Throwback Thursday is a feature at Turn On The Jets, where we take a stroll down Jets Memory Lane and reminisce about past great Jets games against the upcoming week’s opponent. (Word to be taken with an enormous grain of salt: “great”)
The Jets and Bills have played against each other 104 times in the regular season (the all-time series actually dates back to 1960, when the Jets were the Titans). It’s a series that’s been marked by stretches of dominance by one team over the other. From 1984 through their first meeting in 1987, the Jets won seven straight (Ken O’Brien FTW) only for the Bills to respond by ripping off 10 straight of their own into 1992. Currently, the Jets are mostly owning the Bills, by winning eight out of the last ten.
Often times in this intra-state rivalry (thought not really, because, Buffalo), one team is far better than the other. This Sunday, I don’t think either team has an unequivocal claim of superiority over the other. Both teams have rookie – thus, shaky – quarterback situations, are generally thin at the skill positions and have good defenses. Kind of like when they met in late October six seasons ago…
At the time…
Billboard No. 1 song in the U.S.: “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” by Soulja Boy. Anyone who was in college when this song was popular can attest to how irritating it became. For some reason, people (read: drunk girls) thought it was funny to put this song on the TouchTunes and do the entire stupid dance in the middle of the bar. NO.
No. 1 movie in the U.S.: “Saw IV”. I’ve never seen a Saw film. Are they still making Saw films? Didn’t the first one star both Cary Elwes and Danny Glover? How can you make a horror movie with that combo? Ok, I’m done asking questions about Saw movies. On to the (debatable) football.
Jets’ record coming in: 1-6. Finished 4-12. Aside from crashing back down to earth during the 2007 calendar year, Eric Mangini also appeared in a bizarre Motorola Razr commerical, as well as this:
Bills’ record coming in: 2-4. Finished 7-9 with Trent Edwards and J.P. Losman splitting the QB duties and Dick Jauron patrolling the sidelines. That, folks, is impressive.
After 2006′s surprise run to the playoffs thanks to a healthy Chad Pennington and the businesslike approach of Eric Mangini, the 2007 season was the atypical “Jets’ Reality Check” season that is required by law to happen every four years or so. Pennington fought early injuries, meaning the Jets got off to a horrible start and were just about out of it by mid October, which is always fun. In Week 8 they hosted the Bills, at Giants Stadium, with the starting quarterback matchup of a zero-armed Chad Pennington vs. Trent Edwards, a 4:05 kickoff time, Jerome Boger at ref, and – thought I don’t have proof of this – likely Ian Eagle and Solomon Wilcots on the call. It had to be them, right?
The game had all the ingredients of a total vomitfest, and boy did the Jets and Bills deliver the goods. But you wouldn’t have known that by how the game started. The Bills took the opening kickoff and, from their own 24-yard-line, embarked on a 16-play, 64-yard, over 10 minute drive that ended in a Rian Lindell field goal. That’s some excellent bend-and-don’t-break defense there, you guys.
So how did the Jets respond? With a long, drawn-out, anti-climactic drive of their own, of course. The Jets took the ball from their own 13 with 4:53 left in the first quarter and played as though they were perhaps already trying to run the clock down and get into halftime at 3-3. Close! Chad Pennington had a drive that might as well just be called a “Chad Pennington”, going 5-of-5 for 33 yards, while Thomas Jones and Leon Washington combined for 41 rushing yards. Alas, the Jets had to settle for a 27-yard Mike Nugent field goal. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if the Jets actually scored again, which, naturally, they did not.
The Jets remaining 10 drives ended in this order: punt, fumble, end of half, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, interception, interception. Five of those drives went for single-digit yardage. Thankfully for the Jets, they were going up against Trent Edwards, so the Bills didn’t show much interest in that whole offense thing either until they made a QB switch to J.P. Losman. The Bills took a 6-3 lead early in the 4th quarter, which set up the biggest play of the game and a play that just about embodies all of Jets history. With just under four minutes left, Losman dropped back from his own 15 and flung a pass down the right sideline in the direction of Lee Evans, who was being blanketed by rookie Darrelle Revis. Evans and Revis both appeared share possession of the ball as they returned to ground, where safety Abram Elam launched towards the pair, hoping to knock the ball loose. Instead, Elam caromed into Revis, freeing Evans and allowing him to waltz in for the game’s lone touchdown.
Having enough of Pennington and the game still within reach, Mangini said “You bring on Losman? Well I’ll raise you a Kellen Clemens”, and now the game had a brilliant triumvirate of terrible quarterbacks. Clemens had two drives to try and tie the game and threw two picks.
Ballgame, Bills 13, Jets 3.
I really don’t think that this Sunday’s game could possibly be as bad as what we just recapped. If everyone’s healthy, at least the game has two young, promising (we think?) quarterbacks. Although, I suppose back on October 28, 2006, Bills fans were excited about the possibility of J.P. Losman as a long-term starter, while I know for a fact there were Jets fans who pined for Kellen Clemens.
The lesson here? Enjoy the unknown while it still exists.
Thanks to pro-football-reference.com for the box score.