Thursday, January 21, 2010

Superbowl Bound or Ahh, Snap?

by Sean Patrick Rodriguez

Rematch or revenge?
That is the burning question this week in Indianapolis where the Indianapolis Colts will play host to the New York Jets in the AFC Championship January 24th at 3pm E.T. at Lucas Oil Field. The Jets, a number 5 seed, shocked the world and the favored San Diego Chargers with a 17-14 win at Qualcomm Stadium.

The host Chargers opened the scoring of their AFC Divisional playoff game in the second quarter with a 13 yard touchdown pass from QB Phillip Rivers to Kris Wilson with 12:17 to go to give the Chargers the lead. San Diego's defense stuffed New York, forcing the Jets to punt on its first four possessions.

Then the Jets defense seized the momentum and never let it go. Defensive pressure on Rivers resulted in 5 offensive miscues. The Chargers couldn't hold on to the ball, 2 interceptions and 3 fumbles and the second half was all Jets as they scored 17 unanswered points to put them up just enough to keep the Chargers at bay and squeeze out a 3 point victory. The NFL's best kicker this year, All-Pro kicker Nate Kaeding, 32 out of 35 for a scorching 91% success rate during the regular season, failed to convert on all 3 of his field goal attempts.

These factors combined to send the Jets back to Indianapolis for the AFC Championship Game. It will be a rematch of sorts. The then 14-0 Colts gave up their team pursuit of an undefeated season in the December 27th game with the Jets by pulling Peyton Manning and most of their key players in the second half of the game while leading 15-10. They wanted to rest injured players and prepare for the playoffs, trading perfection for a shot at a second Superbowl run and win. The Jets took advantage and won the game 29-15, giving them a boost to the playoffs and now they are the kids that will not leave the field.

Will the Jets, led by 3 Rookies, quarterback Mark Sanchez, running back Shonn Greene and Head Coach Rex Ryan, make the Colts regret their decision to not play and put New York out of playoff contention? Or, will the Colts play for revenge during this rematch and show the Jets what a full Indianapolis squad can do? Tune in next Sunday.