You could feel it all the way up in the Giants Stadium press box. Some fans had already left, and the ones still there had to have their elbows on their knees with their chins in their hands. It was that kind of day for the Jets. Despite a game-opening scoring drive that spanned 72 yards in 3:09, the Jets were back on their heels after some three-and-outs in which Brett Favre couldn’t make magic.
The mood was sepulchral, like someone just crapped in everyone’s cereal at The Meadowlands, save for some NY Metro Bills fans that were hoopin’ it up. The radio guy that reads from a script every 30 minutes for the “15 and 45 updates” turned his voice on, and out of his mouth came the words that have been thrown around this season just as much as ‘Division Champs’ and ‘Super Bowl.’
You know what I mean… The three words that are just so hackneyed: ‘Same old Jets.’
He continued on his sports information-packed rant, but before he could explain his unbiased self to whoever was listening, it happened. Christmas came early for the Jets, and something gave. Call it luck if you must-and you have to get lucky every now and then-but Gang Green caught the break it had needed all year.
Under pressure from a blitzing Abram Elam, Bills quarterback JP Losman was sacked and coughed up the ball, which Shaun Ellis picked up and took 11 yards to the crib to give the Jets the lead 31-27 with just under two minutes to play. Two INTs later-Darrelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes-and the Bills are the same old Bills, while New York controls its destiny with two games to play.
Ellis brushed off the questions about what this meant given his rough couple of weeks, and he was genuine about it. He’s put it behind him, and we all need to do the same. I will say though that this play is big for him, regardless of how he’s handled his off-field troubles.
It certainly did wonders for the crowd, and there was jubilation in the press box as well. Fireman Ed’s head nearly exploded as he striked up the ‘J-E-T-S’ chant, and on SNY’s Fan Appreciation Day, well, the post-tailgate hangovers had to have felt a little better this past Sunday afternoon.
A diehard Bills fan friend of mine called me before the game and jokingly asked what I thought about a 0-0 tie. I laughed, telling him I didn’t think either team’s defense was good enough for that, which turned out to be true. But I’m certainly not surprised by that, not like I am with the Bills’ decision to pass the ball on 2nd-and-5 so close to the two-minute warning and the most important thing in hand-the lead.
Dick Jauron needs to go, and he may have just sealed his fate with that call. After a strong start, the Bills have flat-lined as they’ve dropped seven of their last eight games dating back to Ocober 26. Think you’ve had it hard Jets fans? Try losing all four Super Bowls your team has ever played in.
There is an ESPN Commercial with stunned Bills fans living in a horrible cartoon world when suddenly, to save the game a botched play is returned for a touchdown, and the sun comes up and all is well until it’s called back, and suddenly a car smashes into a fire hydrant, the sun instantly goes back down, and everything is back to normal in Bills world.
It’s funny, and it’s funny because it’s funny and true, but after all the misery it makes you feel at least a little bad. Just a little? OK, so Jets fans probably don’t feel sorry for Buffalo, but in a year of the resurgent team-Atlanta, Miami, Carolina, Tennessee-Buffalo has to feel left out and reeling as another disappointing season comes to an end.
Meanwhile last year’s 4-12 Jets are 9-5 and thinking playoffs with two games to play. Hey, it’s the NFL. Seattle hosted a playoff game last year. Now they’re 3-11. The Jets radio broadcaster said it best as Shaun Ellis scored… “Are you kidding me?”