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Jerricho Cotchery's Top Five Moments With the New York Jets

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Jerricho Cotchery won a spot in the heart of many Jets fans in his seven seasons with the team. Below are what I consider his top five moments.

5. Jets at Rams; January 2, 2005; St. Louis, MO

The Jets entered the final game of the 2004 regular season a win away from clinching a Playoff spot. The game seemed to be slipping away in the third quarter after a 20 yard touchdown run from Stephen Jackson gave St. Louis a 21-10 lead. Cotchery completely swung momentum on the ensuing kickoff with a 94 yard return for a touchdown. Cotchery was subbing as kicker returner for injured regular return man Jonathan Carter. The Jets rallied to tie the game but lost in overtime. They still made the Playoffs because Pittsburgh's backups beat the Bills in Buffalo.

4. Patriots at Jets; September 17, 2006; East Rutherford, NJ

A new coach gives everybody a fresh start. Jerricho Cotchery took full advantage of his when Eric Mangini took over the Jets in 1996. After struggling to get playing time under Herman Edwards, Cotchery won a starting receiver job over incumbent Justin McCareins. The Jets trailed 24-0 to the Patriots near the halfway point of the third quarter in Week 2. Cotchery caught a routine pass from Chad Pennington and was knocked down by Chad Scott on top of Eugene Wilson. He stayed on top of Wilson and never hit the ground. Alertly getting up, he ran almost 70 yards to the end zone starting a furious rally. The Jets fell short, losing 24-17, but they showed heart in defeat and offered their first hint of a surprise Playoff run.

3. Jets at Browns; November 14, 2010; Cleveland, OH

On a third and nine in overtime, Cotchery pulled up lame running his route. Mark Sanchez narrowly escaped a sack and was flushed to his right. He threw left, and Cotchery willed himself to make an outstretched diving catch. He had to leave the game and did not return after pulling his groin. It was the definitive play demonstrating Cotchery's toughness. I am sure some will say this should be number one, but this only extended a drive that later stalled. The two above it on this list were pivotal plays in big games.

2. Jets at Patriots; November 12, 2006; Foxborough, MA

The game is best remembered for Bill Belichick's icy exchange with Eric Mangini after the game. The Jets stunned the Patriots. With 4:45 left in the fourth, Cotchery came down with a 22 yard pass in the end zone to give New York a 17-6 lead. The Jets went on to win 17-14 in their biggest win of the year, one that helped propel them to a surprise Playoff spot. Notice that more than half of these moments came against New England. He always seemed to be at his best against the Patriots. We will miss that.

1. Jets at Patriots; January 16, 2011; Foxborough, MA

You know the story. The Jets had no shot. They had been beaten by the Patriots by 6 touchdowns on the same field the previous month. Then they came out and took control of the game in the second quarter. They led 14-3 at halftime. The Pats scored a touchdown and made a 2 point conversion near the end of the third to cut it to 14-11.  On the first play of the fourth quarter, Cotchery caught a short pass over the middle. Then he cut to the right sideline to avoid Devin McCourty. Instead of going out of bounds like a lot of guys would have done, he kept running. He did a leap over Dustin Keller throwing a block. It ended up as a 58 yard catch that set up a Santonio Holmes touchdown. The Jets were back in control of the game. That series was the only time in second half the game felt in danger aside from a few seconds when onside kicks stayed loose for too long. The Pats had momentum. The crowd was in the game. Cotchery's play was the critical moment in the biggest win of the season.