Jets Get Lucky Bounce To Keep Division Title Hopes Alive
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.- There is much evidence to indicate this season that the way New York Jets play football every week isn't pretty. They also tend to make life at times difficult for themselves despite a winning campaign.
So surely staring at a possible damaging blow to the playoffs against the Buffalo Bills with 2:06 to go in the fourth quarter, the Jets defense pulled a turnover rabbit out of the hat. Defensive End Shaun Ellis' recovery of a forced fumble from teammate Abram Elam's sack of Buffalo QB JP Losman was returned for 11 yards for a touchdown as the Jets eked out a 31-27 win.
There was a major possibility with just over two minutes remaining that the Jets hopes of winning the AFC East would go up in smoke.
With the Jets down 27-24 and the 78,548 in attendance grumbling, a defeat to the struggling Bills wasn't needed.
Jets coach Eric Mangini made the right defensive call in using Safety Abram Elam to blitz Losman. The Buffalo Bills on the other hand made a curious call passing the ball with RB Marshawn Lynch tearing up the Jets' rush defense for 127 yards total on 21 attempts for an average of 6 yards per carry.
Sometimes you do need a little bit luck and on second and 5 from the Bills' 27-yard line, Losman rolled out to his right and Elam tackled the Bills quarterback from behind. Ellis corralled the loose football, stumbled a bit and danced the sidelines to score the winning touchdown. "He just forced the ball out and I was right there to make the play," Ellis said of the fumble recovery. "We just knew coming into the ballgame that it would be tough and it would come down to the wire."
Ellis, who is just off coming off legal troubles with being arrested for marijuana possession, driving without insurance and breaking the speed limit on December 4, finally had at least some success on the field.
And just the right time to give the Jets at least some hope for breaking their 0-3 jinx so far this season playing in the West Coast this Sunday at Seattle.
"I just kept running and got good blocking and got into the end zone. It saved the game but I don't know about the season," Ellis said. "We go to go to Seattle and play a tough game out there."
The big play saved what would have been a crushing defeat as the Jets remain in a three-way tie for the AFC East Division Crown at 9-5.
The Jets need to rediscover their defensive success which fueled their five game winning streak earlier this season. Though Seattle is 3-11, they have continued to play hard in what is head coach Mike Holmgren's final year with the team.
RB Thomas Jones broke three franchise rushing records against Buffalo. The 15 total touchdowns this season, his 13th rushing score against the Bills, the eighth straight game which he scored a touchdown, sealed his selection to the Pro Bowl.
Others who were selected include Alan Faneca, who will start at guard, RB Leon Washington on special teams and Kris Jenkins will also start on the defensive line.
QB Brett Favre was named for the tenth time as a reserve. CB Darrelle Revis, who is earning a reputation in the NFL as a shutdown corner will be a reserve in his first Pro Bowl selection along with teammate Nick Mangold at center.