Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NFL Playoff Picture: Jets in Control Following Win after Curious Move by Patriots

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NFL Playoff Picture: Jets in Control Following Win after Curious Move by Patriots

Article excerpt

The Patriots gave the Jets the ball, and New York might carry it right into the playoffs.

Eric Decker's 6-yard touchdown catch on the first drive of overtime after New England stunningly chose to kick off lifted the Jets to a 26-20 victory at home Sunday that put New York in position to make the playoffs.

A win next week, on the road against, Buffalo gives the Jets a wild-card berth.

"It was thrilling," Decker said. "Those are the moments that you cherish."

New England (12-3) won the OT coin toss and elected to kick to the Jets (10-5). Patriots coach Bill Belichick said there was "no confusion" on the call.

According to STATS, teams have opted to kick off in overtime 13 times since 1997 and are 6-7 in those games. Belichick has done it three times during that span, beating San Diego that way in 2001 and Denver in 2013. Sunday, the strategy backfired.

Special teams captain Matthew Slater son of Hall of Fame tackle Jackie Slater called heads and won the toss. He told referee Clete Blakeman the Patriots wanted to kick in a specific direction. But once he said they wanted to kick, whatever followed didn't matter, according to NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino.

"I just thought we would be able to choose the direction we kicked off from," Slater said, adding he merely was following instructions. "They don't pay me to manage the games, it's not my decision, so when I'm told to do something that's what I'm going to do."

New York used a career-long 48-yard reception by Quincy Enunwa and a 20-yard pass to Brandon Marshall to move into scoring position. Then Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Decker on a fade, behind Malcolm Butler, for New York's fifth straight victory.

"The last five weeks, they've all kind of been do-or-die games for us, so that's how we've approached each one," Fitzpatrick said. "We've got to get the next one to get in and that's how we'll view it. This is a fun run."

Before that, New England's Tom Brady hit James White for a 9- yard score with 1:55 to go, forcing OT. That was the only drive on which Brady got comfortable against an aggressive defense that pressured and hit him all game. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.