Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Jets Let Victory Slip Away

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Jets Let Victory Slip Away

Article excerpt

FOXBORO, Mass. -- Running back Joe McKnight limped away after speaking with reporters, his left foot encased in a huge, soft boot. Minutes later, quarterback Mark Sanchez addressed the media, his left wrist taped from what he said was a jammed finger.

Nonetheless, it was the emotional pain they and the rest of the Jets felt even more keenly after a long afternoon and evening of twists and turns ended in a disheartening defeat.

The Jets overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit Sunday and had the lead with five seconds left in regulation. But New England's Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 43-yard field goal as time expired to force overtime, and he added a 48-yarder in overtime. That proved to be the game-winner in the Patriots' 29-26 win at Gillette Stadium.

Under the new regular-season overtime rules, the Jets were allotted one possession after New England took the overtime kickoff and drove 54 yards in 12 plays to Gostkowski's score. The Jets got to their 40 on a 17-yard pass from Sanchez to Jeremy Kerley. But two plays later, Rob Ninkovich and Jermaine Cunningham combined for a sack of Sanchez. Ninkovich jarred the ball loose and then recovered it.

Thus, New England (4-3) took sole possession of first place in the AFC East, thanks to Buffalo's loss to Tennessee earlier in the day. The Jets and the Bills are a game behind at 3-4. Miami (3-3) had a bye Sunday.

"A lot of shoulda, coulda, wouldas," linebacker Calvin Pace summarized. "We just didn't get it done."

The Jets trailed, 23-13, entering the fourth quarter, but Sanchez, whose play was spotty until that juncture, suddenly put it together. First, he directed his team 92 yards in 14 plays to his 7- yard touchdown pass to tight end Dustin Keller. That cut the Jets' deficit to 23-20 with 5:44 left.

"It was a monster," Sanchez said of that drive. "It was a long one."

After New England went three-and-out on its next series, Sanchez led the Jets to a tying 43-yard field goal by Nick Folk with 2:06 left.

The next play appeared to be a turning point for both teams' seasons.

Former Rutgers standout Devin McCourty, who had brought an earlier kickoff back for a 104-yard touchdown, fumbled this one, with the ball being poked out by Lex Hilliard. …

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