Today I went to my first NFL Game (not as a fan, that is) - New York Jets vs. Kansas City Chiefs.
Lets get a couple things out of the way before I attempt at any sort of analysis-
First of all, how come New Jersey hasn't sued the Jets - or Giants for that matter - for not changing their name to "The New Jersey Jets" or "The New York Jets of New Jersey"? I, of course, am not serious, but bring this up in reference to the millions of dollars Anaheim spent fighting to keep their city's name associated with the Angels, which ended in the team being named the tongue twisting and lengthy "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim." I mean, I do feel bad for Anaheim. The Angels are in Anaheim after all, not Los Angeles. And as I discovered today, the Jets play in New Jersey, not New York.
Now on to the game -
The Jets win over the Chiefs should have been a blowout. New York barely escaped a loss in Sunday’s 28-24 mistake-ridden game at the Meadowlands.
There’s no doubt that last week’s controversy over whether Brett Favre gave the Lions information about the Packers (he flatly denies this, in case you've been in another country) was still a distraction for the vet. Favre threw three interceptions and two touchdowns in the game and continued to play despite being shaken up by a late first quarter hit. He has now thrown seven interceptions in his last three games.
It wasn’t that the Chiefs were spectacular. In fact, they were mediocre at best. The Jets however, made mistake after mistake and were unable to execute against a middling Kansas City team. Jay Feely missed a 36-yard field goal in the first quarter, which would have brought the score to 10-0 and set the pace for the game, but instead Kansas City answered with a touchdown, tying the game 7-7. The Jets Leon Washington scored on a sweet 60-yard run, which the Chiefs answered with a touchdown pass to Mark Bradley with just four seconds left, bringing the score to 14-14 at the half.
Favre reemerged in the second half calmer and more efficient, but was still nearly out played by the Chiefs’ QB Tyler Thigpen. Tyler who? Exactly...
For all the hype about Jets fans being crazy, the stadium seemed lifeless, even with the Jets down only 17-14 in the third after a KC field goal. After some back and forth action and a close call at the end when the Jets ball was intercepted for the third time and the Chiefs scored on a 91-yard run, bringing the score to 24-21 with just a few minutes left, what was left of the crowd looked doubtful. (1/4 of the crowd disappeared from their seats by the 4th quarter- the team was only down three points- have they no faith?)
At times, it appeared both teams were playing Red Rover out there instead of systematic series of plays (like my analysis?). With just a minute left and down three points, the Jets came through with a last second touchdown, finishing the game 28-24 as the clichéd We Will Rock You sounded in the dome (can Giants Stadium be considered a dome? It is dome-shaped ... hmm).
Overall the Jets were inconsistent, mixing penalties and interceptions with the occasional Sports Center-worthy play. Favre left the locker room after the game with a slight limp, his head down and his sweatshirt thrown over his shoulder, not looking like a QB coming off a win. If the Jets would have lost the game to the Chiefs, there is no doubt that any hope for the season would have been deflated. And while it's not the win that they wanted - there was certainly not much celebrating in the locker room after the game - it's still a "W" and there is hope to rebound. However, the Jets are 1 for 3 on the road and will have to step things up next week when they head to Buffalo to take on the Bills.
Other notes: Joe Namath was wandering around the press box before the game. He was here with former teammates to bask in the glory and celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1968 Jets team for a special halftime celebration. Whoo hoo. That's all I have for you.