The Jets’ 22-17 win in Pittsburgh Sunday was as much a victory of the mind as the body.
Rex Ryan’s 10-4 team not only battled the snowy elements at Heinz Field, but survived a frenzied final seconds as Ben Roethlisberger appeared poised to produce a game-winning touchdown. But the Jets, their season on the line, played with just enough desperation to defend his two 10-yard end zone throws to sure-handed tight end Matt Spaeth.
Marquice Cole, all 5-foot-10 of him, chased Spaeth to the corner of the end zone on the final throw to get a finger on it and deflect it just enough to keep the tight end from hauling it in.
“There’s no more plays after that,” Cole said. “Whatever you got to do to make it happen, you just got to do it. If I had to grow a couple of inches, I would have done it.”
The heroics basically saved the Jets’ (10-4) season, though they’d still be in the playoff hunt with a loss. But a third straight loss would have been no way to go into their final two games against the Bears and Bills, with a playoff spot still up for grabs. Now, a win Sunday over Chicago clinches a second straight playoff appearance.
“We’re going to make it one way or the other,” Ryan said. “We don’t care. We don’t need anybody’s help. We’ll take care of it ourselves.”
If they play the Bears with the same desperate attitude as the last game, they’ll have a shot.
“Every game has a little desperation in it,” guard Brandon Moore said. “I think we need to play with desperation.”