The Indianapolis Colts dominant regular season gave them the best record in the American Football Conference, the Number One Seed in the AFC Playoffs, home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and a First Round playoff bye.
Indianapolis rested during the first week of the 2009 AFC playoffs.
New York found themselves in a dogfight with the Cincinnati Bengals during the first week of the AFC playoffs, fell behind the Bengals, came back to tie the game and then won the game in Sudden Death Overtime on a long field goal.
It seemed the advantage in the Divisional Round playoff game between the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets was tilted in favor of the Colts.
Well - things certainly did not start out that way…
New York won the toss and deferred to the Second Half.
Indianapolis took first possession of the ball in front of a raucous crowd who had waited all year for the Colts to make it to the playoffs as expected, and promptly punted.
The Jets had the ball on their first possession and quickly began to turn momentum in their favor with an efficient drive that ended with a Marc Sanchez to Braylon Edwards 9-yard TD pass. The extra point was good inside the quieting dome in Indianapolis, and New York was ahead, 7-0.
The vaunted Indianapolis offense whimpered and punted the next two times it had the ball.
New York took advantage of the increasingly better field position and Jay Feely booted 36-yard field goal to put the Jets up, 10-0.
With most of the First Quarter gone and not many yards and no points yet, the Colts drove the ball but only close enough to allow playoff-relaible kicker, Adam Vinaterri a chance at a 48-yard try. To the dismay of the Colts and their fans, the kick sailed easily wide right. The Jets still led in the game, 10-0.
A patient drive by New York, probably assisted more by Indianapolis dismay than Jet momentum, paid off again just as the quarter ended when Shonn Green gashed into the end zone from 2 yards out, putting New York up by a surprising 17-0 margin, with the extra point.
The start of the Second Quarter began with Indianapolis pinned inside their own 10-yard line after the ensuing New York kickoff. In what seemed like a routine out pass to wide receiver Reggie Wayne just beyond the First Down Marker, ended in disaster for the Colts when All-Pro Jet cornerback Darrelle Revis darted inside Wayne, snatched the ball in flight and was in the end zone before the Colts or their fans could blink. With the extra point, New York was ahead of the Number One-Seeded Colts, 24-0 and there were still nearly three quarters of football left to play.
Woozy and wobbled and stifled and shut down by the stingy and opportunistic Jet defense, the Colts mustered up a drive that only worked to a sputtering end and a disappointing Third Down and long. Settling for any opportunity for points, and looking for any way to spark the team, the Colts kicker Vinaterri this time found the mark with a 41-yard field goal that put Indianapolis on the scoreboard and hopefully could spur them on to more. The Jets lead was cut to 24-3.
The Colts kicked off the Jets, with a bit of a renewed sense of purpose. New York kick returner, Brad Smith made short work of Indianapolis’ purpose as he dashed it nearly completely when he blazed a trail through the middle of the Colts kick coverage team and took the kickoff back 93 yards for another Jet score. They only cheering in Indianapolis was then the from the pile of New York Jet players that mobbed Smith after he ran completely through the end zone with the ball. New York led the stunned Colts, 31-3.
Try as they might to strike quickly, the Jets wore down the Colts into a possession game that ate up the clock and began to devour Indianapolis hopes. The Colts wanted a quick drive resulting in a touchdown, but what they got instead was a long, grinding drive that ended with only another Vinaterri field goal, this one of 30 yards. The Colts could only climb back to within twenty-five points - New York led, 31-6.
Sanchez and crew again fed off the Colt shock and desperation. Another ball-control drive kept the Indianapolis defenders off balance and all of a sudden Sanchez found wide receiver Jericho Cotchery alone in the middle of the Colts zone defense in the end zone for a touchdown. Feely punctuated the score with the extra point. The Jets led 38-6 with the First Half nearly mercifully over for the Colts.
Colts All-Pro quarterback, Peyton Manning, heaved a last-second pass toward the end zone as the clock expired, but Revis was there at the other end of the throw and took a knee to end the lopsided half. New York was ahead of the favored Colts, 38-6.
The Third Quarter began and ended as a grind for both teams. New York wanted the game this way and Indianapolis was caving in under the weight of it.
A fumble by New York gave Indy a spark, but that was hope was snuffed out with a Shaun Ellis sack of Manning that again kept the Colts off the score board. Indianapolis fumbled also, but New York was content to play small ball and keep the Colts frustrated. The Third Quarter ended with the Jets still way ahead of the Colts, 38-6.
By the beginning of the Fourth Quarter, it seemed like the game was long over. Indianapolis had no life in them at all and their fans had no wind left in their lungs to use to urge their team forward with. Each tackle by the stout New York defense took more toll from the Colt players. Punts were traded back and forth and the New York defense swayed field position again so the Jets final score of the day looked so easy it appeared to be an after-thought: Sanchez and Cotchery again connected on a pass inside the red zone for a score, and their was only a small celebration from the Jets players and fans who also seemed to know the game had been long over. The Jets then led the Colts, 45-6.
A turnover on downs and a fumble was all that was left of the season for Indianapolis.
The Colts went home for the year while the Jets would go on and play in the AFC Championship Game next weekend.
Final Score: New York: 45 Indianapolis: 6
2009 NFL Playoff Replay
Played using Downey Games' Momentum Football.
What This Is
A play through of the 2009 NFL playoffs. Write-ups are all original content.