EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Brett Favre said in his post-game press conference two weeks ago in a victory over Cincinnati that there are no such things as ‘ugly wins.’ After Sunday’s come from behind 28-24 victory over Kansas City, the Jet quarterback didn’t go as far as making that statement again, but did admit that overcoming adversity and mistakes has its benefits.
“I’ve been a part of a lot of those games and I have been on both sides,” Favre said. “It sure feels better to be on the winning side.”
That seemed unlikely after Brandon Flowers returned an interception – Favre’s third of the game – 91 yards to give the Chiefs a 24-21 lead with 7:48 left in the game. But the Jets were able to put together a six-play, 46-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 15-yard touchdown reception by Laveraneus Coles on an under thrown corner fade, leaving only one minute left on the game clock.
“Actually I wanted to out it a little more behind him than I did,” said Favre (28/40, 290 yards). “It was one heck of a catch.”
Coles’ status coming into the game was in doubt, as he suffered a concussion in last week’s loss at Oakland. “I made it through the game, I’m fine,” Coles said. “I take all the tests and they tell me if I can play or can’t play. I’m not a doctor.”
Two doctors cleared Coles to play, and the Jet head coach made it clear that head injuries are not taken lightly. “Even after he was cleared, we brought in another specialist to re-confirm it,” said Eric Mangini. “I think the touchdown catch with one minute left was a great indication of how he came through.”
Being a two touchdown favorite, the Jets started off looking as if they would dismiss the hapless Chiefs, who came into the game 1-5, starting a third-string quarterback (Tyler Thigpen) and without their feature running back, Larry Johnson, sitting out due to a suspension.
Leon Washington made a nifty one-handed catch to score on an 18-yard toss from Favre on the Jets opening drive. A missed 36-yard field goal by Jay Feeley and an interception by Flowers prevented the Jets from padding their lead and they led by only a touchdown after the first quarter.
The Chiefs knotted things up within the first two minutes of the second quarter when Thigpen found perennial All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez open for a 19-yard touchdown pass. Capitalizing on the turnover, Kansas City showed the crowd that they were not going away any time soon in this contest.
The final two minutes of the first half was a back-and-forth affair. Washington took a handoff right up the gut and found open field, giving the Jets, who improved to 4-3, a 14-7 lead on his 60-yard touchdown run. “I thought about that play before I got out there and knew I had a chance to score a touchdown,” Washington said, “so it’s big when you can make plays like that, especially when Kansas City is playing so well.”
And they continued to play well by going on a two-minute drive and using their time outs wisely, not a strong suit of head coach Herman Edwards when he was on the Jet sideline. Getting into field goal range due to an unexplainable soft defense played by the Jets, Thigpen took a shot in the back of the end zone with four seconds left. Originally ruled incomplete by more than one official on the field, a review later reversed the call and the 11-yard pass to Mark Bradley was ruled a touchdown, tying the game at 14.
The Jets heard the boos from the crowd as they made their way into the tunnel, but the mood changed quickly as members of the 1968 Jets Super Bowl III championship team were honored on the field form the 40th anniversary of that special win.
Once the third quarter was under way, the Chiefs took the lead with a field goal, but the Jets answered with an effective drive that resulted in a one-yard plunge into the end zone by Thomas Jones. The score remained 21-17 Jets as the fourth quarter began.
The fireworks of the Flowers and Coles touchdowns were almost trumped by Thigpen, who moved his team down to the Jet 31-yard line before throwing an incomplete pass on 4th and 1. In only his second start, the young quarterback finished 25 for 36 for 280 yards and two touchdowns.
“We did some things he felt comfortable doing,” Edwards said. “I thought the no-huddle helped him. He made some good throws and got us going.”
The Jets got going when it was necessary to get out of the game with a win, ugly and all. Even Brett Favre would have trouble defending that.