The first AFC Wildcard Playoff game for the 2009 season featured the New York Jets and the Cincinnati Bengals. This game was a rematch of the meeting between these two teams in Week 17. Unfortunately for the Bengals, the results were the same as in the final game of the season.
The Jets won the Wildcard game in Cincinnati, 24 – 14. The previous week, the Jets dominated the Bengals at the Meadowlands, 37 – 0. No one thought the Jets would even make postseason play, and now they are headed to a Divisional playoff game. Three weeks ago, the Jets lost to the Falcons, and Head Coack Rex Ryan had counted the team down and out. However, in Week 16, the Jets beat the Colts when the Colts elected to sit out many of their starters. That win, coupled with losses by other playoff contenders, helped them on their way to the Wildcard game. Then last week, their romping of the Bengals secured the Jets’ postseason spot.
The playoff win marks the Jets’ first postseason win since 2004. The Jets’ rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez was 12 for 15, throwing for 182 yards. This was a dramatic turnaround for the QB, since he was considered the weakest player on the team. Sanchez was the lowest-ranked passer in the playoffs, with 20 interceptions during the regular season – the second-highest in the league. Sanchez wasn’t the only rookie to shine in the Wildcard game. RB Shonn Greene ran for 135 total yards, making him the third rookie since 2000 to run 100 yards during a single playoff game.
The Jets suffered a bit of a scare prior to the game when Punter Steve Weatherford was not able to play because of a medical condition. Kicker Jay Feely had to punt for the team, his first time punting in the NFL. He completed 7 punts averaging 31 yards, and had one field goal.
The Jets advance to the Divisional playoffs, meeting the Chargers in San Diego on Sunday, January 17. Kickoff is at 4:40pm Eastern, 1:40pm Pacific.