Back in the Hunt

With Sunday's dramatic 13-10 victory over the Miami Dolphins, the Jets did the unthinkable tonight, by putting themselves back in the playoff picture.

The Dolphins have now dropped three straight and find themselves in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East with Buffalo and New England. The Jets have won three of their last four games and sit just one game back.

 

Chad Pennington and the Jet offense had their share of struggles throughout the game, but fought hard, and came up big in the end. With the score tied at 10 and the clock winding down, Pennington made the biggest play of the game by hitting Laveranues Coles on a 42-yard strike down the middle. That play sparked a Jet's drive that resulted in a game-winning field goal from John Hall.

 

"It's my job to continue to believe in myself and get [my players] the football," said Pennington. "When we had the opportunity at the end, Coles split the safety and the corner and we were able to connect."

 

Coles continues to be Pennington's favorite target, and led team with five catches for 80-yards. They weren't staggering numbers, but Coles made the big play when it counted.

 

"We actually ran that play in practice," Coles said. "We practiced it and the safety came down and bit just like in practice. Chad threw it in practice and I kind of fell asleep on it in practice and it surprised me. But during the game, I knew it was coming when I saw the safety bite on it and [Patrick] Surtain stayed outside."

 

Coles praised Pennington after the game.

 

"It showed what kind of quarterback he is and capability that he has," said Coles. "I think the leadership that he has in the huddle is going to get us a long way."

 

The Jets can thank their defense for the win as well, which held RB Rickey Williams to just 53-yards on 20 carries. After going up by three, the Jets gave Miami the ball back with just under two minutes remaining. In similar situations this season, they have relinquished the lead and gone on to lose. Tonight the defense came up big and made the fourth-quarter stop.

 

"At the end, it was nice to see the defense on the field and prevent them from getting the field goal," said head coach Herman Edwards. "As a defensive-minded guy that always makes you feel good when the defense is out on the field and they have to make a play to prevent the team from tying or winning the game."

 

Next week the Jets head to Detroit to play the 3-6 Lions, where they will have an opportunity to get back to .500 for the first time this season.

 

"We're trying to take it one game at a time," said John Abraham, who came up with two big sacks late in the game. "We're trying to get to first place and take it one game at a time, understanding that we really can't have any more losses. We need to stay focused on what we planned on doing this year."

 

"This is what we needed," said Coles. "Everybody kind of thought we were out of it, but this put us right back in the race. From here we have to build and move forward."

 

When a writer would compliment the performance of a young player, Bill Parcels used to say, "Let's not put him in Canton just yet." So, let's not put the Jets in the playoffs just yet. But they're back in the race.


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