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As Gang Green Turns: He Ain’t Just Heavy; He’s My Brother

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The fact that we had the battle of the siblings in Cleveland yesterday – between Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan and his twin brother Rob (Browns’ defensive coordinator) – should have been enough drama in the usual Gang Green weekly soap opera, but let’s not forget that we’re talking about the Jets: a team that can turn your stomach in hundreds of ways during a game.


The battle of these heavyweight Ryans made for some good stories and pictures, and there was also the subplot about Cleveland’s head coach Eric Mangini getting some kind of revenge against his former team. Of course, what would any Jets game be without plenty of conflict on and off the field?

For the second week in a row the Jets went into overtime with a 20-20 tie. Now, if that’s not bad news enough for those of you who have green running through your veins like I do, let’s be honest and say that the Jets really should have lost this game (and the last three overall). If you do the math and face the facts, the Jets should be 4-5 right now instead of 7-2.

This week’s hero was not kicker Nick Folk, who could have been the goat of the game for missing three field goals, but a new hero emerged: Santonio Holmes. He did manage in just the last remaining seconds of the game to not only create a victory but also to absolve his team of its many sins, including his quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Once again this week Sanchez was a mixed bag, even though his numbers (27 for 44 for 299 yards with two TDs) would seem to suggest otherwise. He threw another interception, and he looks tentative at times. There is no shaking the feeling that Sanchez is not yet where he should be, but we can say that about the rest of the team as well.

The defense again seemed shaky, unable to hold a 17-13 lead at the half or a 20-13 one in the fourth quarter. Rex Ryan is notably always saying how great his defense can be “man-to-man,” but in truth the last few weeks have brought his whole game plan into question when teams like the Lions and Browns can be so effective against it.

This game could have devolved into a loss when Mike Adams sacked Sanchez in the third quarter, but the sophomore QB didn’t let that keep him down, though he did seem hurt on that play. Rob Ryan must have been thinking he had his brother down for the count and would have the last laugh, until he and everyone else watched Sanchez throw that pass to St. Holmes, who beat three defenders to take the ball in for the game winner and a final score of 26-20.

In the end, Rex and Rob probably could look at each other not as opponents but as brothers. One could see the disappointment in Rob Ryan’s face and the quiet happiness in usual loudmouth Rex’s countenance, but maybe the hardest hit of all was Browns’ coach Mangini, who missed this golden opportunity to stick it to his former team.

For this week the show is over, but the drama never ends in the soap opera “As Gang Green Turns.”

 

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About Victor Lana

Victor Lana has published numerous stories, articles, and poems in literary magazines and online. His books In a Dark Time (1994), A Death in Prague (2002), Move (2003), The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories (2005) and Like a Passing Shadow (2009) are available online and as e-books. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated mostly on fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with Blogcritics since July 2005, has edited many articles, was co-head sports editor with Charley Doherty, and now is a Culture and Society editor. He views Blogcritics as one of most exciting, fresh, and meaningful opportunities in his writing life.