FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) – Look out, Peyton. Rex says this time, it’s personal.
A ho-hum, first-round playoff matchup? Not with the New York Jets back in Indianapolis on Saturday night.
“We are not going to Indianapolis to lose,” Jets coach Rex Ryan declared Monday. “We are going there to win.”
Especially after New York (11-5) had its season end there last year, falling in the AFC championship game after Peyton Manning was dominant in the second half. That made Ryan 0-2 in the postseason against Manning and the Colts (10-6).
“I don’t know when I’m going to beat him, but I want it to be Saturday night,” Ryan said. “Is it personal? Yes, it’s personal. It’s personal against him, Reggie Wayne, all those guys, yeah. (Dwight) Freeney and (Robert) Mathis and those other dudes? Absolutely.”
That’s because Ryan’s tired of losing to Manning, in particular. Since 2005, when Ryan became Baltimore’s defensive coordinator, the Colts are 5-1 against his defenses. Manning, during that stretch, has 12 touchdown passes and only two interceptions.
“You’re never going to stop Peyton Manning,” Ryan said, “but you have to contain him enough to where he doesn’t beat you by himself or light the scoreboard up, which he is capable of doing.”
Ryan’s lone victory came last year, when the then-undefeated Colts pulled Manning with a lead to rest him and the Jets came back against Curtis Painter. But it’s the two playoff losses that sting most.
“It kills you,” Ryan said. “You fight so hard to get into the playoffs and when you lose, it’s devastating. I want to put the shoe on the other foot, and I know our team does, too. I want (the Colts) to experience it this time.”
That’s going to require a solid game plan against a team that is playoff-tested, but banged up a bit. Still, any team that has Manning leading it is a tough chore.
“This is about this year, and I’ve waited a full year for this,” Ryan said. “We will see what happens.”
The confidence is not surprising since everyone was feeling pretty good about themselves after a 38-7 rout of the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in the regular-season finale. The Jets earned their fourth 11-win season in franchise history, and their second straight playoff appearance under Ryan.
“Last year, we got in and we believed we were going to win,” Ryan said. “We believed we had an excellent football team, but I’m not so sure everybody else really believed that. ‘We backed into the playoffs.’ I don’t remember backing into anything.”
And, despite a late-season slump that saw them lose three of four before beating the Bills, the Jets certainly earned their spot in the postseason this year. One big reason for their success was how well they played on the road, going 6-2, something the Jets believe will help them on their return trip to Indianapolis.
“I think we approach games on the road a little differently than we have at home,” guard Brandon Moore said. “It’s just understanding playing with a chip on our shoulder and an us-against-the-world mentality, the boos and the lack of confidence from outside. So, I think we use that as motivation.”
As well as that feeling of wanting revenge. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson wasn’t with the Jets last year during their playoff run, but was on a San Diego Chargers team that got beaten by New York along the way. He has played the Colts plenty in his career, so he understands how Ryan and his Jets teammates feel.
“Anytime the team that last beat you in a playoff situation and you have them first, it is personal,” he said. “It’s personal for a lot of us and for a lot of different reasons.”
Linebacker Calvin Pace said the key will be getting pressure on Manning from their front four, and rushing him into making decisions faster than he wants — a task that most teams fail at.
“In the same respect, you can’t get caught up as a player in making it a one-on-one battle,” Pace said. “It’s really just about winning the game and we know we’re going to have to find a way to make our impact by affecting Peyton.”
But NBC analyst Tony Dungy, Manning’s former coach, said blitz-heavy defenses can’t fool the Pro Bowl quarterback.
“Hey, I’ve been doubted all my life, so that’s fine,” Ryan said. “I think when you get out there (in the media), you have all the answers, but you don’t have to play anymore. You don’t have to do all that stuff, and I respect everybody’s opinions. But the only one I care about is my own.”
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