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Reminiscing About Climbs to the Summit

Posted by Randy Lange on November 13, 2008 – 9:43 am

For my early Radar entry as I sit in my hotel room five floors above the Thursday morning street noise of downtown Providence, R.I., I thought I’d recall some instances in the past decade that compare to where the Jets will be sitting tonight — one win over New England away from sole possession of first place.

It’s been a while since the Green & White have had this opportunity this late in the season, say from October on. But for a while it was happening almost once a year.

In 1998, the Jets headed south to play the Dolphins on a Sunday night. Both teams had 9-4 records. First place in the East and the looming prospect of a first-round playoff bye were at stake. And the Jets had the fourth-quarter lead, 14-10. But at the two-minute warning in Miami territory, Dan Marino had the ball in his hands.

And then he didn’t. Nose tackle Ernie Logan penetrated and strip-sacked Marino, and nickel LB Chad Cascadden picked up the loose ball and went 23 yards for the only touchdown of his career. That made it 21-10 with 1:51 to play.

The Dolphins’ TD with three seconds left closed it to 21-16 but didn’t change the fact that the Jets were alone at the top, a position they held the rest of the regular season and into their bye.

Two years later, the 2000 Jets had a shot at first place, capitalized but couldn’t hold the catbird’s seat. That game, needless to say, was the Monday Night Miracle.

Fans were going to bed grumpy and pressbox writers were putting the finishing touches on their eulogies as the 5-1 Jets had fallen behind the 5-1 Dolphins, 30-7, late in the third quarter at the Meadowlands.

Then came the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in NFL history as Vinny Testaverde threw touchdown passes to four different receivers, the last to "tight end" Jumbo Elliott, with 42 seconds left in regulation, and John Hall kicked two field goals, the second coming 6:47 into overtime, at about 1:15 in the morning, to nail down the 40-37 thriller.

A shame those Jets went 3-6 the rest of the way and missed the postseason.

In 2001 it was back to Miami as the 6-3 Jets were attempting to climb past the 6-2 Dolphins. And they did, 24-0, as Aaron Glenn and Victor Green took interceptions to the house.

The final game of the 2002 season was a little different, since the 8-7 Jets weren’t playing the 9-6 Dolphins; the 8-7 Patriots were. And when the Pats came back to beat the Dolphins in overtime, suddenly the Jets were staring at the prospect of beating the 12-3 Packers — yes, Brett Favre’s Pack — to win the AFC East and a playoff berth.

The Jets didn’t blink. They crushed Green Bay, 42-17, with the aid of four Chad Pennington touchdown passes, then moved on to blank Peyton Manning and the Colts in the AFC Wild Card Game the next weekend.

Finally came 2004 and the showdown between the Jets and Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The rivals had traveled through the first six weeks of the season in lockstep and now the two 5-0 teams were meeting to determine early division supremacy. It was a tightly played game that wound up, after a scoreless second half, in the Pats’ favor, 13-7.

Playing an opponent for the division lead is something like a solar eclipse — it doesn’t occur every year. For the Jets, it wasn’t going to happen in ’05 and ’07, and in other seasons there can be three-way ties to prevent a clear takeover of first place with one victory, or a so-so start by, for example, the ’06 Jets that prevented them getting a chance to claim first.

But this year is one of those years. Is it an eclipse year, as in can the Green & White block out the long run of success by the Red, White & Blue Patriots? Who will be the stars in this primetime battle for the top? And if the Jets get to the pinnacle this week, can they hold?

All questions to be answered in 12 hours or so.

O-Line of Distinction

The Jets’ offensive line and other blockers should get one more accolade for the job they did against St. Louis on Sunday. Consider that the Jets’ running game gained 206 yards while the pass protection didn’t allow the Rams to sack Brett Favre once.

That’s what I call a "Sackless 200" game — 200-plus rushing yards, no sacks.

It’s a high achievement for an O-line, assuming a victory comes along with it, but that’s usually the case. It was the Jets’ 17th sackless 200 since 1964, and their record in those games is 16-1.

But it had been a while between such performances recently. Before Sunday, the last sackless 200 came in Week 15 of the 2004 season, when Curtis Martin led a 229-yard ground attack, Chad Pennington went unsacked, and the Jets bagged the Seahawks, 37-14.

