"We made too many mistakes to beat them."
Those were the words spoken by an emotional Rex Ryan after the Jets dropped a 29-26 OT decision to the Patriots Sunday in overtime. The Green & White weren't given a chance to win this game by the outside world and yet they very nearly pulled it off. But close only gets you so far and the Jets are sure to lament their miscues tonight.
New York's AFC representative got off to a great start on the road with a 1-yard scoring run from Shonn Greene. Unfortunately momentum was gone in a few seconds as Devin McCourty returned the ensuing kickoff 104 yards for a score, tying the game at 7.
Trailing 14-7 in the 2nd stanza, the Jets started a drive at their 12. Mark Sanchez couldn't complete a handoff to Shonn Greene and the Green & White QB booted the rock out of the end zone for 2 points, making it a 16-7 contest. Vince Wilfork got a great push on Matt Slauson off the ball, knocking the big lineman back into the backfield as the play appeared doomed from the start. Late in the quarter, Sanchez was intercepted by CB Alonzo Dennard on a poorly thrown toss in enemy territory.
Jets Nation had to be seeing red in the third quarter. The Jets had a lovely drive to start the 2nd half, moving 65 yards on 11 plays. But on 3rd-and-goal from the 3, the Jets came up empty through the air as Sanchez couldn't hook up with Chaz Schilens on a slant. So the score was 16-13 Pats instead of 17-16 Jets.
The Pats immediately answered and finished in the Red Zone with a TD. An Antonio Cromartie forced fumble and fumble recovery was taken off the board after a replay review inside the Jets 5 and Tom Brady made the Jets pay. He hit TE Rob Gronkowski for a 2-yard score and the home advantage was 23-13.
But the Jets rallied and appeared poised to take an improbable late lead. Sanchez, who played gutsy all afternoon and finished with a season-high 328 yards, had bad luck when rookie Stephen Hill dropped a pass in his hands that would have given the Jets a 1st down deep inside Pats territory. A play later, Nick Folk entered the field and tied things up at 23 with a 43-yard boot and just 2:11 on the clock.
"I should have caught it," said the dejected rookie.
"It was a physical mistake," added Sanchez. "He ran a hell of a route and he might have turned and scored on that thing. That hurt. I was just about ready to look away to look at the sideline for the next play and the ball came out.
Mike Westhoff's special teams unit got some redemption on Folk's kickoff that followed as Lex Hilliard crushed McCourty and rookie S Antonio Allen recovered at the NE 18. But Sanchez was sacked on third down and the Jets moved back seven yards. Folk nailed a 43-yarder to give the Jets a short-lived 26-23 lead.
"You can't kick field goals against this team," said Sanchez.
The bitter defeat came in the extra session when Rob Ninkovich stripped the ball from Sanchez during a sack and recovered for the hosts.
"We didn't finish, we didn't execute throughout the whole game," said S LaRon Landry. "It was a team effort. You can't pick out specific plays. We lost as a team."
A most painful loss. But the big picture says the Pats did what they were supposed to do by holding serve at home. Hopefully the Jets aren't in as giving a mood on Thanksgiving Night at MetLife Stadium.