Safety Kerry Rhodes returns one of his two interceptions Sunday in a loss at New York.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.-- The fairytale ending would've had Kerry Rhodes and Jay Feely winning in their return to New York.
But whoever wrote Sunday's story wasn't about to spoil the two former Jets.
Rhodes intercepted two Mark Sanchez passes and forced a fumble, while Feely scored all of the Cardinals' points in a 7-6 loss at MetLife Stadium. The only way Rhodes and Feely would have scripted their return any better was walking out with the win.
"Me and Jay, we did talk about it a little bit," Rhodes said. "He's going to come out and play well, I was going to play well. We wanted to play well in front of our former team, of course. It wasn't really added incentive but we just wanted to play well here."
That they did.
All week leading up to and even after Sunday's game, Rhodes was inundated with questions about comments Jets coach Rex Ryan made about the safety in his book, "Play Like You Mean It." Rhodes took the high road, refusing to engage in a war of words from across the country.
On Sunday, he let his play do the talking.
He finished the first quarter with two interceptions, and said he knew where Sanchez was going on both plays from studying the Jets' film. On the first pick, the Jets motioned down and Rhodes jumped the route. On the second, the Jets tried to run a pump seam and Rhodes said he baited Sanchez into throwing his direction.
After the game, Ryan approached Rhodes to tell the safety he played "a hell of a game," Rhodes said.
"The satisfaction part for me is I played well, I'm healthy leaving out and I played well in front of my family and friends," Rhodes said. "I had lot of people come support me."
As Feely ran off the field after kicking field goals of 48 and 35 yards, the cheers grew and finally reached a crescendo before he disappeared into the Cardinals' tunnel. But not before he stopped and threw his gloves into the stands.
"I thought I got a great reception," Feely said. "It was heartwarming to hear a lot of fans cheer for me, and obviously seeing all the guys on the team and coaches and a lot of good friends, a lot of guys I really cared about and enjoyed playing (with) here. So it was nice to come back and get a warm reception."
JOHNSON HAS EYE FOR FAKES
Safety Rashad Johnson knew from the moment the Jets lined up to defend the Cardinals' punt on fourth-and-7 late in the second quarter that he was going to call for a fake.
He saw the Jets overload the left side of the line with six players, which meant the Cardinals had a one-man advantage on the right side. From studying film, the Cardinals knew the Jets had used that formation earlier this season and were prepared for it.
"The guys were looking back at me so they already knew because we practiced it this season and just waited on the opportunity to get the looks," Johnson said.
Johnson took the snap instead of punter Dave Zastudil and gained 40 yards on a play that set up a field goal by Jay Feely just before halftime.
"(Long snapper) Mike (Leach) trusted me enough to snap it to me and then my guys just made their blocks up front and just got their guys one-on-one and I was able to get the corner," Johnson said. "They just gave us the look and we couldn't turn away from doing it."
Johnson executed a 24-yard run off a fake punt for a first down earlier this season against the Bills.
OHRNBERGER EXCELS ON CENTER STAGE
If you ask Rich Ohrnberger, there are plenty of areas he could improve in after his first start of the season at center. The stats show he did better than he gives himself credit for.
There weren't any penalties against the offensive line and quarterback Ryan Lindley was only sacked twice.
"There was some up and down things," Ohrnberger said. "You can always expect that when you're getting used to going out there and being the guy. I feel confident that any mistakes I made I'll improve upon this week.
"I think the operation was pretty good in general."
The biggest adjustment for the first-year Cardinal was keeping the offense on the same page, he said, but even that went smoother than he anticipated.
"I'll be honest, with having two veteran guys bookending me (tackles Adam Snyder and Daryn Colledge) out there that wasn't too big of an issue," Ohrnberger said.
McELROY MAKES DEBUT VS. CARDS
Jets quarterback Greg McElroy made his NFL debut late in the third quarter, replacing Sanchez, and led the Jets to a touchdown on his first drive.
McElroy, who had been inactive all season until Sunday because Tim Tebow was injured, hit tight end Jeff Cumberland on a play-action roll out to the right for a one-yard score. McElroy was 5-of-7 passing for 29 yards with a quarterback rating of 118.5.
When the crowd at MetLife Stadium saw McElroy begin to warm up, it erupted with cheers not heard Sunday until then.
"It's tough to gauge the energy," McElroy said. "I didn't have a decibel meter where I could tell what the crowd noise was (laughter). It was fun. We were having a good time. It was exciting to get a shot and go in there."
Jets coach Rex Ryan said just knew it was time to make a quarterback change.
"It's just something I sensed and felt," he said. "When you're around this game long enough, you get that feeling that, 'I've seen enough and it's time to make that change.'"