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Plax's Small Ball Gives Big Boost to Offense

Plaxico Burress, rightly or wrongly, is one of those wideouts who is all things to a lot of people. So if one thing isn't working that well, such as the Plax long ball, those people want to know what's wrong.

Meanwhile, there is the Plaxico short game. There was nothing at all wrong with that on Sunday against CB Antoine Cason and the Chargers.

"My day was yesterday," Burress said in the Jets locker room Monday before he departed for Disney World for the rest of this week with his kids. "And it'll open up some things in the future in the red zone for everybody else."

"A couple of those plays," coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said Monday night at the "Inside the Jets" radio show, "were just that 'me-to-you' factor that we talk about all the time. 'Hey, I'm going to you, Plax, because I know you're going to make a play,' where Mark puts it in a good spot and Plax makes a great play."

Burress' day in the red zone was great in another way, since it was like almost no other receiver's day in NFL annals. His touchdown catches of 3, 4 and 3 yards from Mark Sanchez in the Jets' 27-21 come-from-behind triumph marked only the second time since the 1970 merger that any receiver has had at least three TD catches of under 5 yards in one game, and it was only the sixth time since '70 that a receiver has had three scoring grabs of under 10 yards. Here is the list of those half-dozen handy men (CAPS indicate home team): 

Put another way, Burress' 25 receiving yards (on four catches) are the second-fewest yards by a three-TD receiver in a game in league history.

These are neat distinctions for the 6'5", 232-pound wideout with the condor's wingspan. But more important for the second half of the Green & White season is what this performance means for everyone's confidence.

"It was just a breakout game for him," Schottenheimer said. "He actually had his best week of practice last week. It was great to see, so I think it's coming. I know this'll do nothing but help him feel more and more comfortable with the system, with the offense and with Mark."

"He wants to contribute, and this isn't the end for him," Sanchez said after the game. "It can still get better for both of us. There are some throws that I missed to him and that stuff we'll rep out in practice. It showed from Friday's practice. We had a great day on Friday. It was almost perfect. The ball, I think, hit the ground one time."

The other reinforcement that the Burress three-peat provided was in the Jets' red zone game. They now have scored 13 touchdowns in 21 trips inside the opponents' 20, a 61.9 percent success rate that is sixth-best in the NFL and, if it holds up for the rest of the year, will be the Jets' best red zone TD mark since the 1986 team converted at a 62.2 percent rate.

Now if the downfield game, the passes thrown by Sanchez between the 20s, comes around, look out.

"The thing about Plax is he's not singled very often," Schottenheimer said. "People know where he is, they know he's going to be sitting over there, usually as the X receiver, so a lot of times he's drawing coverage to him and we can work other things."

"That's why I come to work and work hard, to go out and play at a high level," said Burress. "You know that those times will come, but you just have to be patient."

Patience paid off with a Tri-Plex-a on Sunday. The yardage was low, the excitement high, and the promise of more to come in the second half is great.

Vote for Plax's "Moment"

Burress' three TD receptions have earned him a nomination for the NFL's Never Say Never Moment of the Week. He's in the running with the late rally staged by Tim Tebow in Denver's OT win over Miami and Mike Wallace's 95-yard catch-and-run from Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh's victory over Arizona.

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