In honor of America’s birthday, Jets X-Factor looks back on the finest fourth-quarter fireworks in NY Jets history.
Happy Fourth of July!
Before the fireworks go off across the Tri-State area, Jets X-Factor looks back on the most lucrative fourth quarters, in terms of points, in New York Jets history.
T-4. 9/28/08: Cardinal Offense (22 vs. ARI)
Technically speaking, we should be commemorating the best second quarters in Jets history. The Continental Congress, after all, made the vote for independence on July 2, but it was only declared two days later.
Fortunately, the Jets’ 2008 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals gives us ample opportunity to do both. After a scoreless first, the Jets put up a jaw-dropping 34 points on the future NFC champions. Laveranues Coles was the recipient of three Brett Favre touchdown passes while Darrelle Revis took back a Kurt Warner interception.
Nonetheless, the firey Cardinals struck back with three third-quarter touchdowns on the ground, two coming from Edgerrin James. But the Jets put up 22 in the final frame, with Favre finding Jerricho Cotchery twice to rebuild the lead.
Five years before Taylor Swift did, the Jets felt 22 when they opted to go for a double after Favre’s sixth touchdown pass, this one to Dustin Keller. Leon Washington punched in the final couple scores in the Jets’ 56-35 triumph.
T-4. 12/12/99: Key Party (22 vs. MIA)
Perhaps the Dolphins should’ve seen the Monday night, fourth-quarter onslaught coming. Less than a full calendar year before, the Jets put 22 on Miami in a much more humble comeback, as they trailed 13-6 entering the final frame of what became a 28-20 win.
Playing out the stretch after losing Testaverde to an injury in the opening week of their AFC East title defense, the Jets’ comeback erased the Dolphins’ lead through two Keyshawn Johnson touchdown passes from Ray Lucas. The latter came on a jaw-dropping one-handed reception of a 24-yard pass, giving the Jets the lead for good.
After kicker John Hall made it a two-possession game, Omar Stoudemire ended Miami’s desperate comeback effort by taking an interception of Dan Marino back 67 yards for the clinching score. That pass wound up being the final attempt for Marino at Giants Stadium, as he would retire in the ensuing offseason.
That win over Miami set up an inspirational final stretch for the Bill Parcells era. It was the first of four final victories to round out the season, all of them coming against playoff-bound squads (Miami twice, Dallas, and Seattle).
3. 12/10/78: Here’s To You, Mr. Robinson (24 @ CLE)
The Jets’ finest fourth-quarter output on the road, alas, came in a crucial loss.
Entering the penultimate week of the 1978 season, New York needed a win over the Cleveland Browns to keep their playoff hopes alive, sitting at 8-6 and one game behind Houston for the final wild card. The dream appeared dead with 15 minutes to go, as the Jets trailed the Browns 27-10.
But Matt Robinson overcame four interceptions to keep the Jets’ postseason dream alive. The quarter opened with two scoring passes to Mickey Shuler and Bruce Harper before a Pat Leahy field goal and Kevin Long’s rushing score appeared to give the Jets the crucial victory. It was part of an otherwise career-best afternoon for Robinson (289 yards, three touchdowns overall), a ninth-round pick pressed into starting service after Richard Todd’s early injury.
Alas for the Jets, Cleveland had a miracle of its own in store. Brian Sipe would find Calvin Hill with 14 seconds to go to send the game into overtime before Don Cockroft snuffed out the playoff light with a 22-yard field goal in overtime.
2. 10/27/68: Joe’s Brewin’ Boston (28 vs. BOS)
The Jets’ Super Bowl season is often remembered for the rushing efforts of Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer. But on a Sunday at Shea Stadium, reserve rusher Billy Joe became one of the finer one-game wonders in Jets history.
Joe, the 1963 AFL Rookie of the Year, almost single-handedly put away the Boston Patriots. After backup quarterback Babe Parilli opened the frame on a short scoring rush, Joe earned the last three six-pointers to score an AFL-record three touchdowns in a single quarter. The Jets would win the game 48-14, their best scoring output en route to the championship in Miami.
Away from New York, Joe went on to become one of the most accomplished head coaches in the history of historically black college and university football. His 245 HBCU wins over 39 seasons (1972-2010) are second only to Eddie Robinson.
1. 10/23/00: Testaverde’s 30 (30 pts. vs MIA)
Perhaps the most shocking thing about the famous “Monday Night Miracle” is that it wasn’t a slow and gradual effort. Rather, the Jets’ comeback from a 30-7 Miami Dolphins lead was made entirely over the final 15 minutes.
Things started inconspicuously enough through a 30-yard scoring hookup between Vinny Testaverde and Laveranues Coles followed by a missed two-point conversion. Testaverde, however, made up for the missed double with three more passing scores.
Jermaine Wiggins and Wayne Chrebet caught the first two, while Jumbo Elliott’s tackle-eligible tally re-tied the game with 42 seconds to go. John Hall earned the other points through extra points and a 34-yard field goal before winning it in overtime from 40 yards out.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags