Thanks to a win in the Jets vs Giants game, Gang Green are 7-5 in the thick of the playoff race but few remember what play completely changed the game.
This was a back and forth affair between the Jets and Giants all-game long, but at one point it looked like the game was going to get out of reach. The situation: the Giants are up 20-10 and it’s 4th down and Tom Coughlin has a tough decision to make to put this game away for Big Blue.
Does Coughlin play it safe, kick the field goal, and go up 13 points with under a quarter of football to go? Or does he go for the jugular and attempt to go up 3 scores and force the Jets to do the impossible. He went for it and lets just say things didn’t exactly go according to plan.
Manning picked off! Rontez Miles intercepts Eli Manning’s pass and returns it to the Jets 14-yd line. Giants are leading, 20-10.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 6, 2015
Ever since Rontez Miles was brought up to the active 53-man roster, he has slowly earned more playing time from situational defense to special teams. Just punching in and punching out, slowly biding his time in the hopes of getting his opportunity and he did late in the Jets vs Giants game.
But before he made the play of the day, Miles committed what could have been a fatal error. On 4th and short in a critical moment of the game, Miles jumped off sides on a punt giving the ball back to the Giants. After the game, Miles was asked about that mistake, here is what he had to say via the Media Relations Department of the Jets:
On what was going through his head after he committed the penalty on fourth down…
I told them, I was like, ‘Man, that was me. I got you, I’ll make up for it.’ I didn’t expect to get an interception or anything like that (laughter). But, I remember saying, ‘I’ll make up for it. I’ll make up for it.’ I just never get down (on myself). I’ve been through a lot worse in my life to be worried about jumping offsides, but it was an incredible thing. I just stayed positive. Guys started picking us up. Gilly (Marcus Gilchrist) kept saying, “It’s whatever, we’re going to get the ball back. We’re going to get the ball back.” Credit to Gilly for picking us up when that happened, but you know, just staying positive the whole time.
On what happened on the interception…
We were doubling. He ran a pick route, so I jumped the under route. I guess he saw it. He hesitated and I think (Leger) Douzable added pressure so he had to get rid of the ball anyway earlier than he wanted to. Right place, right time and it was in my hand.
On if he was surprised they went for it on fourth down…
I was, I thought they would kick the field goal honestly. But I told myself when I saw the screen, ‘One more play, fourth-and-two. We can go for it.’ Everybody was saying it could change the game. We rallied up together, man. We held in, it was amazing. Amazing feeling to be a part of that too.
The Jets have had an awful track record as of late in terms of finding late-round gems to even hitting consistently on their high draft picks: Quinton Coples, Vernon Gholston and Kyle Wilson etc. Good teams hit on a few draft picks. Great teams consistently find late-round gems that can develop and contribute.
Getting back to the game, after that interception, the tables turned and the Jets took full advantage and rode that momentum through the rest of the ball-game and pulled out a gritty overtime win against their northeastern rival. Now the Jets are 7-5 with 4 games to go.
The infamous saying, ‘if the season ended today’ the Jets would be in the playoffs. There is no doubt that this game was not only a measuring stick for this team, but it was going to define who this team really is. Was this team serious about the playoffs? This team answered the bell and Miles gave his thoughts on what this win means:
On what this win could do to catapult the Jets the rest of the way…
It does a lot. It was never about the battle of New York. Coach Bowles always said that we have a bigger goal and that’s to get to the playoffs. Anytime you can take a step towards the playoffs and get yourself in position to play in the playoffs, it’s always going to be a big game. So, it was big.
I think the difference between Rex Ryan and Todd Bowles is palpable, Rex blew up the importance of the infamous ‘The Battle of New York’ and it seems Bowles downplayed it. For those fans saying this is ‘the same old Jets’ they should take a hard look at this team, because Bowles’ style of leadership combined with a resilient defense and grit could lead this Jets team to the postseason in 2015.