The Jets may finally just shut up and play.
The Jets avenged their Week 13 loss to the Patriots in Sunday’s divisional round, burying the humiliation from a 45-3 rout six weeks ago. Now they face a Steelers team looking for revenge of its own.
“That game was different. Every game is different, and I don’t have a plan on what to say or whatever,” coach Rex Ryan said of trash-talking the Pats and Colts the past two weeks. “I just talk the way it is. If you can’t get motivated to win an AFC championship game, I don’t know what else you need.”
The Jets and the Steelers both need to conserve energy after emotional wins over rivals last weekend.
Last month, the Jets emerged from Heinz Field with a hard-fought 22-17 win -- their first ever win at Pittsburgh. It took a ‘bend but don’t break’ effort from their defense and a pass breakup in the end zone by Marquice Cole on the game’s last play to secure the win.
“I'm sure we're going to take some things from it," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said. "Hopefully we learn from the mistakes we made that got us beat, to correct them and not make them again."
The pivotal moment came on a Jason Taylor safety in the fourth quarter that gave the Jets a 22-17 lead. The spread made it impossible for the Steelers to tie with a field goal, which is all they would have needed if Taylor hadn’t snuffed out a run play in Pittsburgh’s own end zone.
In that game, the Jets were playing for the right to stay in the playoff hunt. This month, the Jets were fueled by hatred of their first two playoff opponents, but with the Steelers, the motivation is simply to advance to the franchise’s first Super Bowl since 1968.
“For myself, I’ve been there three years in a row,” Ryan said. “I don’t know if I can handle not winning it. I need to win this game.”
So there it is. No war of words or cheap shots.
“The only storyline [is that] we have six Lombardi Trophies,” Steelers safety Ryan Clark said.