With all due respect to Mike Thomas and Michael Vick, Jets receiver Jerricho Cotchery had the play of the week. All things considered, it may be the play of the year.
Let’s set the scene. The Jets had a third-and-nine in overtime at their own 37-yard line. While Mark Sanchez was doing his best Eli Manning in the Super Bowl impression under durress, Cotchery went out for a route and badly hurt his groin.
Instead of giving up on the play, Cotchery stayed upright on one leg and hopped eight times with cornerback Eric Wright trialing him. Sanchez then threw to Cotchery who extended for one of the prettiest diving catches you’ll ever see. First down. (The whole play can be seen at NFL.com — wait for the third replay.) Jets coach Rex Ryan showed the play to the entire team on Monday.
“Everybody was in kind of awe,” tackle Damien Woody said via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that,” Ryan said. “It was just amazing effort.”
Cotchery said with a laugh that he didn’t think Sanchez would throw it to him. “I just tried to make that catch for him,” Cotchery said.
“Seeing this guy come into the screen, hobbling on one leg
and grabbing himself, trying to hold himself together and for him to just dive . . . that’s sacrifice,” Holmes said via the Newark Star-Ledger
. “That’s what we’re constantly building around here.”
The play set up a Nick Folk missed field goal, which eventually led to the Jets’ game-winner by Holmes. But what happened after the catch is almost irrelevant. That was a defining play for one of the tougher receivers in the league, and the Jets hope it’s a play they look back on to help define their season.
It’s also the last play Cotchery will make for a while. He’s expected to miss a few games
with a “slight tear” of his groin muscle.