There is something about a guy without a shoe scoring a touchdown that has a bit of comedy to it, and something of myth too. Cinderella lost her shoe and gained a prince; wide receiver Brad Smith lost his and helped the New York Jets (9-2) gain a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals (2-9) at New Meadowlands Stadium on Thanksgiving evening. This game was a feast to be sure for fans of Gang Green, and a reason to give thanks for head coach Rex Ryan, who hugged Smith so hard, he may have been thinking that the WR looked better than the turkey and all its trimmings dancing in his head.
This was not a game like the ones in the past few weeks, where the Jets faltered and almost lost to the Lions, Browns, and Texans. In this one the offense clicked in when it had to score points, and the defensive duo of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie helped shut down Terrell (Big Mouth) Owens and company. Owens had made some disparaging comments about Revis earlier in the week, but Revis did his talking on the field, holding TO to just seventeen yards.
The big story of the night was Smith, who took the spotlight away from Santonio Holmes, who had been the hero of the last three games. Smith scored two touchdowns, including one on an 89-yard kick-off return in which he made like Cinderfella. The lost shoe notwithstanding, Smith proved to be the Jets' best offensive weapon in the game.
Sanchez put in an acceptable but lackluster performance, going 16-for-28 for a total of 166 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Something has to change between now and next Monday night in the big showdown with the New England Patriots, who mauled the Detroit Lions (the same team who gave the Jets such a hard time two weeks ago). If Sanchez continues to play this way, the Pats are going to be walking off the field with a win.
Ryan, who alternates moments with foot in and out of his mouth, didn't waste any time to get the blood of his next opponent's blood boiling by commenting that the Patriots are the best team in football in a wise guy manner. He went on to say everyone says that "Except me." So the gloves are off and Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick has been slapped in the face. Okay, guys, choose your weapons and take thirty paces. This duel should be an exciting one.
There is plenty of time between now and next Monday for some back and forth saber rattling that should make what's going on between North and South Korea seem tame, but next Monday night's game in Foxboro Stadium will be a battle that may lead to winning the war for one of these teams this season.