Dwight Lowery broke into a Superman routine, extending his arms as he began running to the Jets' sideline.
The second-year cornerback had just knocked down the Patriots' last-ditch attempt, breaking up Tom Brady's fourth-down pass to Joey Galloway with the Patriots backed up at their own 28-yard line, trailing by seven points with 1:02 left.
It wasn't quite like thwarting the final gasp by an opponent to seal a Super Bowl. Still, this wasn't just any normal game, not with the bad blood that's been spilled between the teams that went at it for a little more than three hours at Giants Stadium Sunday.
The Jets talked all week about how they were tired of the Patriots kicking them around in their own home, making it clear they weren't about to let their archrivals escape the Meadowlands with their ninth straight win over them. They backed up all their brash words in the only way possible: by scoring a gritty 16-9 victory over the Patriots in a supercharged, playoff-type atmosphere.
"We're a football team that should be respected," Rex Ryan said. "Sometimes we talk a little bit, but only because we have confidence in our football team. We believe it to be true that we are an outstanding football team. We have to go out and show it each week."
The Jets made one of the league's top offenses look rather pedestrian with another excellent defensive showing, blanking them in the second half. They didn't let the Patriots score a touchdown on any of their three trips to the red zone, something that hadn't happened since Oct. 26, 2003.
The 2-0 Jets, who haven't allowed a touchdown, limited the Patriots to 102 total yards in the final 30 minutes. Tom Brady was harassed and chased out of the pocket consistently, causing erratic throws. They weren't about to let Brady stay relaxed and pick them apart behind his protective line, and the Jets threw multiple looks at the two-time Super Bowl MVP, never letting him get much of a chance to look for big-play wide receiver Randy Moss.
Moss was bottled up by Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, catching four passes for 24 yards after grabbing 12 in the season opener.
"We have tremendous depth and chemistry," Jets linebacker Bart Scott said. "We are just fighting and scrapping. It wasn't just one guy. Everybody stepped up and made plays."
The Jets needed an offensive explosion of sorts in the second half after a lackluster first half that produced a minuscule 57 yards overall, which included minus-2 yards via the air. With the Jets trailing 9-3, rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez and the offense quickly got in the groove at the outset of the second half. The Jets marched down the field rapidly in three plays in part because of Sanchez's 45-yard completion to Jerricho Cotchery on the half's initial play from scrimmage.
Two plays later, Sanchez found safety blanket Dustin Keller in the back of the end zone, giving the Jets a 10-9 lead - their first of the game - just 1:03 into the half.
"On that touchdown pass, I held the ball, I reset it, I reset it again, I patted it twice and then I ended up throwing it," said Sanchez, who was 11-for-17 for 148 yards and a touchdown in the second half. "That's amazing against a great defense."
Keller said: "He put it right where it needed to be so I could just get my two feet in. I was worried for a second. I wasn't sure if I got my feet in. I was about to be real -- off. But it ended up being good."
Jay Feely added field goals of 24 and 39 yards, giving the Jets just enough breathing room to end the Pats' mastery at the Meadowlands.
"Like Obama says, 'It's time for change,' " running back and kick returner Leon Washington said. "That's over. This is a new deal going on right now. So we're loving it, we're celebrating it right now. We knew we could beat this team. It's just that we haven't beaten them at home, so it was really good to get a win at home."