New York Jets’ Forgotten Classics: 2010 NFL Wild Card Round At Indianapolis


Aug 17, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver

Braylon Edwards

(17) during warmups before a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Most people remember the following game with the win in Foxboro as the hallmark of the 2010 playoff run but most forget that in order to get to that game the Jets had to beat the man and the team that eliminated them in 2009, Peyton Manning and the Colts. In the 2009 AFC Championship Game, the Jets led 17-6 before halftime but then Shonn Greene left with a rib injury and Peyton Manning was Peyton Manning which left the Jets on the short end of a 30-17 final. So with revenge on their minds Rex Ryan and the Jets took the field in Indianapolis on January 8, 2011. They left Indianapolis 17-16 winners.

Both defenses came to play early with each team starting with four consecutive punts. In fact, the Colts were three and out on their 1st three series. The Colts 5th possession ended very differently. After a short pass for 11 yards, the Colts ran three straight times culminating with Dominic Rhodes getting a 1st down out to the Colts’ 43 yard line. That lulled the Jets to sleep just enough for Manning to hit Pierre Garcon for 57 yards and a touchdown. Mark Sanchez and the Jets responded with a long 13 play drive that made it to the Indianapolis 19 yard line before Sanchez threw an interception trying to force a ball to Dustin Keller in the end zone. The Colts led 7-0 at halftime. It wasn’t looking like the Jets’ day.

Coming out of halftime the Jets decided to rededicate themselves to the run and the result was a 10 play touchdown drive that featured only one completed pass and ended with a short Tomlinson touchdown run to tie the game. The return to ground and pound could not have come at a better time. The Colts scored on all three of their 2nd half possessions but to the Jets’ credit they were all field goals. One of the those came right after the Jets’ touchdown drive making the score after three quarters 10-7 Colts.

The Jets had one of their longest and best drives of the season bridging the 3rd and 4th quarter going 87 yards on 17 plays and taking up nearly 10 minutes of clock and resulting in a second Tomlinson touchdown run. The drive was huge, not just because it gave the Jets their 1st lead but because it also kept Peyton Manning and the Colts’ offense off the field thus limiting their scoring opportunities. The Colts scored a field goal on their next drive, while the Jets could not run out the clock and gave the ball back to the Colts with 2 minutes and 46 seconds remaining in the game. Manning took the Colts 48 yards in eight plays leaving Vinatieri to kick a 50 yard field goal to give the Colts the lead 16-14 with only 53 seconds left. It looked like another gut wrenching loss for the Jets and a tough offseason but it was not to be on this night.

Rex Ryan and Mike Westhoff needed a big return if they were going to get close enough for Sanchez to lead the Jets into field goal range with less than a minute left and only two timeouts remaining. They decided to insert Antonio Cromartie as a returner and the gamble paid off as he streaked down the sideline to the Jet 47 yard line. Sanchez connected for nine  yards to Edwards to get to the Colt 45 followed by a timeout. Sanchez next connected for 11 yards to Holmes to get to the Colt 34 and after a two yard Tomlinson run the Colts used their last timeout. The Jets decided to stay aggressive instead of settling for the long field goal and the result was an 18 yard completion to Edwards to the Colt 14 followed by the Jets final timeout. As time expired in the game, and the Colt season, Nick Folk hit a 32 yard field goal to win the game, avenge last year’s loss and send the Jets to Foxboro to play their rivals, the New England Patriots.

This was an amazingly exciting game that the Jets came out on top in and it unfortunately gets lost in the shuffle with the huge win in New England the following week. The return of Ground and Pound after a season with a more opened up offense along with some timely throws by Sanchez is what led the Jets to come back and win. Survive and advance was the goal on January 8, 2011 and that is just what the Jets did.

New York Jets 17 at Indianapolis Colts 16

Saturday, January 8, 2011

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