The 1982 Jets took on Rex’s first team, the 2009 Jets, in our “play-in” game of our Best Jets Team Ever tournament. Many people think that if it wasn’t for Don Shula allowing the field to become waterlogged before the AFC Championship game in 1983, the 1982 Jets would have gone to the Super Bowl. On this day, however, they couldn’t reach the end zone until it was too late, thanks to Rex’s defense.
The 2009 Jets set the tempo for this one from the opening kickoff, marching down the field on a 9 play, 62 yard scoring drive, capped by Shonn Greene scoring from 3 yards out, led by D’Brickshaw Ferguson to take a 7-0 lead. The drive was highlighted by a 25 yard hookup from Sanchez to Braylon Edwards, and a 20 yard run by Thomas Jones that set the Jets up first and goal from the 8. After a couple of punts, the quarter ended 7-0 in favor of the 2009 Jets.
An extended drive by the 1982 Jets that carried over from the first quarter was halted by a Jim Leonard sack, followed by a 49 yard field goal attempt by Pat Leahy that missed wide left, leaving the game 7-0. On the very next play, Shonn Greene put the rock on the ground and the 82 Jets recovered at the 2009 Jets 46 yard line. 6 plays and 36 yards later, Pat Leahy connected from 27 yards out to narrow the deficit to 7-3. On the first play of the ensuing drive, beginning at their own 35, Mark Sanchez hit Dustin Keller who took it 36 yards, to set up at the 1982 Jets 29 yard line. The drive stalled at the 5, where Jay Feely connected from 22 yards out, opening the lead to 10-3.
Pat Leahy was good again on the next drive, this time from 48 yards out, set up by a 29 yard connection from Richard Todd to Wesley Walker. 10-6 in favor of the 2009 Jets. Mark Sanchez let the 2009 team down the field in typical 2 minute drill fashion beginning from his own 15, and ending with a Jay Feely 43 yard field goal to end the half 13-6 in favor of Rex’s Jets.
The 3rd quarter began with exchanging 3 and outs, and the 2009 Jets starting their second drive of the half from the 47 yard line of the 1982 squad. The drive was nearly derailed when after Leon Washington took a 28 yard draw play to the 2 yard line and fumbled. The offense recovered their own fumble at the 1, and Thomas Jones scored on the next play to go up 20-6.
The next drive saw the 1982 Jets drive down to the 2009 Jets 20 yard line, highlighted by a 17 yard gain on a draw play by Mike Augustyniak. The drive again stalled after a Jim Leonhard sack, and Pat Leahy hit the upright from 45 yards out, leaving the score 20-6. Mark Sanchez was intercepted on the following drive by Jerry Holmes, and after the drive carried over into the fourth quarter, the 1982 Jets scored their only TD of the game. Mike Augustyniak set up the score with a 30 yard run to the 2009 Jets’ 14 yard line, and scored the TD from 3 yards out bringing the 1982 Jets to within a TD, at 20-13.
The 2009 Jets iced the game on the next drive, going 15 plays for 77 yards, and eating up 6:44 of game clock before Jay Feely hit for the 3rd time, this time from 28 yards out, putting Rex and the ground and pound gang up 23-13. After stopping the ’82 Jets on downs, Feely hit one more time from 42 yards to give the 2009 Jets a 26-13 lead. The 1982 Jets final gasp was ended on a Kerry Rhoades interception, leaving the final score 26-13 in favor of the 2009 Jets.
The 2009 Jets will move on to face the 1968 Jets in the semi-finals. The winner of that game will take on the winner of the 1998 Jets vs the 2010 Jets.
See you in the next round.