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Throwback Thursday: Jets Make New York Proud

The Jets managed a dramatic comeback on the day we will never forget.

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

September 11, 2011. Rather than try and somehow describe how special the pre-game scene was, I'll show you:

Never forget.

It was a particularly special night for the Ryan family, with Rex's brother Rob in town as the defensive coordinator for the visiting Cowboys. On the first Sunday Night game of the year, the Jets looked to begin their season on the right foot, but more importantly, tried to win for the city of New York and all those who have suffered.

The Cowboys offense got off to a quick start. On their first drive, Tony Romo hit Dez Bryant for a 42 yard catch and run, breaking multiple tackles along the way. Romo then found Dez on a back shoulder fade to give the Cowboys a 7-0 lead. The Jets really struggled in the first quarter, gaining only 42 yards of total offense.

The 2nd quarter was strong for both defenses, forcing a combined seven straight punts. Dan Bailey stopped the scoring drought, knocking through a 34-yard field goal with 3 minutes to go in the half. The Jets offense suddenly came to life on the ensuing possession, as Sanchez hit Holmes and Keller for a pair of 17-yard gains. Sanchez then found LT on a beautifully designed screen play for a 32-yard gain to the Cowboys 4 yard line. With under a minute to play in the half, Sanchez found Keller on a play-action pass for the short score to cut the lead to 10-7 before halftime.

After the Jets began the second half with a 3-and-out, the Cowboys started hot again, as Romo found Miles Austin on a deep 36-yard touchdown pass. Cromartie nearly had the interception, but Miles ripped the ball away at the last second as he crossed the plane. 17-7 Cowboys. The Jets offense responded, as Sanchez found Jeff Cumberland on a 33-yard strike on the first play of their next possession. They ended the drive with a 34-yard Nick Folk field goal to cut the lead to 17-10.

Here's where this game began to get crazy. With 49 seconds to go in the 3rd quarter, Mark Sanchez was intercepted by Sean Lee, who then ran it back to the Jets 1-yard line. Felix Jones would end up punching it in to start the 4th quarter to extend the lead to 24-10.

Sanchez would settle down (for now) and responded by finding Plaxico Burress on a 26-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to one score. 24-17 Cowboys. On the next Cowboys possession, Romo answered back, finding Witten on a deep crossing pattern for a 64-yard gain. Witten appeared to have the touchdown, but a hustling Jim Leonhard forced Witten out of bounds at the 3-yard line. That tackle ended up being the turning point of the game, as Romo fumbled the ball away 3 plays later.

Sanchez would then take the Jets into Cowboys territory on a couple of long gains to Burress and Keller, but would end up fumbling the ball away himself after being sacked by Danny McCray. Sanchez's 2nd turnover of the night came at a costly time, but there was extra magic and energy in the building tonight.

Now with 6 minutes to play in the 4th quarter, the Jets defense immediately forced a 3-and-out, bringing Cowboys punter Mat McBriar in once again. This time, Rex would call a designed block and running back Joe McKnight swooped in to block it. The fumble was then picked up by Isaiah Trufant who ran it back for the touchdown to tie the game at 24.

With 59 seconds to play, the Cowboys had 1st and 10 from their own 41-yard line needing only a field goal to win. Tony Romo tried to find Dez Bryant near the sideline, but the Cowboys stud receiver found himself stranded on Revis Island. Revis' interception and run back would set up the game winning 50-yard field goal by Nick Folk, who ironically was cut by the Cowboys 2 years earlier.

It was a sweet victory for the Jets, but more importantly for the city of New York on a special night that we will never forget. Catch the full game recap here.