Snow and rain coated the ground outside Brett Favre’s New Jersey mansion Sunday morning. The slick weather conditions weren’t ideal for playing a football game later that day, but he’s played in worse.
Favre is perhaps the best bad-weather quarterback in NFL history, having battled Nor’easters and freezing temperatures for 17 seasons in Green Bay. That should have translated into a major advantage for the Jets yesterday afternoon at Giants Stadium. The Denver Broncos, however, weren’t going to let Favre — or the weather — beat them.
“I’d much rather play in the snow,” Favre said, referring to the consistent rain that fell throughout the game. “It got the better of me today.”
The Jets (8-5) were coming off two huge wins against the New England Patriots and undefeated Tennessee Titans. There was talk that they were the best team in the AFC; there was even talk of a Jets/Giants Super Bowl. Not so fast.
“We had our Thanksgiving,” punt returner Leon Washington said after the 34-17 loss. “Now we had our humble pie.”
Washington, Thomas Jones and Dustin Keller were the three lone highlights for the Jets on offense. Washington had three catches for 60 yards, four yards rushing and 87 yards on four punt returns. Jones ran for two scores and 138 yards, while Keller caught seven passes for 77 yards.
“I feel like, as a group, we didn’t play like the way that we should play and we need to play that way as we move through the season,” Mangini said. “I’m looking for good football and consistency.”
“It’s easy to write off our lack of production based on the conditions,” Favre, who was 23-for-42 for 247 yards and an interception, said. “But that wouldn’t look good considering they didn’t have any trouble.”
The Jets’ third-ranked defense had a hard time shutting down Denver’s offensive attack. Broncos’ quarterback Jay Cutler finished 27-for-42 with 357 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Rookie back Peyton Hillis rushed for a career-high 129 yards and a score, becoming the first 100-yard rusher against the Jets’ defense this season.
Brandon Stokley and Eddie Royal each had touchdown catches for the 7-5 Broncos. Sunday’s win gave them a commanding three-game lead over the San Diego Chargers with four games left.
Mangini believes this week’s practices contributed to how his team played. He wouldn’t classify them as horrible, but said he was disappointed. The players were well aware of this.
“We had some bumps and bruises in practice so that translated to the game today,” Washington said. “We didn’t come out and execute like we wanted to in all three phases.”
“As we move forward the games get more important,” Mangini said. “It doesn’t matter what their records are.”
New York held on to first place thanks to a New England Patriots loss. With divisional games against Miami and Buffalo remaining on the schedule, their spot is not secure by any means. Miami is only one game back, last-place Buffalo is two.
“(The media) has been gassing us up for he last couple weeks like we’re a great team,” Washington said. “We have to play the last four games before you talk about how good you are.”
“This was a wake-up call,” Favre said.