The New York Jets lost a heartbreaker to the New England Patriots yesterday, a 29-26 defeat in overtime that saw the Jets squander some great opportunities to put the game away in regulation. Unable to capitalize, New York left just enough time on the clock for Tom Brady to quickly put together a drive that set up a game-tying field goal to send the game into overtime. Another Stephen Gostkowski field goal in overtime ended up being the winning score as the Patriots moved into first place in the AFC East.
For the New York Jets, it was a classic game of so close, yet so far. Down 23-20 in the fourth quarter, the Jets drove deep into New England Patriots territory, down to the 25 yard line as they faced a third down and four. Mark Sanchez dropped back to pass and found a wide open Stephen Hill for an easy first down – only to see Stephen Hill drop the pass. Catch that pass and the Jets are driving in with a great shot at a go-ahead touchdown, with the game-tying field goal just a chip shot away. The Patriots would have been forced to use their timeouts and the two-minute warning would have been burned. A huge missed opportunity.
A Nick Folk field goal tied the game at 23, with most now fretting over returning the ball to Tom Brady and the Patriots offense with a little over two minutes to go. On the ensuing kickoff, Lex Hilliard popped the ball out, recovered by Antonio Allen. The Jets made that recovery with 2:01 left on the clock, a big second in the grand scheme of things. That saved the Patriots a timeout in the end.
More importantly, the Jets offense took the field knowing that a first down would probably end the game if it took them two or three downs to get it. The Patriots would be forced to burn their timeouts and time would tick down for a Nick Folk field goal from close range. The Jets couldn't get it done. A two yard run by Tim Tebow brought about the two minute warning, a one yard run by Joe McKnight burned the first New England timeout and Mark Sanchez was sacked for a loss of 10 yards on third down, burning the Patriots' second timeout. Nick Folk put the Jets ahead 26-23 with 1:37 left to play.
It was just enough time for Tom Brady, as the Patriots used their lone remaining timeout with five seconds left to set up the game-tying field goal and send the game into overtime. Stephen Gostkowski hit another field goal in overtime, and Mark Sanchez fumbled as he was sacked to end the game.
The Jets have no one to blame but themselves. The kickoff return Devin McCourty brought back for a touchdown and the botched handoff that ended up being a safety were two plays that shouldn't have happened, but Jets errors caused them. In tight games that can be the difference, and those two plays certainly contributed to the loss. Yet, the Jets still had two chances late to win this game.
They just couldn't finish.
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