Brett Favre may wish he had Dustin Keller on his team at a younger age, but thankfully for the Jets, they are playing together right now.
"I told him that I wish I could have a quarterback like him my whole entire career," said Keller, who had a career-high eight catches for 87 yards in Thursday night's 34-31 win over the New England Patriots.
Keller's 16-yard overtime reception on third-and-15 was pivotal in getting started what would become the Jets' game-winning drive.
"When I first caught that ball I thought I might be a little bit short," he said. "I kind of saw the yard markers out of the corner of my eye and I saw that I was a little bit short, so I just tried to run a little bit, but I knew I wasn't going to shake it loose. The guy was holding onto my feet so I tried to just dive over the line and we were just fortunate enough to get the first down."
In an interview with 1050 AM ESPN Radio, Keller was asked if he realized the impact of that play.
"I think in the heat of the moment you definitely don't recognize that," said the rookie tight end. "It's just another first down and we still have a lot of field to go until we either get in the end zone or kick a field goal to win the game. So at the time I wasn't really thinking about it.
"But now that you guys bring it up and I've heard about it multiple times, I kind of realize the magnitude of that play."
Keller was one of many Jets who came up big at key moments in the game. Third-year RB/KR Leon Washington was another, returning a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to add to his 7-yard TD on a short pass from Favre in the first.
But the always humble Washington was quick to share the credit with his teammates.
"When you have Brett Favre coming into the huddle, it makes everybody else in the huddle step their game up, and you know you have the chance to win games," he said. "We're just so fortunate to have a guy like that to lead us and we're so fortunate to have guys like Dustin Keller and Laveranues Coles, those guys, making big catches on that last drive and getting that win for us."
And in the second quarter, Jerricho Cotchery made a trio of plays on one scoring drive that ended with his stretching 15-yard touchdown reception. But the centerpiece of that drive was his one-handed 46-yard catch, which he brought in despite being interfered with by Pats CB Ellis Hobbs.
Cotchery was asked on a conference call today if he'd been practicing that catch in the three days of practice prior to the game.
"Yeah, I started early in the week," he said with a laugh. "It is something where you are given an opportunity to make a play and you want to do everything in your power to make that play at that time when you're given that opportunity. I'm thankful that I was able to make that play at that time."