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Mark Sanchez turned his back to the field as Nick Folk lined up for a 50-yard field goal that would give the New York Jets the lead. As Nick Mangold snapped the ball and Mark Brunell placed the snap, Mark Sanchez’s back was still to the field. It wasn’t until one of his coaches tapped him on the head and the entire Jets sidelined jumped up in excitement that Mark Sanchez could face the field and breathe again, realizing that Nick Folk connected and his team had pulled off a remarkable comeback in the opener of the 2011 National Football League Season and on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.
After last year’s second straight appearance in the AFC Championship game, the New York Jets took more steps forward to being an elite team in the National Football League. Sunday night, they took a couple of steps more in their 27-24 come from behind win against the Dallas Cowboys in front of 80,000 proud Americans.
In a game with headlines consisting of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and Ryan Brother versus Ryan Brother, and in a game filled with ups and downs, turnovers, sloppy play, a blocked punt, and a man who had spent the last twenty months in prison catching a touchdown pass, one team came out victorious and capped off a Sunday filled with surprises around the league with yet another shocking ending.
With all the hype surrounding the New York Jets defense in the preseason, they did not live up to their expectations to start the game. On the first possession of the game, Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys marched down the field with ease and put up the first points, connecting to Dez Bryant in the endzone. Early in the second quarter, a Dan Bailey field goal put Dallas up 10-0.
The New York Jets offense came alive right before halftime with Mark Sanchez finding tight end Dustin Keller in the endzone. Dallas did not get rattled after letting up a touchdown right before the half and continued with their assault on cornerback Antonio Cromartie. At first, it appeared that Cromartie had intercepted Tony Romo, but Austin Miles fought for the ball and gained possession as the two fell into the endzone.
Dallas had all but put the nail in the coffin when they took a 24-10 lead off of a Felix Jones one-yard touchdown run. Several years ago, the New York Jets would have stayed in the coffin and would have gone to sleep. Sunday, they fought their way out.
It all started with Plaxico Burress finally making an appearance in the game, leading the Jets down field and scoring his first touchdown since being away from the game for over two years.
The Jets defense had been shaky for the majority of the game, giving up a lot of yards to the Cowboys, but they made the stops when they needed to late in the game and came up big just in time for the Special Teams to join in the fun.
Plaxico’s touchdown and a couple of defensive stops later, the Cowboys were forced to punt, only up by a touchdown after practically sealing a week one win. Joe McKnight provided another spark and blocked Dallas’ punt only to watch his Special Teams counterpart, Isaiah Trufant return the block punt 19 yards into the endzone to tie the game at 24 a piece.
Sunday night’s game consisted of several turning points and game-changing plays.
It was almost necessary for the New York Jets to win this game and it was almost fitting for them to win this game. After the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, New Yorkers were forced to regroup and comeback together as united whole. New Yorkers faced ups and downs, lived with fear but faced the adversity together.
Sunday night, the New York Jets showed how strong New York really is. Entering the fourth quarter down by two touchdowns, fear of not giving the New York faithful what they wanted built up, but together they faced the adversity, regrouped, and came back against a tough football team.