Jets Beat Patriots, 28-21, Advance to AFC Title Game - NBC New York

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Jets Beat Patriots, 28-21, Advance to AFC Title Game

Mark Sanchez throws three TDs en route to another road win



    Jets Beat Patriots, 28-21, Advance to AFC Title Game
    Getty Images
    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 16: Jerricho Cotchery #89, Braylon Edwards #17 and Santonio Holmes #10 of the New York Jets celebrate their 28 to 21 victory over the New England Patriots during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    It's going to be interesting to see what they say now.

    All week long we heard about how the Patriots, Tom Brady, in particular, were going to make the Jets pay for talking smack in advance of Sunday's win. We heard how the Jets were the weaker party, how the Jets couldn't back up their big mouths and how the Patriots were the classy champions of the NFL.

    We aren't hearing any of that right now and the sound of gloating has never sounded sweeter. The Jets put the smack down on Brady and Bill Belichick and the rest of the Patriots and their 28-21 win is second only to Super Bowl III in the long annals of the Jets franchise. Got any feet jokes for us now, Wes Welker?

    Didn't think so.

    The Patriots will be eating a big plate of crow right now after the Jets ended their run at coronation with a nearly flawless 60 minutes of football. Mark Sanchez threw three touchdowns, the defense never let Tom Brady feel comfortable and, in the most stunning development of all, Rex Ryan outcoached Bill Belichick en route to a second straight AFC Championship Game berth.

    That moment never was clearer than just before haltime when Belichick called a fake punt on his own 38 with just over a minute to play. Eugene Chung fumbled the snap, the Jets stopped the play cold and a marvelous Santonio Holmes catch meant the Jets were up 14-3 at the break. All the uptight scolds can tut-tut at Ryan's bravado all they want, but they will never find a more arrogant move than that one from the Jets coach. Belichick thought all he needed to do was line up on Sunday and the Jets showed him it wasn't the case when Sanchez hit Braylon Edwards for a 14-3 lead that the Jets would never relinquish.

    There were plenty of other heroes along the way. Antonio Cromarite recovered an onside kick to set up a score, Drew Coleman played like a man possessed by a demon and the entire defense finally lived up to its reputation. Shaun Ellis never played a better game in his life and Jerricho Cotchery's long catch and run set up Santonio Holmes's back-breaking touchdown when the game was 14-11 in the fourth quarter. Ellis and Cotchery have been here a long time and they've swallowed a lot of garbage. No one deserved the thrill of Sunday more than them and we can bet no one appreciated it any more than they did, especially once they saw a half-empty Gilette Stadium confirm their dominance late in the second half.

    At least we can't feel bad about deserving fans feeling pain. The Pats fans deserted the joint like the most entitled sore losers in all the world. It's familiar to those of us who have seen Yankee fans play the same routine, but it only made winning all the sweeter. That wasn't the best part of the win, however.

    In the end, though, it all comes back to the big talking coach. Ryan said Sunday was personal between him and Belichick. If it was, and we don't agree, then Ryan won by a knockout. He outfoxed the Hoodie King on the road and brought his team one step closer to the promised land. There will be much, much, much more on this game and the game to come this week, but now we will leave you with just one message: 

    The Jets beat the Patriots and are 60 minutes from the Super Bowl. Go crazy, New York! 

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