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Thread: Ny Post: Time Running Out To Penn Winning Story

  1. #1
    All League
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Ny Post: Time Running Out To Penn Winning Story

    By Mike Vaccaro

    January 8, 2007 -- FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The afternoon was over, the season gone, the muffled roar of Gillette Stadium bleeding through the walls, into the quiet of the Jets clubhouse, crawling between Chad Pennington's soul and his heart. This is always the worst of it, the end coming in an unexpected rush, no matter what the oddsmakers insist beforehand, or what the scoreboard screams after.

    It hit Pennington right away, this 37-16 loss that threw a sudden period in front of what had been his most satisfying season as a professional, that reminded the football world that no matter how far the Jets have come, there is still an awful lot of distance and space between them and the Patriots. Three touchdowns of space.

    "I'm in this business to win," Pennington said. "That's what's most gratifying to me. That's the only reason I play this game."

    These treks to Foxborough are always the most difficult ones for Pennington, and not simply because of New England's insatiable defense. Everywhere sit reminders of all that he craves, of all he has yet to do: The three Super Bowl banners in one end zone. The standing-room only crowds that exude karma and confidence.

    And the overwhelming sense among the men wearing blue shirts that they always will make the big play, get the back-breaking call, reap huge rewards from a fortuitous bounce or referee's whistle. That's the best part about playing for the Patriots, the most aggravating part about playing against them. Good stuff often happens to and for good teams; it always seems to happen for the Pats.

    "They do so many things well," Pennington would say. "You don't have to do a lot of thinking why they're as good as they are."

    The Jets are a good team, but to beat the Patriots yesterday they had to make the kinds of plays the Patriots routinely make against them. They needed Jonathan Vilma to sack Tom Brady on third down yesterday, during that blissful segment of the game when the Jets had a 10-7 lead, rather than going for the strip sack, missing him entirely, allowing Brady to extend the drive.
    They needed to take the ball away from Mike Nugent's foot, as reliable as it has been, and find a way to convert his three field goals to three touchdowns. At the end of the first half, after brilliant back-to-back stops on first-and-goal from the 1, they needed to keep the Pats out of the end zone. And couldn't.

    And, of course, when the football was rolling around the fake grass just outside the midfield Patriots logo 1:52 from the end of the third quarter in a 20-13 game, someone needed to fall on top of it. And didn't. Vince Wilfork did, and the entire complexion of the game changed in an eye-blink. Pennington had wanted to make one of his copyrighted quick strikes to Jerricho Cotchery. Rosevelt Colvin got his hand in the way. At this precise second, the game was still there to be had. Just pick up the ball.

    "Sometimes you run that play and it's a lateral," Pennington said, shaking his head. "And sometimes you run it and it's a forward pass."

    It was a lateral this time. Soon enough, it was 23-13. Pennington kept trying to drag the Jets back into the game, and the Patriots kept changing the locks on the end zone. Pennington played a fine game - 23 of 40, 300 yards, one 77-yard touchdown pass to Cotchery. But against this team, in this stadium, on this day, he needed to be better than fine.

    And even then, you wonder if it would have been enough.

    "This is sports," Vilma said. "It isn't a fairy tale."

    For 16 games and 17 weeks, it had been just that for Pennington and for the Jets, for the sizable green army that invaded Gillette Stadium and tried to shout their voices against the sweeping New England tide. But in week 18, in game 17, none of that seemed terribly relevant to Pennington.

    He'll be 31 at the end of June, one year older and three championships (at least) poorer than Brady, against whom he always will be measured. Pennington is past the point where he can accept with a smile the idea that there are brighter days ahead, that the Jets have to learn to win before they can actually start to win. He's in his prime. But a quarterback's prime can be a fleeting thing.

    "I'm numb," Pennington said, tugging at a green Jets baseball cap, eyes locked on the final statistics sheet. "Sore and numb."

    It was a fine season for him, and for his team. But one of these years, before it's too late, Pennington and the Jets need a season that's better than fine.

  2. #2
    Hall Of Fame
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    By Mike Vaccaro


    waaaay too harsh on pennington

  3. #3
    All League
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    Dumb article

  4. #4 Legend
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Ouch...whats was the point of writing that now? What a dick.


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