Then before that you’d have to go back to 1998, when the Jets turned the trick twice at home, vs. Indianapolis in Week 3 and Carolina in Week 13, with Martin running and Vinny Testaverde clean in the pocket.


The Jets have been first-and-great on fourth down. They have attempted to go for it on fourth down nine times this season and have converted eight of those chances for an 88.9 percent success rate that is the best in the NFL.

Of those nine plays, seven have been Brett Favre passes. He has completed six of them, to five different players, all for first downs, for 111 yards and three touchdowns. That calculates to a 158.3 passer rating — the coveted "perfect" rating.

On the two runs, Thomas Jones converted a fourth-and-1, and Favre kept to convert another fourth-and-1.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 44 Comments »

44 Responses to “Reminiscing About Climbs to the Summit”

  1. By Ken on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    The JETS have to STOP the PATS screen plays. And the JETS have run some Screen plays of their own. Offensively for the JETS it is about the OFFENSIVE LINE & WRs **(BLOCKING)** for the RUN game. & PLAY ACTION for FARVE from under the CENTER, not from the SHOT GUN! You can’t PLAY ACTION from the Shot Gun!

  2. By Jeremy on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Ken, you know what you’re talking about. Every year the Pats kill us w/ screens and short crossing routes-Welker & RB’s! If the JETS can stop those and run the ball effectively and win the TO batlle-this game should be won and done! Run the Ball 30 times and use the Play/Run Action to get Keller up the middle and JC & LC the ball. I have a weird feeling that Leon might take a KR to the house!

  3. By Sam on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    PATS have NO TOM BRADY, the NE “D” has SO MANY INJURES & NE has already lost 3 games which prove that they can be beaten. So the JETS have way MORE pressure on them to win against the PATS for the 2ND time. If the JETS can’t beat the PATS with all of this in their FAVOR, other than BILL BELICHICK not coaching NE, what will it take for the JETS to beat NE? To get to the SuperBowl u have to beat NE!

  4. By Mike Jet Vet on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Always interesting to hear Ray respond to any fans criticism on what ever is wrong with our team ..Says its gloom & doom very good Ray .. You’ll have to excuse us ,, Guess we were blinded by all the success & cheering over the years,, & your right don’t know what we are thinking about let down after let down year after year , Guess we aren’t as optimistic as you . Hope this year will be different

  5. By Hogan on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    PLEASE,PLEASE dont run shotgun unless it is a long sit. where you are def. going to pass.

  6. By fljetfan on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    jets are the better team right now. we know that that doesnt mean victory persay. keys; 1 no freebees (to’s, penalty) brett must play well. 2 mangini must coach agressivley. 3 mental,mental,mental. play smart and the better team prevails (ask NE). time to turn the tables with the mental aspect if not now when? good luck jets and jets fans. the score……J.E.T.S. 27 thanks for participating 17

  7. By David on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    I hope MANGINI knows that they said there is 84% chance that it may RAIN or SNOW at New England for the game tonite.

  8. By uncle joe on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Yeh,I was at that Monday night Miracle,sitting all the way up,surrounded by Dolphin Fans.I abused them all before the game.Once that game started they were abusing me.rather then wind up killing someone,we left.As I was walking out,threw the parking lot,Coles caught his TD.Yeh,I was one of those idiots that left at halftime.

  9. By uncle joe on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    All day today,Football music is ringing in my head.I’m going nutz.It just has that feeling like it’s some Holiday or somethimg.Just a real nice gut feeling going on.That feeling like nothing can stop this ride.all the years of screeming and yelling,coming to a head.Jet Bombers hovering over FoxBoro dropping huge nails in the Belicheck Coufin.Farve Front page with his pointer finger up “First Place

  10. By corbindallas on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    i predict the wildcat formation throwing those old (vabrel bruschi) and unexperienced (woods mayo) linebackers off all night

  11. By uncle joe on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Patriots Fans are blowing up the phones on our radio stations,trying to plead their case.They are trying to convince themselves,but they KNOW.Belicheck KNOWS,Brushki and Semore KNOW.Lamont Jordan KNOWS.Bob Kraft KNOWS.NEW YORK IS COMING AND ONCE WE START,WE DON’T STOP.NEW YORK IS COMING.

