FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Shonn Greene placed the ball on the ground and used it as a pillow, resting his head on it after scoring the Jets’ final touchdown of a stunning upset.
A quiet climax to a very loud week of non-stop jabbering, poking, berating, and then some, mostly by the New Yorkers.
On Sunday, they proved that they weren’t all talk – trash talk – after all.
Now Rex Ryan’s rowdy bunch is headed to its second straight AFC championship game after New York backed up its coach’s boasts with a 28-21 win Sunday over the New England Patriots.
Mark Sanchez threw three touchdown passes and the Jets sacked Tom Brady five times in the most-hyped of the weekend’s four postseason games following a week of verbal potshots from both teams.
“Maybe everybody else never believed, but we believed,” Ryan said. “Same old Jets, back to the AFC championship. The only difference is this time we plan on winning.”
The Jets, who lost that game to Indianapolis last year, will try to win their third straight postseason game on the road, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, next Sunday.
Late in Sunday’s game, Ryan was true to his exuberant self. He ran down the sideline and celebrated with his players after Greene’s 16-yard score with 1:41 left. And, when the game was over, Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards did a backflip.
“We don’t care what people say or whether they like us,” cornerback Darrelle Revis said. “We just focus on what we need to do to win games.”
New York led its fierce rival 14-3 at halftime before Brady’s 2-yard TD pass to Alge Crumpler and Sammy Morris’ run for a 2-point conversion made it 14-11 late in the third quarter. But Sanchez came right back with a 7-yard TD pass to Santonio Holmes and New York finished the upset with Greene’s TD.
The Jets (13-5) kept Ryan’s prediction of a Super Bowl appearance alive. The Patriots (14-3) lost their third straight postseason game.
New York has a chance for its first Super Bowl berth since 1969 when another loudmouth, Joe Namath, backed up his guarantee with a 16-7 win over the Baltimore Colts.
Ryan has said many times that the Jets are a Super Bowl-caliber team, and has irritated fans, opposing players and media with his bold remarks. Last week he said the game was a contest between him and Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Then, after Antonio Cromartie called Brady an expletive on Tuesday, Ryan said he wouldn’t punish his cornerback.
The ultra-serious Belichick wasn’t as kind to Wes Welker.
The wide receiver was benched for the Patriots first series for subtle remarks apparently directed at Ryan.
Sanchez completed 16 of 25 passes for 194 yards and TDs to LaDainian Tomlinson, Edwards and Holmes. Brady, who played poorly for his second straight postseason game, was 29 for 45 for 299 yards, two TDs and one interception.