May 20, 2024

The one workforce that has misplaced to the New York Jets within the playoffs twice this century is the Chargers

Who’s the New York Jets’ playoff MVP of the 2000s to this point?

One might legitimately argue that it’s Nate Kaeding.

Nate who?

No Jets fan of a sure age asks that query, although. Everyone knows who Nate Kaeding is.

The truth is, Nate Kaeding was my first introduction to the candy, candy, uncommon instances when issues go the Jets’ approach. I used to be simply 10 years outdated when the Jets and Chargers confronted off within the AFC Wild Card playoffs on January 8, 2005. It was my first time following a soccer season from starting to finish with a full understanding of the nuances of the sport.

Even such a candy second couldn’t come with out preliminary heartbreak, although.

Who can overlook Eric Barton’s roughing the passer penalty with seconds remaining within the recreation?

The Jets have been up 17-10, and the Chargers appeared to fail on a fourth-and-goal from the 2. Nonetheless, a forearm to Drew Brees’ face from Barton gave the Chargers new life, which they cashed in with a landing to Antonio Gates.

In extra time, after the groups traded punts on the primary two possessions, the Chargers took over at their very own 30 and marched steadily downfield. They lined up for a 40-yard subject aim, and I couldn’t take it. I left the room the place my grandfather, my brother, and I have been watching on a way-too-small display. My younger coronary heart couldn’t bear it.

I can nonetheless do not forget that second, 18 years later. From down the corridor, I heard my grandfather shout, “He missed it!” There was new life. I couldn’t imagine it.

The Jets then sealed Kaeding’s destiny with a march of their very own, culminating in a 28-yard game-winning kick from Doug Brien. Brien redeemed himself after lacking a 33-yarder on the Jets’ opening drive of the sport, though he went on to be the goat the subsequent week in Pittsburgh.

You may watch the prolonged highlights of that recreation right here. (I forgot that Al Michaels and John Madden have been on the decision!)

I’ll all the time do not forget that victory fondly however the heartbreak that got here later. Folks overlook that the 2004-05 Jets weren’t anticipated to beat the Chargers. Drew Brees was coming off an exceptional season, main San Diego to a 12-4 report and a division title. It was a reasonably large upset on the time.

5 years later…

If that first win over the Chargers was an upset, this one was a conquest.

The brash Rex Ryan-led Jets have been essentially the most hated workforce within the NFL, sneaking into the playoffs with a 9-7 report. After beating the Bengals within the Wild Card spherical, the NFL anticipated the 13-3 Philip Rivers & Co. to shut Rex’s mouth.

The sport was a defensive slugfest for a lot of the time, as San Diego led 7-3 till early within the fourth quarter. After a Philip Rivers interception to Jim Leonhard, Mark Sanchez cashed in with a two-yard landing toss to Dustin Keller. The Chargers punted on their subsequent possession, giving the Jets the ball at their very own 34.

4 performs later, on first and 10 from the Jets 47, this occurred.

By the way, that was six-time Professional Bowler and two-time first-team All-Professional Eric Weddle whom Greene greatly surprised. All Antonio Cromartie might do was give Greene an additional shove ultimately zone.

However wait. We skipped a very powerful participant: Kaeding. The Chargers kicker missed not one, not two, however THREE subject targets within the recreation. The primary was a 36-yarder on San Diego’s second possession, holding the sport scoreless. It ended his streak of 69 consecutive subject targets made inside 40 yards. The following was a 57-yarder to finish the primary half, which is excusable.

The third miss, poetically, was from 40 yards — precisely the identical distance that he missed from 5 years earlier. It saved the Jets’ lead at 17-7. The Chargers later scored a landing to make it 17-14, and the Jets confronted a fourth-and-one from San Diego’s 29 with 1:09 remaining. After all, Ryan went for it, and Thomas Jones rewarded him with a game-clinching first down.

As soon as once more, a Kaeding Jets victory led to heartbreak the next week, this time towards the Colts within the AFC Championship Sport. However that was top-of-the-line moments of the Rex period.

Listed below are the total highlights.

Dicker the Kicker

Kaeding had a 91.4% subject aim proportion in 2009. The Chargers’ present kicker, Cameron Dicker, is at 92.1% in his second NFL season.

The Jets have gotten some good subject aim luck this season, together with Graham Gano’s miss from 37 yards that enabled their surprising comeback vs. the Giants.

Can they get it once more with the ghost of Nate Kaeding overhead?

Time will inform.

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