There was life for the New York Jets, prior to Tom Brady winning every single season.
Time for the New York Jets look back. Normally we take a look at a game from the rivalry between the Jets and their upcoming opponent, like this one from Patriots week. So what do we do during the bye week when the team isn’t playing? We look back at a team the Jets aren’t facing in 2019. See what I did there? Let’s get to it.
The date was December 29, 2002. This was back during the Herman Edwards era, and we can also call it the “PRT”era, which stands for the Pre Reign of Terror era. 2002 was the first year that Tom Brady started every game for New England. The AFC East takeover had not officially taken place yet, so there was room for teams like the Miami Dolphins, and of course our Jets.
Entering the final week of the regular season, the Dolphins had nine wins leading the division, and the Patriots and Jets both had eight. The Jets had an outside chance of winning the division, but they needed help. Miami faced the Patriots earlier in the day, and if the Patriots won, all the Jets would need to do is beat Green Bay and the division was theirs! Tiebreakers make interesting bedfellows don’t they? It’s hard to fathom the idea of actually rooting for the Patriots in order to get a playoff berth.
Well the gods were Jets fans that day, as the Patriots topped the Dolphins 27-24 in OT, setting up the Jets where they needed to be. Win and you’re in. It doesn’t get more straightforward than that.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Jets opened the scoring with a ten play, 84 yard scoring drive that ended with Chad Pennington‘s first of four TD passes on the day, this one to Richie Anderson from a yard out. A 43 yard connection to favorite target Laveranues Coles helped set up the score. After a Ryan Longwell field goal on the ensuing drive, the Jets took the ball again and romped 67 yards on eight plays, and this time Pennington hit Wayne Chrebet from 12 yards out to put the Jets up 14-3. A late touchdown from Brett Favre to Terry Glenn kept it a four point game going into halftime.
That didn’t last very long. The second half belonged to Gang Green.
To start the third quarter, the Jets took the opening drive 60 yards over six plays, capped by a five yard touchdown run by Hall of Famer Curtis Martin to open up a 21-10 lead. Later in the quarter, Santana Moss was the recipient of Pennington’s third touchdown pass and the route was on. The score was 28-10.
In the fourth, Pennington threw his fourth touchdown, his second to Chrebet from 18 yards out and the Jets dominance was clearly stamped on this one. A late score by Lamont Jordan added an exclamation point to a 42-17 final score. The Jets parlayed it into a division title and their first home playoff game since 1998.
What a night for the Jets!
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