Anchored behind the powerful protection of their offensive line, the New York Jets played one of their most complete games of the season, allowing Mark Sanchez (USC) to have a career passing day.
The Jets now join the list of this year's contenders for the third annual Madden Protectors Award, presented by Prilosec OTC. The award honors the NFL's best offensive line and will be presented during the week of Super Bowl XLVI, which will be played on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis. Past Madden Protectors Award recipients include the New England Patriots (2010) and the New Orleans Saints (2009).
The Madden Protectors Award *recognizes the fundamental role offensive linemen play in their teams' success by providing consistent and powerful protection day in and day out, just as Prilosec OTC can provide 24-hour heartburn protection when used as directed for 14 days. For more information on the *Madden Protectors Award presented by Prilosec OTC, visit nfl.com/prilosecotc.
The Jets needed a 16-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to Santonio Holmes (Ohio State) with just over a minute remaining to seal the win against the Bills and keep their team in the hunt for a spot in the playoffs. The offensive line provided great protection and allowed Sanchez to throw a career-high four touchdown passes in the game.
During the game-winning drive, on a crucial third down, Plaxico Burress (Michigan State) made a terrific 18-yard catch along the sideline that set up the touchdown pass to Holmes. The Jets were also able to rush for 138 yards, which included 78 yards from Shonn Greene (Iowa).
"One of the keys to the Jets victory was the play of their offensive line, giving time for Mark Sanchez to have one of his best days as a pro," said Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach John Madden.
Starting Sunday's game on the offensive line for the Jets were tackles D'Brickashaw Ferguson (Virginia) and Wayne Hunter (Hawaii); guards Brandon Moore (Illinois) and Matt Slauson (Nebraska); and center Nick Mangold (Ohio State). Vladimir Ducasse (Massachusetts) and Caleb Schlauderaff (Utah) also saw action on the Jets line on Sunday. Bill Callahan is the Jets' offensive line coach. The assistant offensive line coach is Mike Devlin.
"The protection was great the whole game," head coach Rex Ryan said. "Our offensive line did a tremendous job there, and Mark was able to buy some time and kept his eyes downfield to make some big throws."
Other offensive lines from around the league delivering powerful protection during Week 12 play included the New Orleans Saints (577 total yards, 372 passing yards, 205 rushing yards, 0 sacks allowed), Arizona Cardinals (374 total yards, 106 passing yards, 268 rushing yards), Denver Broncos (349 total yards, 141 passing yards, 208 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed, 1 QB hit allowed), Tennessee Titans (352 total yards, 150 passing yards, 202 rushing yards, 2 sacks allowed) and New England Patriots (457 total yards, 353 passing yards, 104 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed).