Usually at Throwback Thursday, we pick one game from the Jets’ past against the week’s upcoming opponent and reminisce about how awful it was. Myriad games exist from Jets history that warrant a negative look back (even a lot of the wins!), and the act of harping on these fits perfectly with the self-loathing respect in which Jets fans generally operate. For a week, we’ll take a mini-break from that, perhaps because things seem pretty good in JetLand these days. It’s worth remembering some of the good times in franchise history too. Right?
But don’t fret! This week isn’t going to pull an entire 180. The Jets and Titans have played each other six times prior to this Sunday’s game. Of course, this isn’t going back to 1960 when the Jets were the Titans and the Titans were the Oilers and in Houston, but then they were the Tennessee Oilers for those two years, because it all just gets too confusing. Let’s just stick with the very-recent New York Jets vs. Tennessee Titans history.
December 1, 2003 (Monday): Jets 24, Titans 17 (Giants Stadium) – The 2003 Jets went 6-10 but this Monday night victory kept their slim playoff hopes alive, bringing their record to 5-7. The Titans were 9-2 coming in, so wow! Heck of a win boys! Chad Pennington threw two touchdowns, two picks, and finished 18-23 for 231 yards (meaning that just three of his passes on the night ended up on the ground instead of in the hands of a human being). The top three receivers in the game are all people that, at one time or another, were near the top of Jets’ fans craplist; Justin McCareins, Derrick Mason (Titans at the time) and Curtis Conway, who caught the eventual game-winning touchdown from Pennington.
September 10, 2006: Jets 23, Titans 16 (LP Field) – This was the 2006 season opener and the very beginning of the Eric Mangini era. Don’t the Jets always seem to win in Week 1 when no one expects anything of them that season? I’m reminded of Rex Ryan’s and Mark Sanchez’s debuts in Houston in 2009, a season just like 2006 which also ended in an unexpected playoff appearance (Similar to the way this season began, hmmm…). Anyway, did Pennington play one hell of a game in his return from the arm mutilation he suffered the season before: Chaddy went 24-33 for 319, chucking 2 TDs. The Jets jumped out to a 16-0 lead which, naturally, was equaled in the fourth quarter by Tennessee on Travis Henry’s second TD of the game. With just under six minutes left, Pennington engineered a 7-play, 58 yard drive that he capped by hitting Chris Baker TOUCHDOWN MAKER! for a 12-yard TD. Pennington really had to do it all, because his leading rusher that night was Derrick Blaylock, who took the torch from Curtis Martin, fumbled it and urinated on its ashes.
December 23, 2007: Titans 10, Jets 6 (LP Field) – Atrocious football game that was the featured game for this column last season. Click if you must.
November 23, 2008: Jets 34, Titans 13 (LP Field) – The second of a two-game stretch where the Jets convinced the world they were the best team in the AFC (right after a Thursday Night overtime win in Foxboro). This was Brett Favre at his very-short-lived Jet best, completing 25 of 32 and throwing two touchdowns as the Jets tore down the previously undefeated Titans. It was the peak of the 2008 season. The win moved the Jets to 8-3, but they finished 9-7 as Favre crapped the bed, or his shoulder fell off or something to that effect. In the five games after the big win over the Titans, Favre threw two touchdowns and nine (9!!!) picks as the Jets careened out of the playoffs. The season ended fittingly, with the jettisoned Pennington clinching the AFC East title with the Dolphins in the Meadowlands in Week 17. Favre went on to have an MVP-caliber season with the Vikings in 2009. Thanks.
September 27, 2009: Jets 24, Titans 17 (Giants Stadium) – As previously mentioned, the 2009 Jets surprised everyone by getting off to a great start. After winning in Houston on opening day, the Jets shocked the Patriots in Week 2 to improve to 2-0. There was no let down the following week as they hosted the Titans, which isn’t all that shocking given that the year was 2009 and the Titans started Kerry Collins at quarterback. Clad in their navy and gold Titans jerseys (against the Titans…weird), the Jets won behind an opportunistic, turnover-creating defense and a measured performance from rookie Sanchez, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for another. Obviously, this wasn’t the pinnacle of Sanchez’s career, as he did lead the Jets to four playoff wins and two AFC Championship Game appearances (seriously, look it up! It did happen, I promise!). But it’s pretty staggering to consider the severe reversal of feelings about, and aura around, Sanchez from that fall day in 2009 to the time immediately after what transpired on…
December 17, 2012 (Monday): Titans 14, Jets 10 (LP Field) – A game that could very well feature in this column’s space a few years down the road, but as goes the saying, too soon. Thanks to some staggering mediocrity in the AFC, the Jets were actually still alive on Monday, December 17, with a 6-7 record. After having been finally, mercifully benched two weeks prior, Sanchez’s career was essentially hanging in the balance. Any bad performance the rest of the way and that was pretty much it for him as the Jets quarterback, and boy howdy did the once-franchise QB fling some poop around that night. To be fair, the Jets were so thin at receiver that they brought Braylon Edwards back, and Jeff Cumberland was his leading receiver on the night. Outside of a 94-yard touchdown run by Chris Johnson, the Jets defense played well enough to win, but Sanchez’s four interceptions and fumbling of the final meaningful snap of the game did the Jets in. But hey, Tim Tebow had three carries for 15 yards, so, yeah.