Sunday, January 30, 2005

We hire a new QB coach.

The Jets have hired Tampa Bay assistant quarterback coach Jeremy Bates to become the team's quarterback coach.

Bates spent last week in Mobile helping coach the South's quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl. He received an the job offer from the Jets while down there.

Bates is the son of Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Jim Bates. He replaces Paul Hackett as the Jets quarterback coach. Hackett, served a duel role of offensive coordinator and quarterback coach last season with the Jets. Hackett signed last week to coach the Tampa Bay quarterbacks.
I guess you could say it was a trade between Tampa and our team. However, we will just have to wait and see what kind of effect he has on Pennington next year. GO JETS!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Hard loss to the Steelers, crushes Superbowl hopes.

The Pittsburgh Steelers' greatest season since the 1970s was all but lost, Ben Roethlisberger's unbeaten rookie streak seemed to be over. Then Doug Brien missed the biggest kick he'll likely ever try.


Jeff Reed did what Brien couldn't do -- make a game-winning field goal -- and the Steelers somehow beat the New York Jets 20-17 Saturday in a remarkable overtime playoff game filled with wild swings in momentum and emotion.

Roethlisberger overcame two huge interceptions -- one for a touchdown and another that appeared to doom the Steelers late in the fourth quarter -- to lead a decisive drive that began at their own 13 and sent Pittsburgh to next Sunday's AFC championship game at home against New England or Indianapolis.

Reed's 33-yarder with just more than 12 minutes gone in overtime won it and was his 19th successful conversion in a row, tying Gary Anderson's team record.

The loss will go down as one of the most excruciating in the Jets' star-crossed history. Brien's twin misses were doubly stunning disappointments for a gutty team on the verge of its biggest upset since Broadway Joe's guaranteed win over the Colts in the January 1969 Super Bowl.

``I've never seen anything like it,'' Steelers linebacker Larry Foote said. ``I'm not going to say it was a miracle, because that's crippled people getting up and walking, the blind seeing. But that's the closest thing to it I've ever seen.''

Steelers center Jeff Hartings felt much the same way, saying, ``God gave us another chance.''

Brien's 47-yarder with 1:58 remaining hit the goal post, but Roethlisberger gave the Jets the ball right back when his off-line throw was intercepted by David Barrett -- just the kind of mistake rookie quarterbacks are supposed to make in the playoffs, but Big Ben had rarely made during his 13-0 rookie season. The Jets then drove cautiously from the Steelers 37 to the 25, giving Brien a 43-yarder to win it on the final play of regulation.

But the kick sailed far to the left, not even close, and the given-a-reprieve Steelers danced joyously on their sidelines -- Roethlisberger right in the middle.

``I tried to hit it a little harder because I was real surprised I didn't have the distance,'' Brien said, referring to the 47-yarder. ``The second one I missed. The first one didn't go in.''

Brien's 28-yard kick in overtime beat San Diego last week -- yes, by the same 20-17 score -- and he hit a 42-yard FG to halt Pittsburgh's early momentum and make it 10-3 Pittsburgh early in the second quarter. He was 24-of-29 during the season.

``I had confidence in him, he made the one last week and I thought he could make it,'' Jets coach Herman Edwards said. ``We were kind of in a spot, there was nothing else we could really do, we had to kick the field goal. He's been a good kicker for us. It was just a tough day.''

The Jets became the first NFL team to play three consecutive overtime games, including their regular-season ending loss in St. Louis. They dropped to 0-7 in Pittsburgh and 2-16 all-time against the Steelers.

The Steelers are 1-3 in AFC title games under coach Bill Cowher, losing all three at home as big favorites, but linebacker Joey Porter senses this season will be different -- and not just because they have won a team-record 15 in a row. They were only the fourth NFL team in 26 years to go 15-1 during the regular season.

The Steelers won four Super Bowls in six seasons from 1974-79, but they have returned only once since, losing to Dallas after the '95 season.

``After what we went through today, I think it's our time,'' Porter said. ``The way these circumstances played out, it's our time.''

The Jets will wonder for years why they're not going to the AFC title game.

``This is about as frustrated as I've ever been in my career,'' said NFL rushing champion Curtis Martin, who was outrushed by Jerome Bettis 101-77 in a matchup of two of the NFL's top five career rushers. ``Right now I feel there is no end to my anger. ... We left our hearts out there today.''

And they left with a loss that might take more than an offseason to forget.

``I just feel bad for the team. I'll be fine,'' Brien said. ``I just feel bad for the guys that played so well, played so hard and came up short.''

The Jets turned two long touchdown returns, Santana Moss' 75-yard punt return and Reggie Tongue's 86-yard interception, into 17 consecutive points and a 17-10 lead in the fourth quarter that stunned nearly everyone in a jammed Heinz Field except the Jets.

After the Jets' 17-6 loss there Dec. 12, defensive lineman Shaun Ellis predicted they would win if they returned to Pittsburgh in the playoffs. Last week, it didn't appear anyone in the Steelers' locker room took him seriously.

When Bettis fumbled at the Jets 24 early in the fourth quarter -- his first fumble in 353 carries or receptions this season -- Ellis' confidence was looking like more than empty talk. Shades of Broadway Joe Namath?

