Two Jets players with maybe just a little extra on the line for Sunday's game against New England made significant contributions to the 26-20 overtime triumph that moves the Green & White ever closer to a playoff berth.
WR Kenbrell Thompkins and RB Stevan Ridley, after all, were both Patriots as recently as early last season.
"For us, every game is a big game," Thompkins said, "but you know how you get when you play a division opponent. There's nothing against New England. I still have a lot of friends over on that side of the football. But I was looking forward to what was going on and I just went out there and tried to play hard."
Thompkins did most of his damage in the first half. He had a reception to convert a third down on the Jets' first-quarter field goal drive, then added a pair of 12-yard catches on the march to Brandon Marshall's first score, a 2-yard toss from Ryan Fitzpatrick in the second quarter.
For the game, he put in 49 offensive plays, eight days after logging 50 plays and the key 43-yard reception to set up the go-ahead field goal at Dallas.
Ridley had a similar impact, enjoying his best day with his new team coming off of his relentless rehab of the knee injury he sustained last season. He had seven carries for 36 yards and a healthy 5.1-yard average after struggling the previous six games to get much positive yardage. His 14 offensive plays were his most as a Jet.
His 13-yard burst off left tackle on the last play of the third quarter got the ball deep enough into Patriots territory for Randy Bullock's second field goal and a 20-13 lead, and after being brought to the turf by several defenders, he bounced up and seemed to send a few friendly words in the direction of the Patriots bench.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to get this one," Ridley said. "It was a hell of a team win, man, it really was, from the defense to B-Marsh to Decker to Fitz. Complementary football — we played it. And it's just coming together at the right time. The Patriots were just the next step."
Thompkins left the field late with an injury that seemed painful, yet a few plays later he was back to help the cause as the Jets began moving the ball again on their last drive of the fourth quarter and the overtime drive to Eric Decker's game-winning TD.
"Oh, I'll be fine. Trust me, I'll be fine," Thompkins said of the injury.
Asked if he thought he'd get another chance to play and beat his former team in the playoffs, he knew what had to happen first.
"It's a possibility," he said. "But we just take it one game at a time and focus on our next opponent, which is Buffalo, and we'll see how things play out."
The play counts below from the NFL play-by-play for the game include all offensive, defensive and special teams plays plus some penalty plays. The numbers sometimes are revised during the week.
|OFFENSIVE LINE||* POS||OFF||DEF||ST||Total|
|DID NOT PLAY:* Smith, Geno|
|INACTIVE: Petty, Bryce; Milliner, Dee; Bailey, Dion; Jones, Taiwan; Dozier, Dakota; Ijalana, Ben; Harris, Josh|