American Football: Jets just one step from securing Super Bowl spot
So the Jets weren't all (trash) talk after all. Rex Ryan's rowdy bunch are headed to their second straight AFC championship game after New York backed up their coach's boasts with a 28-21 win on Sunday over the New England Patriots -- the team that had the best record in the NFL.
Mark Sanchez threw three touchdown passes and Tom Brady was sacked five times in the most hyped of the weekend's four post-season games -- following a week of verbal potshots from both teams.
The Jets led their fierce rivals 14-3 at half-time before Brady's two-yard touchdown pass to Alge Crumpler and Sammy Morris' run for a two-point conversion made it 14-11 late in the third quarter.
But Sanchez came right back with a seven-yard scoring pass to Santonio Holmes and New York finished the upset with Shonn Greene's 16-yard touchdown run.
The result means the Jets (13-5) kept Ryan's prediction of a Super Bowl appearance alive, while New England (14-3) lost their third straight post-season game.
Ryan has said many times that the Jets are a Super Bowl-calibre team and has irritated fans, opposing players and media with his bold comments.
Last week he said the game was a contest between him and Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Then, after Antonio Cromartie personally insulted Brady on Tuesday, Ryan said he wouldn't punish his cornerback.
The ultra-serious Belichick wasn't as kind to Wes Welker, as the wide receiver was benched for the Patriots' first series for subtle remarks apparently directed at Ryan.
Welker made several references to feet in his news conference on Thursday, interpreted by some as a dig at recent foot-fetish reports involving Ryan.
But when the game ended, Belichick walked slowly to midfield where he met Ryan, patted his conqueror on the back and shared some words.
Sanchez completed 16 of 25 passes for 194 yards and touchdowns to LaDainian Tomlinson, Braylon Edwards and Holmes. Brady, who played poorly for his second straight post-season game, was 29-for-45 for 299 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
After Greene scored the Jets' last touchdown to secure a meeting against Pittsburgh next weekend, he put the ball on the ground like a pillow and rested his head on it.
A quiet climax to a loud week.