But Roethlisberger then directed two pivotal scoring drives, just as he did last month against the Jets, with the first ending on his 4-yard scoring flip to Hines Ward. Roethlisberger finished 17-of-30 for 181 yards and two touchdowns.

``I did everything I could to lose the game,'' Roethlisberger said. ``I've got to play better. That was terrible. The game we played today is not going to cut it.''

Roethlisberger is only the fourth rookie to win his first playoff start since the 1970 NFL merger -- two others had prior pro experience in different leagues -- and he said he wasn't nervous.

``Maybe I should have been. I came out calm and relaxed and took it like a regular game,'' he said. ``Maybe next week I need to be a little more stressed.''

The Steelers, who haven't lost a divisional playoff game in seven tries under Cowher since 1993 and are 9-0 at home this season, surged to the 10-0 lead in the first quarter after Troy Polamalu's interception of Chad Pennington's pass. Bettis powered in from the 3 on the fifth play of the 25-yard drive following Roethlisberger's 9-yard completion to Ward.

Reed had given Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead with a 45-yard field goal.

The Jets appeared to be in big trouble, down 10-0. They scored only six points in each of their last two games against the Steelers and hadn't scored more than 10 points against them since 1988.

Pennington, whose arm strength and decision-making were questioned following his three-interception performance in Pittsburgh on Dec. 12, went 21-of-33 for 182 yards and an interception against the NFL's top-ranked defense.

Moss' 75-yard dash down the sideline was the first punt return for a touchdown in Jets playoff history and was a big jolt to the Steelers' normally strong special teams, which allowed only one punt return longer than 10 yards in their last 11 games.
Doug Brien seemed to have let the pressure get to his head. It was a extremely disappointing end to a good season. Chad Pennington did his part to overcome the Steelers, however, Doug Brien did not. Pennington played to the best of his ability, but ended up coming up short. Lets stay healthy, and make another run for it next year. GO JETS!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Great game, Great outcome!

Just imagine. On Saturday night there was a crucial mistake committed by a Jet in a playoff game that won't live in infamy as another sad "Same Old Jets" turning-point moment.

Just imagine. On Saturday night there was a crucial mistake committed by a Jet in a playoff game that won't live in infamy as another sad "Same Old Jets" turning-point moment. Eric Barton's late hit on San Diego Chargers quarterback Drew Brees with less than 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter might only inspire a handful of angry calls to New York's sports radio stations this coming week.

Barton's ill-advised play will certainly not be remembered in the same breath as Mark Gastineau's game-turning late hit on Bernie Kosar in the Jets' ill-fated playoff game at Cleveland in January of 1987.

That's because Barton's boo-boo was redeemed by Doug Brien's 28-yard field goal with 0:05 remaining in overtime that pushed the Jets to a 20-17 Wild Card playoff victory over the favored host Chargers and a date next weekend on the road against the New England Patriots or Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I needed guys to dig me out of this and they did," Barton said afterwards, obviously relieved by Brien's heroics.

The Jets' victory, you see, was one of second chances.

Gang Green's defense had already begun a victory celebration when Brees' fourth down pass fell incomplete in their end zone with 24 seconds left in regulation and the Jets leading 17-10. But the Jets defenders didn't see that Barton, pressuring Brees on a blitz, had clubbed the quarterback on the helmet with his right hand after the pass was thrown.

The penalty gave the Chargers new life that Brees converted into a game-tying 1-yard TD pass to tight end Antonio Gates and leading to the overtime period.

Then the football gods turned their collective backs on the Chargers. On the host's second possession of OT, rookie kicker Nate Kaeding was wide right on a potential game-winning 40-yard field goal attempt.

Jets quarterback Chad Pennington drove his team downfield to set up Brien's game-winner, completing an 18-yard pass to Santana Moss and a 12-yarder to Justin McCareins. Reserve running back LaMont Jordan broke loose on a 19-yard run to put Brien in range.

After concluding the regular season with only two touchdown drives in two games, Pennington threw a pair of touchdown passes, including a season-long 47-yarder to Moss. He finished the night completing 23 of 33 for 279 yards.

Brien had a particularly bizarre evening, missing a 33-yard field goal on the Jets first drive of the night, barely making an extra point, and converting a 42-yarder in the third quarter that hit the right upright before bouncing on and over the crossbar. The field goal gave Gang Green a 17-7 lead.

The Jets also dodged bullets on consecutive plays in the third quarter - administrative miscues, if you will -- that saw them line up only 10 men on defense on two consecutive plays. San Diego, however, failed to capitalize on the mismatch.

And, aside from Barton's late hit, the only other major lapse in poise occurred on the Jets sideline, when head coach Herman Edwards and running backs coach Bishop Harris had to be separated by fullback Jerald Sowell after the duo became engaged in a heated second-half discussion.

"It was a family dispute," said Edwards after the game.

And now the Jets family is on to the second round of the playoffs.

Chad Pennington never ceases to amaze me. He has come through many times this season, this game is not any different. Curtis Martin also played a fantastic game. He had 153 yards, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. With those 2 leading our offense, I believe that we will can make it all the way this year. Even though I love games like Saturdays game, I would really prefer to not have us in a game winning field goal situtation. But all it comes down to is who has more points on the board, and as long its the Jets I will be fine. Keep up the good work Jets and we will be in the Super Bowl in no time at all.