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
The Cincinnati Bengals played host to the upstart New York Jets in First Round action of the AFC Playoffs.
The Bengals spent little time getting on the scoreboard and energizing their fans even further when wide receiver Chad Ochocinco out-battled All-Pro cornerback Darnelle Revis on a fade pattern in the back corner of the endzone to give Cincinnati a ultra-quick 7-0 lead.
Marc Sanchez, the Jets rookie signal caller tried to shake off playoff nerves on the next New York possession but tossed an ill-advised pass late across the middle of the field where it was intercepted by the Bengals' Johnathan Joseph.
The teams then traded punts before Cincinnati put together a steady drive into New York territory. On third down, Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer ducked the Jet pass rush, moved to his left and threw off-balance to a crossing Lavernues Coles who carried the ball in from 19 yards out for a touchdown, surprisingly untouched. Cincinnati led 14-0 and the New York sideline looked a bit tense.
Sanchez then rallied behind his team and its strong running game, pounding out a drive that culminated with a second-effort quarterback sneak for a touchdown. The Jets had clawed back into the game at the end of the First Quarter, down 14-7.
The two teams forced back-to-back turnovers, a Revis interception at midfield and a Robert Geathers fumble recovery on the very next Jet offensive play. The Bengals took full advantage of the turnover with a short drive for a touchdown that culminated with a Palmer to J.P. Foshi pass. Cincinnati was now ahead 21-7. The Bengals could have stretched their lead on their next possession, but Shayne Graham missed a 50-yard field goal attempt very wide to the right.
The Jets ground out a competent drive into the Bengal side of the field but a untimely holding call on a completed pass from Sanchez that would have given New York the ball at the Cincinnati 12 yard line, pushed New York out of even field goal range. The Bengals took a few snaps and knelt down to end the First Half still up comfortably on the Jets, 21-7.
New York could do nothing on their initial drive of the Second Half. A punt to the Bengals led to a quiet, but effective ball-control possession. Cedric Benson took a soft Palmer pass in the right flat and dashed it in for another Cincinnati touchdown. The Bengals were pulling away, 28-7 and the Jets had only showed a flash of offensive production.
Summoning up something that they needed to forestall an end to their season, the Jets turned to their offensive staple, the running game. New York pushed the ball right at and through the Cincinnati defense until a first-down-and-goal play at the Bengal 5-yard line produced a sharp timing route from Chancey Stockey and a Jet touchdown. New York showed some life, down 28-14.
The Bengals failed to move the ball anywhere on their ensuing possession and punted away to the Jets. Methodically, the New Yorkers bashed the ball again down the field. Once inside the Bengal 5-yard line, they tried no finesse but gave the ball to running back Thomas Jones who bounced off an initial hit and ran through an arm tackle for a 4-yard touchdown run. The lead the Bengals had held all day had dwindled down to seven points, 28-21.
Fear shot through the Bengals and their fans when Cedric Benson mishandled a Palmer pitch and the Jets' Mike Devito recovered. Momentum seemed to have swung to the New York team, but the Cincinnati defense held serve and forced a punt. The Bengals fizzled out on their next drive at their own 35-yard line and gave the ball back to Jets at the beginning of the Fourth Quarter.
Rumbling down the field again, the Jets kept the ball on the ground, chewing up yards and the game clock. Hoping to hold the approaching Jets to a field goal, the Bengals defense dug in for a second down play from their own 7-yard line. As the Cinicinnat defenders crashed the line of scrimmage expected a bashing run play, Sanchez took the snap from center, faked to Jones and bootlegged out to his right. Chancey Stockey was completely in the clear when the football hit him in the hands and he loped in for the tying touchdown. Sanchez met Stockey with the rest of his teammates in the endzone for a leaping celebration. The score was suddenly tied 28-28 and the home fans in Cincinnati were standing, but silent.
The Bengals gained two first-downs on their next possession, but had to punt the ball away to the momentum-filled Jets offense. New York took over in fair field position and commenced to moving the ball into Cincinnati territory. Bengal defensive tackle, Tank Johnson, buried Sanchez at the Cincinnati 49-yard line with a third-down sack that forced the Jets to give the ball up as the Fourth Quarter wound down.
Carson Palmer and Cedric Benson managed the clock and the ball carefully, moving the Bengals down the field but could not advance beyond mid-field before the clock ran out for the Fourth Quarter and Regulation Time. Cincinnati and New York found themselves deadlocked at 28-28 and were headed into playoff overtime.
The crucial coin-toss was held at the 50-yard in front of the Cincinnati faithful in the fading sunlight. New York won the toss and immediately wanted to take possession of the ball first in the Overtime period.
Cincinnati fans stood the entire drive, urging on their obviously tired defense. Withering under the New York rushing attack, the Bengals gave ground and yards. Soon, the Jets were into Bengals territory and then into scoring position. Eleven methodical and ground-pounding plays later, New York was in position to attempt a 30-yard field goal for the win.
Now under the bright stadium lights that blared against the darkness of night, after a straight snap from center and a sure set of the ball on the ground, Jay Feely kicked the ball straight through the middle of the uprights giving the New York Jets a fantastic 31-28 victory.
Final Score: New York Jets 31 Cincinnati 28
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.