There was a playoff feel in the week leading up to Sunday's contest between the Jets and the Vikings. One team would walk away from Week 15 a step closer to a potential playoff bid while the other would most likely have to wait to next season for an opportunity at the postseason.
The Jets came out on top due to a complete collaborative performance which included a 391-yard offensive output.
"I was really proud of the way the team prepared this week," said Jets head coach Eric Mangini after his team's convincing 26-13 victory. "I was proud of the approach that they took and the energy level that we had going into the game. This is a fun time of the year to play football. We're excited about next week too and that will be great as well."
While the Vikings busted out to a quick seven-point lead, it was the Jets who quickly countered and consistently out-played the host Vikings from that point on. The Jets' eighth victory of the season came via another Chad Pennington bounce back performance. He struck for a career-high 339 yards while completing 29 of 39 pass attempts. The chemistry between Pennington and wide receiver Laveranues Coles was on display all afternoon as the two seventh-year veterans hooked up 12 times for 144 yards and a touchdown.
With a quarterback rating of 98.1, Pennington's dominance in domes continued. In just four indoor games, Pennington has thrown nine touchdowns against only two interceptions. His 968 yards on 85 completions give him a career quarterback rating of 117.6 when taking the game inside.
"That's Chad around the clock," Coles said. "Chad has been Chad. When you get Chad going and he gets into a rhythm, he throws nice balls and gives us opportunities to make plays."
Coles is now ranked eighth on the Jets' all-time receiving list with 320 receptions. The former Florida State wideout has more than 6,500 career receiving yards as well.
"I thought Laveranues' performance was outstanding," Mangini said. "It's very typical Laveranues; he comes out and plays incredible. Each week he makes tough catches - that's what you love about the guy."
Pennington wasn't focused primarily on Coles as he hit a total of seven different receivers. Jerricho Cotchery pitched in with six catches for 56 yards. Veteran receiver Justin McCareins got into the action early with a 50-yard grab in the first half and finished the game with 70 receiving yards. McCareins' presence created yet another threat for the Vikings' secondary, opening up some more lanes for Coles to work his magic.
"Every time I have the one-on-one cover, I want the ball," Coles said. "When I work one-on-one, I look for the ball. Whenever I see single coverage I get excited."