The letters “A-C-L” are ones that a football team never wants to see on its own medical report, especially with regard to a game-changing defensive star.
Likewise, the letters “A-C-W” – as in A Costly Win – signify a state that same team would never want to consider after a big victory, the type which the New York Jets had on the road, in overtime, over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon.
Although the Jets (2-1) were happy to overcome deficits of 10-0 and 17-10 against their AFC East rival Dolphins (1-2), ultimately winning 23-20 on a 33-yard field goal by kicker Nick Folk in with 6:04 left in extra time, they now face the possibility of finishing the rest of their season without arguably the NFL’s best cornerback, Darrelle Revis, whose left knee buckled late in the third quarter.
As of late Sunday night, reports were that Revis tore his left anterior cruciate ligament and could likely be sidelined for the remainder of the year, although the All-Pro shutdown cornerback will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging on Monday to determine the extent of the damage to his knee.
New York felt the loss of the Revis almost immediately against Miami.
Three plays after Revis left the game, wide receiver Davone Bess beat safety Eric Smith for a 14-yard gain to the New York 29-yard line, and an unnecessary roughness penalty on Smith tacked on an additional 15 yards to the end of the play.
Revis’ replacement, fellow cornerback Kyle Wilson, was flagged for a 12-yard pass interference penalty on the very next play, to give the Dolphins a first-and-goal at the Jets’ 2-yard line, after which Miami punched the ball into the end zone on a one-yard run by fullback Jorvorski Lane to take a 17-10 lead with 1:45 left in the third quarter.
Fortunately for the Jets, quarterback Mark Sanchez overcame a big mistake – missing wide open tight end Jeff Cumberland in the end zone on what should have been a game-tying touchdown pass on the game’s next drive.
Despite having its own first-and-goal during that series, New York merely settled for a field goal by Folk, to get to within 17-13, but three Jets possessions later, Sanchez completed passes of 18, 19 and 15 yards (although the 19-yarder was partially called back for a holding penalty) to move his team into the red zone, and then, into the end zone.
A 7-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to wide receiver Jeremy Kerley gave New York its first lead of the game, 20-17, with 3:01 left.
However, Revis’ absence would again play a role in helping the Dolphins’ offense as Bess drew a second pass interference flag on Wilson, who was whistled for a 19-yard penalty which set up a first down for Miami at the Jets’ 23-yard line.
The Dolphins didn’t gain another yard while throwing incomplete on their next three plays, but the error by Wilson was enough to let Miami send the game to overtime on a 41-yard field goal that tied the score at 20 apiece with just 16 seconds left in regulation.
And, Wilson’s inability to cover Bess cleanly could have even cost the Jets the game, as Miami missed a 48-yard field goal in overtime and Folk subsequently had a first attempt at a game-winning kick blocked.
That try was negated by a Dolphins time out though, and given a reprieve, Folk came through to win the game and temporarily take the spotlight off of the real story of New York losing a major piece of its defense until quite possibly, next season.
It’s no secret that the Jets build much of their entire defensive scheme around Revis, who in Week 1, came up with a key interception early in New York’s rout over Buffalo, but who sat out the Jets’ 27-10 loss in Pittsburgh last week with slight concussion.
Seeing Revis unable to return to the field for the rest of the season would be a major headache for the New York, and it’s why the Jets are hoping against hope that the win in Miami doesn’t mean “ACW” for them, and that their shutdown corner isn’t simply shut down until next year.
For their sake, the acronym MRI better not reveal an ACL, but rather stand for “Many Revis Interceptions” yet to come for their cornerback whom they will absolutely need back – if not for the pair of Super Bowl contenders (San Francisco and Houston) looming next on their schedule, then soon thereafter.