AFC: Jets await rematch with Colts
Published: Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 2:45 p.m.
Florham Park, N.J.
Rex Ryan held his tongue for a change. The swagger was temporarily put away Monday, with his typical bluster tamed by a 4 a.m. arrival home from the West Coast.
But make no mistake: The Jets players want the chance to prove their Week 16 victory over Peyton Manning and the Colts was no handout Christmas gift.
"No question about it," tackle Damien Woody said Monday. "Everybody says, 'Oh, Peyton didn't play the whole game.' It was a competitive game. Now, there are no more excuses.
"There's nothing else that can be said because everyone will have their top guns playing. This is our opportunity to show who is the better team."
The Jets have not forgotten that many thought their 29-15 victory Dec. 27 - which snapped the Colts' record 23-game winning streak and helped the Jets earn a postseason berth - was not earned.
Instead, the majority of fans and media credited Colts coach Jim Caldwell, who sat four-time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning late in the third quarter along with Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai in the second half, for gifting the Jets a free ticket to the playoffs.
The Jets pounced on rookie quarterback Curtis Painter, and the Colts' 15-10 lead soon evaporated. But unlike his players, Ryan said he doesn't believe the Jets have "unfinished business" to take care of against the Colts.
"Hey, there's no added motivation on our part," the weary-eyed coach said. ". . . Did they pull their guys? Absolutely. They earned that right, I said that from Day 1. But this one - who cares?
"If we don't beat them now, no one's going to care about all that other stuff ... We'll never know what would've happened then. But this day ... we're coming after them and they're coming after us. And the best team will win."
Sunday's rematch at Lucas Oil Stadium will pit Manning against the league's stingiest defense - and the Jets are looking forward to the challenge.
"This is the perfect script for us, man," Woody said. "We couldn't ask for a better script right now than getting a chance to play the Colts again ... This could be a redemption factor for us. The guys are pumped up, psyched and ready to go out there and try to beat a really good Colts football team."
Said defensive end Shaun Ellis: "When we're clicking on all cylinders, we feel like we can stop anybody. Or at least make it hard for teams to put up points on us."
The high-scoring Chargers found that out Sunday, losing, 17-14, to the Jets in an AFC divisional game.
Starting with the win at Indianapolis, the Jets have rattled off four straight impressive and very unexpected victories to reach the AFC title game. Still, they don't believe they've quieted the skeptics. But that's OK, tackle Mike DeVito said.
"I think we kind of like the doubters," he said. "We kind of like being the underdogs because that gives us a lot of motivation. People are still not giving us the credit - No. 1 defense, No. 1 running game - and we're still not getting the credit for where we're at now. We're going to keep playing that underdog role and keep playing like we're doing."
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