David Nelson knows you take them one game at a time. He also knows that you only have a short time in the NFL to celebrate a win, and when the win comes over the Patriots, you savor it all you can.
"I just joined this team three weeks ago, but I do know what it's like to play the Patriots and how much you want to beat them," said Nelson right after he contributed four receptions for 80 yards to our 30-27 overtime conquest of the Pats on Sunday. "This is my second time beating New England, and it gets sweeter every time."
His first time came in 2011, when he was a member of the Buffalo Bills. Game 3 at home that year started predictably enough as the Bills fell behind the Patriots, 21-0, with six minutes to go in the first half. But the Bills chipped away the rest of the game and pulled out the 34-31 victory at the final gun after a 70-yard drive to a Rian Lindell field goal.
From the outside, there might've been a bit of a similarity between that game and Sunday's contest, in which the Jets started hot, then flagged through the second quarter as the Pats opened their 21-10 lead at halftime.
But Nelson felt what everyone who watched the game saw at the start of the third quarter.
"It was just the way we came out in the second half, from the first play in the second half to the very last play of the game," he said. "Guys came together, went out there and played as hard as they could because they knew that we could win this game. I'm so proud of this team. I'm so proud of the way they came together in the second half and didn't give up and fought to the finish."
There's a lot of that pride going around these days. Nelson, a three-week Jet feels it. Josh Cribbs, who was a six-day-old Jet on Sunday, talked after the game about how different the feeling was here than in Cleveland. The guys in the locker room continue to compliment their teammates and praise the teamwork that has gotten us to this unlikely, to some, 4-3 perch.
But as head coach Rex Ryan continues to preach, the Jets haven't arrived anywhere yet and much hard work remains, especially this week, when the team comes back from its Victory Monday and today's off day to shift into gear Wednesday on their next first-place opponent, the Bengals at Cincinnati on Sunday.
As happy as Nelson appears to be a new, contributing Jet, he knows that's the way it has to be.
"Whenever you're able to step up and finish the job and beat a team that's kind of had your number for a while, it's extremely gratifying," he said. "For us, this was a huge accomplishment. But at the same time we've got to build off of this and get ready for next week."
One Last Look Back
Here are a few of the lingering highlights of topping Tom Brady and the Patriots for the first time since the 2010 AFC Divisional Round Game:
■ Antonio Allen's pick-six was only the second one Brady's ever thrown against us. The only other one: Former teammate Ty Law took Tom 74 yards the other way early in Game 15 of the '05 season.
■ Sunday was the first time we held Brady to under 50% passing in two games in a season. In his first 23 starts against us he was under 50% only once (23-for-47 in our 16-9 win in Game 2 of the '09 season). In his last two starts he's been under 50/50 twice.
■ The 19 punts by the Patriots in this year's home-and-home series are not only the most in a season against the Jets by the Brady Pats but also the most in a season against the Jets by any AFC East foe since the 1970 merger.
■ Similarly, the Pats combined in the two games vs. the Jets to convert just five of their 30 third-down conversions. The 16.7% rate is the third-lowest third-down rate by a division opponent since 1970, trailing only the 13.0% by the Colts in 1990 (3-for-23) and the 15.0% by the '92 Dolphins (3-for-20).