Flip of the coin: Overtime call, patient Favre saved game for Jets
Do you know what the biggest play in the 34-31 Jets-Patriots game overtime thriller was? The coin toss for the overtime. If the Jets would have lost it, there's no way under God's blue sky that I could have seen them winning the contest.
Their defense had been given a chess board to defend, during the Patriots last minute drive to tie it in regulation time. Three-man rush, four across behind that, you play here, you play there, protect your zone at all costs, and if anyone comes into it, take note of the fact without getting too excited about it. Bail out football, scared football, but hey, we won,
Moss always was a weird kind of player, even more so now. He's a front runner, a bully. This goes back to his college days, when he played for Marshall, quarterbacked by
Well, that was Law's role Thursday night, and for 59 minutes and 59 seconds he did just fine, holding Moss to two short catches. Then, with the game on the line, he backed off and let Randy catch the ball in front of him -- granted it was a reaching, leaning masterpiece of a catch -- but it was against a soft corner, and now the game was in OT.
Now let's say the Patriots would have gotten the ball. How do the Jets line up? Obviously, they're out of their prevent now, but into what? Mangini, who deviled the
Even when the Patriots were in multiple wides, and the rush lanes were so inviting, he hung back. Oh, New York would get the occasional sack, thanks to one big play by
The Jets had a 24-13 halftime lead, down from the gaudy 24-6, but it was misleading because New England had been on the field for 40 snaps and had run up 242 yards of offense. People were getting tired for New York. Jenkins, the star of the D-line, had become an infrequent participant, and he hardly appeared in nickel rush situations at all.
They barely stopped New England at all in the second half. One drive ended when the ball just slipped out of tight end
Jets players were feeling the strain. They had now been on the field for 79 snaps, with the prospect of more to come. Their coach had given them a soft prevent defense that didn't work, but now they would be called upon to switch gears and come in hard, and it's a tough thing to cover.
The Jets called tails, and that's what it came up, and we are saving the best for last, and that is the Glorious Twilight of
Not on Thursday night. It was as if a couple of heavies had invaded the Jets' pregame locker and put a knife to his throat and said, "Make one of those throws tonight and you're a dead man."
Everything was careful, well thought out, precise. His reads were not only accurate, they were quick. That's where he had it over young Cassel, who also had a magnificent game...except that it didn't have quite the precision of Favre's effort. When the Patriots had a clean shot at him, he didn't fight it. There was no stiff scramble and desperation heave. He hit the canvas, in the best
The Patriots couldn't double cover everyone. They could stretch their zones only so far. And Favre found the creases, and he locked onto his athletically gifted rookie tight end,
We are not used to seeing Favre work a
He was caught up in the drama of the moment, in the significance of a history that meant nothing to him six months ago. He was part of a classic. Frame it and hang it on the wall, and let's hope that there are more to come. Maybe the Jets will keep it going at unbeaten Tennessee next weekend. If so, then we might be looking at a new star rising on the horizon. If not, if they blew a tire, pushing everything to the max in Foxboro, then...well, it's been a great ride anyway.