Last year the New York Jets might have lost a game like Monday night/Tuesday morning’s heavyweight collision with the Minnesota Vikings at the Meadowlands. But the Green & White are a maturing team with mighty mettle and Dwight Lowery’s 26-yard game-clinching scoring return of a Brett Favre interception was proof.
“Ideally in that situation it’s better to get down. But the way I got the interception was on the run and I just instinctively went to the end zone,” Lowery said after the Jets captured a heart-stopping 29-20 victory at New Meadowlands Stadium. “One thing we wanted to emphasize this year was us making plays and us making big plays. We felt like last year the difference between our pass defense and the Super Bowl-winning championship defense, the Saints, was they made bigger plays than we did.”
Last February the Saints shut the door on the Colts’ championship hopes when CB Tracy Porter picked off a Peyton Manning pass and headed 74 yards to paydirt. On this early morning, it was Lowery who blocked another future Hall of Famer — Favre — from leading the Vikings to an improbable comeback.
“They had a tendency when they got into a certain formation, a route combination that they ran out of that formation. I saw [Visanthe] Shiancoe break out and I just went on an instinct,” said Lowery, the third-year player from San Jose State. “When the pressure got there, I felt like that made Brett hold the ball a little bit longer than he wanted to and he threw the ball kind of late and I just stepped in front of it.”
Favre’s three second-half TDs had brought the visitors to within 22-20 and they needed only a field goal when they took over at their 23 with 1:30 to play. But Favre threw incomplete to Randy Moss (who was again draped by Antonio Cromartie), followed with a bad overthrow to a wide open Percy Harvin and then was intercepted by Lowery on third-and-5.
“That’s what you get from film study is really paying attention to what teams like to do, what they go to in certain situations and just kind of put that in the back of your head,” Lowery said. “So when that situation comes up in the game, you can take advantage of that situation because it’s so hard to make a play in this league. The quarterbacks are so good, the receivers are so good.”
Staying true to who they are, the Jets brought heat to Favre on the game’s critical play. And after staying interception-free for 58 minutes, No. 4 threw his seventh INT of the season.
“Basically we were playing a Cover-1,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “We wanted to get some pressure on him — most teams play coverage in that situation. We wanted to change up our looks and bring different pressure on Favre and try to get the ball out of his hand quickly. D-Lo did a great job of breaking on it and taking it to the house.”
The Jets won nine games in 2009, but the defense yielded late scores in losses to Miami, Jacksonville and Atlanta. This is a different team, a group confident that they’ll make the play in the end instead of hopeful that it will happen.
“We felt confident we would win the game. We just never knew how,” Ryan said. “That’s basically how it went.”
When Lowery was a rookie, he actually spoke to Favre about his feelings during critical junctures.
“I asked him if he ever gets nervous and he said, ‘Absolutely.’ But he just takes it one play at a time and I kind of took that from him as a defensive player,” Lowery said. “You have to take it one play at a time and stay composed in that situation.”
After picking Brett Favre’s brain in 2008, Dwight Lowery picked his pocket Tuesday. This might prove to be a steal that Jets Nation will remember for years to come.
Tags: Brett Favre, Dwight Lowery, Minnesota Vikings
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