Updated 7:26 p.m. ET*
It was a Green Out game at MetLife Stadium, it was an odd-numbered game, it was Jets, it was Patriots.
It was time for a little Green & White payback in this recently lopsided series. And it required some extra football as the teams took it to overtime. But payback is finally what we got.
Nick Folk's third game-winning field goal try of the season, from 42 yards out, nailed down the Jets' 30-27 triumph over New England.
Folk's try was set up by some clutch plays on offense by rookie QB Geno Smith — who as an NFL starter improved to 4-0 in the odd-numbered games on the schedule — as well as 100-yard rusher Chris Ivory and WR Jeremy Kerley with a career-high eight receptions for 97 yards.
Then on defense, Antonio Allen rose to the occasion with his first pro interception and touchdown, with his 23-yard score lifting the Jets from a 21-10 halftime deficit. Allen's pick-six plus stout play by Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Calvin Pace, Antonio Cromartie and the entire defense held Tom Brady to 22-for-46, 228-yard passing and the Pats to 295 yards.
"We knew we needed a turnover. We were trying to get one," said Allen, who was covering the just-activated TE Rob Gronkowski most of the day. "We knew we had to force a turnover to win the game. We did that, got the spark and everybody is on their high horse."
Allen's heroics — he also had two other PDs on Brady passes for Gronkowski and a team-lead-tying nine tackles — helped set the stage for overtime. The visitors, tied it at 27-27 on Stephen Gostkowski's 44-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in regulation as Brady threw three incompletions from his 38.
Then Smith and the offense, mostly Ivory runs as he crashed time and again into the Patriots front seven that was without the injured Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo, moved to the Pats 38. Folk tried what would have been a franchise-record-tying 56-yard kick for the win that faded to the left. But on the play, rookie DL Chris Jones was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for illegally pushing a teammate into the Jets interior line during the try.
With the reprieve, Folk set up again three plays later, this time for a 44-yarder. He made it to officially finish 3-for-3 today and continue his streak to 16-for-16 for the season.
"It was a great team effort," head coach Rex Ryan said as he improved to 4-7 as a head coach against Bill Belichick, Brady and the Patriots. "It was a great balanced effort from our team. The defense played outstanding, especially in the third quarter. When you look at it, it was a great game."
Smith was asked what the victory meant. "It says we're a tough team," he said. "We don't look at any records. We go out there and we fight as a team. That's every single week. That's our mantra."
For those of us who do look at the records, the Jets improve to 4-3, drop New England to 5-2, in the process ending a five-game losing streak to the Pats, and head into next Sunday's road game at Cincinnati on, as Allen said, their high horse.
Further, the 11-point deficit that we overcame is tied for the fifth-largest halftime deficit overcome in franchise history, and it is the second-largest second-half deficit overcome in the 110-game rivalry against the Patriots, behind the 2000 Monday night comeback from a 19-7 fourth-quarter deficit to a 20-19 triumph fashioned on two late Wayne Chrebet touchdown catches.
As luck would have it, Chrebet was at today's game, serving as the Jets' pilot for their pregame Jets Runway walk into the stadium and as the honorary pregame captain. How about that?
Allen's Pick Sparks Comeback**
The Jets started fast but faded in the second quarter. Smith's first three drives produced 201 yards of offense and three scores. Unfortunately, the middle one was a 79-yard pick-six by rookie Patriots CB Logan Ryan to put the visitors ahead, 14-7. On the opening drive he hit Kerley for the 12-yard touchdown and the quick lead, then on his third series he led the way to Folk's first field goal.
From there the Jets focus seemed to flag despite the waving of green towels in the MetLife stands. The offense mounted just 18 yards on its last four drives of the first half while New England added a third touchdown on a Stevan Ridley run for the 21-10 halftime edge.
But something changed at halftime. Maybe it was some halftime adjustments by Ryan and coordinator Dennis Thurman. Maybe it was just a change of attitude.
"The thing I most respect about the Patriots is they don't beat themselves. You've got to go beat them," LB Calvin Pace said. "I just think the challenge for us was to figure out how they were going to attack us and to affect Brady. We have four, five, six guys up front now that can help us and we don't have to blitz every single play to get pressure. And that's huge. So I really think, man, the defensive line in the second half took it upon themselves to go out there and dominate."
The front seven produced three of its four sacks of Brady in the third quarter, and pressure surely contributed to Allen jumping all over the second play of the period for Gronkowski and taking it the distance.
The momentum had shifted, and Smith and the offense took advantage, first with Geno's arm — on a 27-yard completion to a diving David Nelson — then with his legs as he capped the drive with two smart scrambles — a left-side battle to get 14 yards on third-and-14 to the 10, then an 8-yard bolt to the right and through several Patriots to the same pylon Allen tickled minutes earlier for a sudden 24-21 lead.
"[QB Coach David Lee] told Geno before the game that he would have to make two plays with his legs that are going to win the game for us," Rex said, "and I'll be darned if that didn't happen."
Folk added his second field goal, then the Patriots, as everyone suspected they might, battled back with two Stephen Gostkowski field goals, the second with 16 seconds left in regulation to set up the overtime drama.
"I wish the game would've ended on the long one," Folk said of the 56-yarder that faded left after ref Jerome Boger's crew threw the flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. "That one would've been fun, but luckily we got closer and I got to put it through and beat the Patriots."