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Jets' road to the AFC title game

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Recent posts by Eli Kaberon

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Posted Jan. 20, 2011 @ 11 p.m. ET
By Eli Kaberon

As the Jets prepare to face the Steelers with a trip to Super Bowl XLV on the line, PFW takes a look back at how the New York ended up in the AFC championship game by looking at its week-by-week results:

Week One
Ravens 10, Jets 9
In a prime-time opening of their new stadium, the Jets couldn't muster much offense in a loss to the Ravens. QB Mark Sanchez rarely tested the Baltimore secondary, completing only one pass longer than 10 yards on 21 attempts, gaining only 74 yards through the air. Stout defense kept the Jets in it, and Sanchez had a chance to lead the team to victory at the end, but a fourth-down pass to TE Dustin Keller came up one yard short, giving the ball back to the Ravens to run out the clock.

Week Two
Jets 28, Patriots 14
CB Darrelle Revis was burned for a TD in the first half and went out with an injury in the second, but the Jets didn't need their star corner in a huge win over the Patriots. Sanchez tossed three TD passes, and the defense intercepted QB Tom Brady twice, as the Jets earned an impressive victory over their AFC East rivals.

Week Three
Jets 31, Dolphins 23
Days after being charged for driving while intoxicated, which led to a first-quarter suspension, WR Braylon Edwards had a 67-yard touchdown catch to help lead the Jets past the Dolphins in a Sunday night battle. Miami was driving down the field late looking to tie the game, but a CB Drew Coleman interception in the endzone with 27 seconds remaining sealed the win.

Week Four
Jets 38, Bills 14
Everything was working for the offense in Buffalo. RBs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene each gained more than 115 yards on the ground, and Sanchez tossed two TD passes to Keller, in a dominant victory against the Bills. The Jets finished with a season-high 273 rushing yards.

Week Five
Jets 29, Vikings 20
Former Jets QB Brett Favre and new Vikings WR Randy Moss received most of the pregame attention for the Monday-night battle, but it was the Jets' defense and special teams that did most of the work during the game. PK Nick Folk drilled five field goals, and CB Dwight Lowery's 26-yard interception return for a TD with 90 seconds remaining carried the Jets to victory.

Week Six
Jets 24, Broncos 20
After Sanchez threw his first two interceptions of the season, the Jets rallied to beat the Broncos behind two Tomlinson TD runs. The second of those came with 1:13 remaining, a two-yard rush that followed a controversial pass-interference call on Broncos FS Renaldo Hill, who pulled down Jets WR Santonio Holmes near the goal line to set up the winning TD.

Week Eight
Packers 9, Jets 0
Following a Week Seven bye, the offense took another Sunday off in a dreadful loss at home to the Packers. Sanchez tossed two interceptions and P Steve Weatherford's fake punt attempt came up one yard short, snapping New York's five-game winning streak.

Week Nine
Jets 23, Lions 20 (OT)
The Jets scored 10 points in the final 2:46 of regulation to push their game against the Lions into overtime, then won it on a 30-yard field goal by Folk to top Detroit. The game-winning kick was set up by a 52-yard bomb from Sanchez to Holmes, which helped the QB pile up a career-high 336 passing yards.

Week 10
Jets 26, Browns 20 (OT)
Holmes helped pull out an OT victory again vs. the Browns, as the Jets became the first team in NFL history to win consecutive road overtime games. The receiver caught a quick slant, then dashed into the endzone for a 37-yard TD. It appeared the game was going to end in a tie, but Browns head coach Eric Mangini's decision to pass deep in his own end instead of running out the clock allowed the Jets to have one final chance at scoring, capped by Holmes' score with 16 seconds left in OT.

Week 11
Jets 30, Texans 27
It didn't require more than 60 minutes, but once again, it was Sanchez and Holmes hooking up late to give the Jets a dramatic win. The duo connected on a six-yard TD with 10 seconds remaining, lifting New York past the Texans after the Jets had blown a 13-point fourth-quarter lead.

Week 12
Jets 26, Bengals 10
Jets fans were thankful for WR-KR Brad Smith on Thanksgiving, as Smith scored two TDs in leading New York past the Bengals in a prime-time contest. Smith took a reverse 53 yards to the house in the third quarter, and then returned a kickoff 89 yards (with only one shoe) in the fourth to cement the win.

Week 13
Patriots 45, Jets 3
The Jets picked a poor time to play their worst game of the year, as they were dominated in every facet of the game in a blowout loss to the Patriots on "Monday Night Football," essentially eliminating their chances to win the AFC East. Head coach Rex Ryan wouldn't let his team think about the humiliation for too long, however, as the game ball was buried once the team returned to New York.

Week 14
Dolphins 10, Jets 6
Six days after the Patriots defeat, things went from bad to worse for the Jets in a  loss to the Dolphins back at New Meadowlands Stadium. Despite limiting Miami to only six first downs all game long, the New York offense couldn't generate anything, turning the ball over twice in a sloppy effort by the unit.

Week 15
Jets 22, Steelers 17
Special teams were truly special in a surprising win in Pittsburgh. Smith returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and Weatherford had three punts downed inside the Pittsburgh eight-yard-line, helping the Jets win the field-position battle and the gam. It also kept them in the hunt for a wild-card berth.

Week 16
Bears 38, Jets 34
It wasn't exactly how they planned on entering the postseason, but following a close loss to the Bears, the Jets learned they were playoff-bound. New York's offense played its best game in weeks vs. Chicago, with Sanchez throwing for 269 yards and both Greene and Tomlinson rushing for touchdowns.

Week 17
Jets 38, Bills 7
With nothing to play for, many of the Jets' stars rested in the regular-season finale against Buffalo. It didn't seem to matter, as the backups did a great job, in an easy win. The defense forced six turnovers, backup QB Mark Brunell threw two TDs and rookie RB Joe McKnight rushed for 158 yards in the blowout.

Wild Card
Jets 17, Colts 16
Ryan called his team's matchup with Peyton Manning and the Colts "personal" after Indy beat the Jets in last season's AFC championship game. He got revenge, thanks to a clutch performance from Sanchez, who drove the offense down the field in the final 50 seconds to set up a game-winning 32-yard field goal by Folk.

Jets 28, Patriots 21
Looking to avenge their loss to New England from six weeks earlier, the Jets completely changed their defensive game plan, dropping more players into coverage instead of blitzing and forcing Tom Brady to navigate his way down the field slowly. The switch worked, as New York defenders finished with five sacks and an interception in the shocking upset of the top-seeded Pats.

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