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Payback, Then Playoffs

By Christopher Falvo
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
December 30th, 2004
Team leaders Curtis Martin and Chad Pennington are confident they will have the Jets ready for a big win on Sunday. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Team leaders Curtis Martin and Chad Pennington are confident they will have the Jets ready for a big win on Sunday. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
HEMPSTEAD, NY - Have confidence Jets fans. We all know the adage that history repeats itself, and that history is not on the Jets side. But just remember every dog has its day.

While the twelfth month of the year annually floods Dr. Kevorkian's voice mail with messages from agitated Jets fans hopelessly searching for a way out, this year there is reason for optimism.

You may be asking yourself what optimism can be derived from last weeks 23-7 drubbing received from the New England Patriots. This is not optimism of a Super Bowl run, it's the reality that the Jets will lay the hammer down on Mike Martz and the beleaguered St. Louis Rams.

The Jets have shown tremendous ability to bounce back from disheartening losses this season. Coming off losses to the Pats and the Steelers the Jets have simply dismantled their next opponents, Miami, 41-14, and Seattle, 37-14. The Jets defense has successfully rebounded from every sub par performance to simply dominate their next opponent. Following losses the defense has allowed an average of 13.75 points per game. The one time they allowed more than 14 points following a loss was the complete and total disaster against Baltimore, in which they relinquished 20.

The Jets have also only lost two in a row once this season and are 7-0 in games versus teams with a losing record. St. Louis is 7-8.

On the offensive side, the Jets have returned to their dominating style of running the ball after losses. Curtis Martin has averaged 114-yards per game in contests following a loss, and the offense has averaged 39 points per game, when Chad Pennington is at the helm, following a loss. The Jets have also beaten this season's NFC opponents by a combined score of 72-31.

The Jets also have revenge on their side. Remember the last time these two teams met, in 2000 at Giant Stadium? Mike Martz made some suspect coaching decisions, as he seemingly was rubbing defeat in New York's face. With a 31-7 third quarter lead Martz ordered an onside kick. Following a failed fumble review, requested by Martz with five minutes left in the game, he then allowed quarterback Kurt Warner to go up to the stands and sign autographs.

"Classless," said Jets center Kevin Mawae. "I mean what was some of that stuff about anyway?"

You can be sure Mawae and the other Jets players that were here in 2000 will remember very clearly what Martz and Co. did on the Jetsí home turf and will be looking for payback.

The key to this game for both teams will be which so-called offensive guru will outsmart himself first, Martz of Jets offensive coordinator Paul Hackett. Martz has been known to abandon the run at times to try to rekindle some the Rams offensive explosion from their Super Bowl runs. Hackett on the other hand is the master of the 3rd and 12 draw play.

Must win does not do this game justice, if your a Jets fan. New York must take what they have learned from their dismantling at the hands of the Pats and educate the Rams on how the AFC plays football. There is no reason for the Jets to not trample this team, which lacks any identity. This Jets team should possess enough motivation and incentive to last a lifetime.

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