Elster's World

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Loveable Laverneous

First a quick word that has nothing to do with the New York Jets:

Whether the timing was intentional or not, kudos to 60 Minutes for running a story about the until now closed Holocaust archives in Germany - recently opened to the public for the first time. Millions and millions of files of all the people killed by the Nazis were made public. The information that these murderers collected (including mail records for the prisoners - like they had people alive to even send mail) was unbelieveable.

The show even brought three survivors to the archives to examine records about themselves from when they were prisoners. They saw their own handwriting on their admittance cards to camps like Buchenwald and matched the serial numbers on the cards to the numbers forever seared into their own flesh. Very powerful stuff.

At a time when the Iranian president is denything that the Holocaust even took place, 60 Minutes showed 16 MILES OF DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE THAT IT DID - including Adolph Hitler's birthday present, that a Jew would be killed every 2 minutes.

One more note - it occured to me as I watched this that the last of the living witnesses to the Holocaust are slowly dying out. The onus will be doubled on every living Jew to NEVER FORGET even when all the survivors are gone.

After last week’s disappointing loss to the Buffalo Bills, this week’s New York Jets tilt with the Minnesota Vikings became an absolute must win in terms of playoff implications. And while that sentence was ugly (as was the game at times), there was nothing ugly about the W the Jets earned after 60 minutes of play.

The game started horrifically as Pennington fumbled the ball on the second play of the game (and rookie center Nick Mangold lying on the ground with an apparent leg injury), setting up a Brad Johnson TD toss and a quick 7-0 Vikings lead. It seemed as though the wheels, which had begun falling off the Jets season last week, were going to completely snap off early. But on the very next drive (with Mangold back at center and uninjured), Pennington led the Jets on a beautiful, mostly pass drive, and they quickly tied the score at 7-7.

And that set the trend for the entire game. Minnesota’s defense came into the game allowing less that 55 yards a game rushing and the jets used a short, precision passing attack in lieu of running the football. The results, Pennington went 23 of 39 for 339 yards, one touchdown toss and one terrible interception (which had the added negative bonus of almost killing Laverneous Coles – more on him in a second). They got tough inside yards from Cedric Houston (21 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown) and ran the passing game to perfection. Pennington even took a few shots down the field, including a 52 yard pitch and catch with Justin Mcareins.

The defense held up its end as well – giving up only 68 yards in the ground. Much of the Vikings 270 yards in the air came with the game well decided.

Mike Nugent (dare we say the accurate, long footed Mike Nugent?) kicked four field goals after a botched hold on his first attempt, including a 52 yarder, and special teams were solid in all aspects. Wallace Wright continues to be effective as a gunner on punts and kickoffs.

But the real star of the game, start to finish, was Laverneous Coles. His 12 catches for 144 yards and a score told half the story. He made at least two sensational grabs and a tough touchdown reception as well. He led a Jets receiving corps which made all the catches – no bad drops, no bobbles – they caught everything thrown at them.

The coaching staff did a nice job of getting the team to rebound from an atrocious previous week and coordinator Brian Schottenheimer came up with the perfect offensive game plan to counter the Vikings run defense. We will simply pretend that the 3 false start penalties on four plays in one series in the second half (completely inexcusable) never happened.

Will the Jets make the playoffs? It’s still too early to tell. But had the Jets rolled over after last week’s tough loss, it would have been over. Now the Jets go to Miami for a Christmas Day battle with the Dolphins (6-8) and their season will be on the line. And if they win, they play New Year’s Eve against the Raiders and their season will still be on the line. Like Joe said last week, meaningful games in December.

And when your team went 4-12 the year before, that’s a big deal.

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