  12. By uncle joe on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Send that dude on the horse to warn the town,NEW YORK IS COMING,NEW YORK IS COMING.TOO bad Brady couldn’t play,because JENKINS IS COMING.ELLIS is ticked,and OH YES HE IS COMING.Moss catch the ball & know that ELAM IS COMING.Cover COTCHERY so he doesn’t burn you like he usually does.KELLER IS COMING.The FOOTBALL NATION HATES YOU!Chad is in Miami,FARVE IS COMING,I repeat FARVE IS COMING.

  13. By Ken on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    IRA or RANDY. Can oneu guys FORWARD this message to MAGINI and tell him that there is 84% chance that it might RAIN or SNOW for tonite game against the NEW ENGLAND PATIROTS. This might be important information for MANGINi, that might help him win this game. So please make SURE MANGINI knows that there is 84% chance that it might RAIN or SNOW in tonites game against the PATS.

  14. By Drew on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    I have to think that Bill knows we are going to try and stop the WR and RB screens. Do you think he has a trick up his sleeve. Double Welker and let Revis man-up Moss and take our chances. The soft field will help in covering those 2 guys….Lets run the ball down this teams throat. Take the heart out of them early. Then mix in a little wildcat with Leon..

  15. By Carlito7 on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply


  16. By jak,ex packer fan new jet fan on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    screen plays. are a good way to thwart blitzes and you can throw screens from the shotgun .if favres getting hammered, then the shotgun is a good counter as it will give 4 more time. flexability, we need to adjust with good counter plays to whatever pats r doimg that works. not specifically play action or shotgun,ect

  17. By Greg Rberts on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    I agree with Ken, Establish the run early and often then use the play action out of the I Formation, Strong I and Weak I. DONT run the ball unless T Rich is on the field “Paving the Way” or your running a draw to leon. Don’t use SHOTGUN unless its 3rd and long Brian Shotty! Dont use SHOTGUN on 2nd & 5. Run the ball or use play action SERIOUSLY Schotty will win or lose this game with his play calls

  18. By Anthony on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Tonight is the night. I can hardly wait to watch. I hope the jets play the screen pass and also give these guys everything they got. Show them the emotion that has longed to be shown by the NY Jets. I will be watching and as always going crazy on every play of the game. Give them hell tonight. I cannot wait..LETS GO JETS>>>>>>>>

  19. By Larry on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Watch the battle with FANECA and FURGUSON, and will they be able to handle RICHARD SEYMOUR. FANECA had a lot of problems blocking RICHARD SEYMOUR last they played. The game will be won or lost at the OFFENSIVE and DEFENSIVE LINES.

  20. By scjoe on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    There is no way NE beats the Jets in this game, the Jets may beat themselvs, like they did in their first meeting this year, but no way NE beats them straight up. Take out the INTs, penalties, bone head mistakes and horrible play calling and the Jets win. I give the Jets the edge on talent, but NE gets the edge just in not beating themself to often,

  21. By Rich on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Ken, you are right. Offfensive Line and Wide Receivers BLOCKING is the key to run the game. And blocking (Semyour) is key.

  22. By uncle joe on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Mayo,THOMAS JONES is Coming,but wait,before you see himBOOYAH TONY RICHARDSON IS COMING!

  23. By uncle joe on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    OH Bill,The HC of the NYJ IS COMING,you made him,he made his team,and now HIS TEAM IS COMING TO GET YOU

  24. By TB on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    LETS GO NEW YORK!!!!!!!

  25. By Ray on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Oh it’s Mike Jet Vet today? Think no one would realize it’s you gloomy boy? So your a Jet FAN today? A one day reprieve? The only gloom and doom I refer to is YOU and you bring it on yourself bub. Don’t try and get a gang together to help you out, that is pathetic. Defend yourself. If you make a valid criticism you won’t hear from me.

