffalo driving for a winning score, a wide-open Steve Johnson dropped a pass that would have gone for a long gain. Ryan Fitzpatrick also threw behind Johnson at the end zone with 8 seconds left that should have been a 7-point drive.
“It’s hard,” Fitzpatrick expounded. “They scored at the end and we had a legit four opportunities to get it in there at the end sector and unfortunately we were unable to make the plays. It hurts real bad.”
Sanchez wasn’t great in this one, going 17 of 35 for 180 yards and an interception, but came through with the game on the line. It was his eighth Quarter 4 comeback victory in two-plus seasons. He also threw 2 touchdown passes to Dustin Keller and another to Burress as the Jets bounced back from a shrinking loss to Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos Ten days ago.
“Defensively, the one thing we can say is we finished,” Ryan said.
Fitzpatrick was 26 of 39 for 264 yards and three touchdowns, but couldn’t pull out one more in the final analysis. Buffalo played without several wounded starters, including Fred Jackson and George Wilson.
Johnson had one of the Bills ‘ touchdown catches late in the first half and got up and mocked being shot in the thigh, clearly ridiculing Burress who used to serve 20 months in prison for shooting himself in the leg in a club in 2008 while he was with the Giants. Johnson then ran to the left side of the end sector ridiculing the “flight” celebration the Jets often use after scoring and slipped to the ground, getting flagged Fifteen yards for inappropriate party on the play that gave Buffalo a 14-7 lead.
“I was just having fun and part of having a good time ended up being a penalty and a touchdown for the Jets,” Johnson related. “It was a dumb decision by myself.”
Manhattan was going to have good field position, but Rayner flubbed a squibbed kick attempt that hit off the Jets ‘ Emanuel Cook, who recovered the ball at Buffalo’s Thirty six.
The Jets moved to the Fourteen when Buffalo’s Marcell Dareus was hit for a 15-yard penalty for using his helmet to establish contact with Sanchez. Three plays later, Burress caught a 14-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to tie it at Fourteen with 1:03 left in the half. Burress simply bowed to the crowd and ran to the stands and passed the ball to his boy Elijah, as he usually does after scoring receptions.
“I’ve seen worse, and I’ve heard worse,” Burress recounted of Johnson’s party. “So, it doesn’t bother me at all. The result I’m taking a look at is we won the soccer game.”
The Jets ‘ offense started the 3rd quarter with a pleasant drive capped by Keller’s 2nd touchdown catch of the game that gave NY a 21-14 lead with 3:50 remaining in the period.
After the Jets held the Bills to three-and-out late in the 3rd quarter, Buffalo got the ball right back when cornerback Antonio Cromartie — who was returning the punt because Jim Leonhard was a bit banged up — muffed the fair catch and Leodis McKelvin recovered at New York’s Thirty six. McKelvin injured his ribs on the play and left the game.
Fitzpatrick went for a giant play right away, throwing a ball up way down the right sideline to former Jets wide receiver Brad Smith, who seemed to get a hand on it, together with Cromartie, and tapped the ball up, grabbed it out of the air as the defender slid and took off into the end section for a career-best 36-yard touchdown that tied it at Twenty-one with 2:11 remaining in quarter three.