Special Teams Sparks Jets in Thrilling Fourth Quarter Comeback Against the Cowboys

An incredible stat flashed across the screen late in the game, as the New York Jets had rallied to erase a 14-point deficit against the Dallas Cowboys and come away with an improbable 27-24 victory.

The Cowboys entered Sunday’s game with a 246-0-1 record in games in which they led by at least 14 points in the 4th quarter.

That stat is perfect no more. The Jets rallied to score 17 points in the fourth quarter, getting timely plays from their defense and special teams, as well as a couple of key plays from the offense.

Rex Ryan called it “the best team effort that I can remember being a part of” as the Jets mounted a furious rally that included the first Jets touchdown for Plaxico Burress and the first interception for Darrelle Revis since 2009.

In the end, the Jets rallied from a 14+ point fourth-quarter deficit to win for only the third time in franchise history, the first time since the “Monday Night Miracle” victory over the Dolphins in 2000.

“Experience tells us around here that it’s never over to the last tick,” linebacker Bart Scott said. “You think about the Houston game [last season], you think about the Detroit game, the Cleveland game, we know as long as there’s time on the clock, we have a chance.”

The biggest play of the game came from the special teams unit, when 23-year-old reserve running back Joe McKnight surged through the middle of the line to block a punt, his first career blocked kick.

The ball bounced right into the hands of Isaiah Trufant, a guy who made the team initially, got cut, re-signed to the practice squad, and then just got added to the active roster in time for the game.

Trufant took the ball into the endzone for his first career touchdown, tying the game at 24.

The Jets had gotten back within seven thanks to Mark Sanchez’s touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress, who scored his first touchdown since the 2008 season.

In the end, a clutch interception by Revis set up Nick Folk’s game-winning 50 yard field goal, and the Jets escaped with a wild victory to move to 1-0 on the young season.

Last year the Jets had a propensity to sputter in the first half before making it interesting and coming back to win close games late. So far it’s more of the same in 2011.

A win is a win, of course. The Jets will take them any way they can. Now, it’s on to the next one.


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  • Jim

    What a bunch of crap. You can tell this is a New Yorker writing this article. Maybe you should show a little less bias. Not once did you mention the horrible fumble on the 2 yard line by Romo, or the 2 bad penalties on Dallas before the blocked punt. Or that for more then half of the game your qb was facing the Cowboys 4th and 5th corners. I guess all I am saying is this article makes it sound like it was some crazy comeback, but in reality it was a massive colapse.

    • Jon Presser

      Well, this post wasn’t intended to be a full-fleshed game recap. I figure you can find those anywhere. There were just some of my observations from, admittedly yes, a Jets perspective. I am not trying to take credit for a comeback that as you mention could easily have been called a collapse from a Dallas perspective.

      But at the same time, it takes two teams. Romo played tremendous football for most of the game, but in a very Favre-like twist of fate, really made his worst decisions at the poorest possible time.

      You mention Romo’s fumble, but does Mike DeVito not deserve credit for hustling over and saving the touchdown, jostling the ball loose? Romo did throw the back-breaking interception but does Revis and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine not deserve credit for drawing up a tremendous play call to disguise the coverage and bait him into a trap?

      The overall theme I was trying to convey was that the Jets used a total team effort to win the game. They never accepted the notion that the game was over. Jim Leonhard running after Witten and shoving him out of bounds, setting up the key Romo fumble a few snaps later. The special teams breakthrough that swung all of the momentum to the Jets. The resolve of Sanchez and the offense to continue to fight down two touchdowns.

      You may see it as a collapse from a Dallas perspective, but again, it takes two to tango. The Jets seized the opportunities they were given. Dallas played nearly flawless football, but their mistakes will be magnified because they came at incredibly inopportune times. But the Jets still had to force the fumble, recover the fumble, block the punt, intercept the pass, kick the field goal, etc.

      It was a great football game, and a character-building win for a Jets team that is starting to prove over the last few seasons that they can win tough close games even when they’re not playing their best. Yes, Rob Ryan’s defense played tremendous, especially Mike Jenkins who was playing banged up and really showed a lot of heart to play so well all night. But the Jets took advantage of a few opportunities and capitalized when they had to. It wasn’t all Dallas collapsing. But I definitely understand how Cowboys fans could see it that way. Thanks for the feedback.

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