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New year, same comebacks: Jets rally from 14 down to edge Cowboys 27-24

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Sep 12, 2011  |  Updated 1:54 PM EDT
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Welcome Back to the Cardiac Jets

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If it's a wild football ending, it has to be the Jets.

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Hopefully you didn't get rid of that defibrillator you bought during the 2010 Jets season because it looks like you're going to need it.

Battling back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter and self-inflicted wounds almost as bad as anything Plaxico Burress ever did to himself, the Jets found a way to wind up as 27-24 winners Sunday night against the Cowboys. They have several things to thank, but Tony Romo is right at the top of the list.

The Cowboys quarterback fumbled the ball away on the goal line when a field goal would have given the Cowboys a commanding 10-point lead with nine minutes to play. That didn't come back to haunt the Cowboys right away thanks to a Mark Sanchez fumble, but it loomed awfully large when Joe McKnight blocked a punt on the next Dallas possession.

Isaiah Trufant scooped the ball up and scampered into the end zone for the tying touchdown and the teams then traded possessions until the Cowboys had the ball with 59 seconds to play. That's when Romo decided to force the Jets to win the game.

Romo threw a pass directly to Darrelle Revis, who made the interception and returned it into Cowboys territory. The Jets bumbled around on offense for three plays and then Nick Folk, a former Cowboy who struggles to make routine field goals, made a 50-yard field goal that wound up winning the game after the Cowboys final drive failed when Romo wasn't ready for a snap. 

Just your average season opener, right? 

There were so many stories coming out of this game that covering them all would take another three-plus hours, so let's get to the one that will dominate a good part of the coverage this week. Ever since the end of last season, the biggest question about Sanchez was how the Jets could get the player from the playoffs to be the same guy who showed up all 16 weeks of the regular season.

One game into the 2011 season, we are no closer to finding the answer. Sanchez was by turns brilliant and atrocious in Sunday night's loss to the Cowboys and by the end of the night he looked like nothing so much as the two-faced woman that Jerry dated on an episode of "Seinfeld."

One minute he's throwing a gorgeous back-shoulder touchdowns to Burress -- that signing paid dividends in the second half -- and the next he's holding the ball too long for a fumble. He threw for 335 yards on Sunday night, but also threw one of the ugliest interceptions you've ever seen to set the Cowboys up with a 14-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter.

Figuring out how to get the good and lose the bad will drive many men to sleepless nights, especially when he might be destined to become Romo 2.0. It felt that way for a long portion of Sunday night, but winning makes everything look a little better.

The defense was almost equally Jekyll and Hyde, mixing their usual overwhelming energy and scheming with stunning breakdowns that put the Cowboys in the end zone or darn close. Antonio Cromartie was beaten twice for touchdowns and Revis even gave up a few catches before slamming the door on Romo in the fourth.

It was ugly, beautiful, thrilling, depressing, exhilarating, exhausting and about a zillion other things. It was, in other words, a fairly typical Jets game.

Welcome back football, you've been missed.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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