All week Jets head coach Rex Ryan talked about how good Bill Belichick was as a head coach, going so far as to say Belichick was the best ever. All Ryan wanted to do was be better today. He was.
Taking advantage of every Patriots mistake, and making few of their own, the New York Jets will return to the AFC Championship Game for the 2nd consecutive year after beating the New England Patriots 28-21 at Gillette Stadium. The win for the 6th-seeded Jets earns them a trip to Pittsburgh to face the 2nd seeded Steelers next Sunday Night in the AFC Championship Game.
The Patriots looked a step behind all day, missing out on chance after chance to take control of the game early, then missing out on two on-side kick opportunities late to seal their fate. Tom Brady was hassled all day long by an aggressive Jets defense that was looking to avenge a 45-3 loss to New England 41 days ago.
The Jets led 14-3 at halftime, but saw New England get to within 3 at 14-11 heading to the 4th quarter. The Jets answered the Patriots every time it looked like Tom Brady was getting into a rhythm, including Santonio Holmes recreating his Super Bowl winning catch from a couple years ago that gave the Jets a 21-11 lead midway through the final period.
The Patriotskicked a field goal to get within 21-14, but saw an on-side kick attempt squirt to Antonio Cromartie, who returned it to the Pats' 20-yard-line. The Jets scored another touchdown, taking a 28-14 lead, but New England answered again on a Tom Brady to Deion Branch touchdown that made the score 28-21. The Patriots had a good shot at the final onside kick with 24 seconds to go, but the Jets fell on it, ending the game.
Former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who caught a first-half touchdown from quarterback Mark Sanchez, did a pair of backflips as time expired.
New York beat Pittsburgh December 19th 22-17.