It took seven games too long in some Jets fans' eyes, but Plaxico Burress finally did today what he was supposed to do during the first game of the season: be the red zone threat the Jets haven't had for years.
In the New York Jets' 27-21 comeback win over the incoming 4-1 San Diego Chargers, Burress had the big breakout game the Jets, and more importantly, he himself had been waiting for. He caught three touchdown passes-two three-yarders and one four-yarder-using his 6'5, 232 pound frame to the team's advantage.
Burress did have another three touchdown game back in 2007 with the New York Giants during the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys (although the Cowboys came out on top 45-35), when he had a career best 12 touchdowns that season , and the Giants eventually won the Super Bowl.
But this three-touchdown day had to be a little sweeter and that much more meaningful. After 20 months in prison on a gun charge and starting fresh (and staying in New York to boot), I would say so.
And, seeing as how the touchdowns led to an all-important, must-win by the Jets (4-3), their second straight heading into their bye, Rex Ryan and his players should feel like they finally have momentum and swagger back. Sanchez should now feel comfortable with Burress, especially in the red zone, and some of the wide receiver fervor that has bubbled over the past couple of weeks should begin to dissipate.
With such an eye-opening performance on the part of Burress, expect him to be double teamed more often, which won't help Sanchez at all in the near future. Overall, the Jets still lack the big play ability to really demoralize teams and put them away.
The veteran wide receiver caught three touchdown passes, including the go-ahead score that was set up by another interception by Darrelle Revis, and the Jets stormed back in the second half to defeat the San Diego Chargers 27-21 on Sunday. If you look at the stats from today's game, the points were there but the yardage from Sanchez and his receivers were not. Shonn Greene and the rushing attack definitely helped push the ball downfield where Burress and Sanchez could capitalize together near the goal line.
Burress is 34 and his Pittsburgh Steeler days, running for the deep balls, are mostly behind him, but maybe he can still surprise once in a while and get behind the corner on a go route. He's an NFL player after all and he still has the capabilities to do it, though not for long. It would also take some pressure off of Santonio Holmes to create the big play by himself.
Burress had just four catches for 25 yards and Sanchez finished 18-of-33 for 173 yards and three touchdowns all to Plax.
The connection has officially been sparked.
Let's see if a fire burns now.