  26. By uncle joe on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Tonight is my Old Man’s night to host the game,so to his tenant & everyone within a 6 or 7 block radius of his Annendaile,Staten Island home,My deepest & most sincere appalogies(Blame the NFL Schedule Makers)It’s gonna be Loud,Very LOUD.4 to 8:15 is too large a window of opportunity to consume alcohal and wind me up!Green Bay might hear me tonight!

  27. By Hogan on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Ken- I am fairley sure Mangini will check the weather. RELAX!!

  28. By Hogan on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Mike jet vet, or should I call u Mike EX. What are u 12? Uncle Joe, You have offically( sorry bout spelling) my favorite poster. Keep up the funny.

  29. By Silversword55 on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Time to send a message to the rest of the NFL tonight!

  30. By Xavion on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    My only regret is that Tom Brady wont be playing tonight I hope he is in the stadium and we get to see his face when we dominate this game. I still remember his comments after he lost the SB. If you dont I have them right here



  31. By Upstate Mike on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    NO MERCY!!! And no CHOKING!! This is the biggest game of the year for the team, the coach and the FANS. Come on boys, get mean and nasty and pull one out for the faithful. I’ve been waiting all week for this game!!!!!!!

  32. By Drew on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Wow multiple personalities from Jet fans. This site becomes more impressive by the day…LOL Keep defending my boys Ray…..I just dont get what fans are complaining about?We are 6-3 and getting ready for a huge game. If you have been a fan for 50 yrs or 2 yrs tonight is a huge game and we should expect to win it. Save the nonsense. I sure will be gloating if we win and will hear it if we lose!!

  33. By Row on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Our offense is going to win the game today. I hope we win the coin flip and defer. We need to have a better second half against these guys. Belichick is going to coach his heart out. Run the ball, and then run some more. This game should look like the Bills game with a bit more passes to the TE’s. We will win if the OC makes his calls. Must run for 1st downs. Randy, is Baker dressing?

  34. By Jesse on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Whoever dominates the run game, has the fewest penalties, and turnovers will win this game. It’s going to be a street fight for four quarter. Go out there Jets and get that W. J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets!

  35. By Stunna on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Hi randy can you confirm that justin miller has moved to the raiders???

  36. By matt on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    i agree Xavion,i hope brady is ther so i can watch him cry.haha,GO JETS!!

  37. By Mike Jet Vet on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Ray & Crew give it a rest try to grow up been a fan before you guys were born .. & Again not here for your approval means nothing 2 me so don’t waste your time .. Hope we win tonight or mangini will have lots on explaining to do not to mention my ears bleeding from all your tired excuses

  38. By Blinka on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    It stops tonight.
    Have no mercy and take no prisoners.
    The Jets must make them pay for what they’ve done.

  39. By sal on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    the first game not only was it favre second game but the o-line had tow new faces, one second year player, one third year player,, same could be said for the defence, this isnt the same jet team, belicheck always has been great with plugin players in(mangini was involved w/ that),, they have improved since week two, but not as much as the jets, offence throws the book at them

  40. By Randy Lange on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    We won’t know for sure until about 6:45 p.m. when the inactive lists have to be submitted, but he played all last game against the Rams and was not on the injury report this week.

  41. By Randy Lange on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Stunna, I can confirm that Justin Miller is being listed on the Oakland Raiders’ 53-man active roster.

  42. By Uncle Joe on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    Hogan,You the Man,it is now 6PM,I have a slight buzz and I am climbing the walls.The clock is refusing to move.Yesterday at this time it was 7:30 already.If I don’t get arrested tonight I will talk to you people(MY LIVE FOR EVER GREEN FAMILY)tomorrow at 6AM.Love you all and HAPPY FIRST PLACE BABY,WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  43. By steven on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    the jets can do the very same thing the Giants did in the superbowl. They can sack the quarterback and shake him up and create turnovers to win. the key is turnovers. whoever has the most turnovers tonight will win the game. points need to be scored on both sides of the ball.

  44. By Mr. T on Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

    My prediction. PAIN. The JETS TEAM is primed to explode . . . the coaches just need to light the fuse in Foxborough . . . payback is a B**ch . . . . or a Beliupchuck . . . I BLEED GREEN & WHITE . . . since 1968 . . . this will go down as one of the memorable moments where the JETS stand up and give no quarter . . . . J-E-T-S

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