EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – 14 penalties, six turnovers, three-for-15 on third down conversions, five interceptions from their rookie quarterback.
Despite all of those horrendous numbers, the New York Jets still had a chance to defeat the Buffalo Bills with 6:37 remaining in overtime.
Taking over with solid field position at their own 46 yard line, Mark Sanchez made his fifth and final mistake of the night, as the rookie was picked off by Buffalo LB Paul Posluszny.
The Posluszny interception set up a game winning 47-yard field goal by kicker Rian Lindell, giving Buffalo the 16-13 victory over the Jets Sunday at Giants Stadium in one of the ugliest football games you will ever see.
Lindell made amends for the 46-yard attempt he missed as time expired in the fourth quarter, evoking memories of Scott Norwood, sending the game to overtime.
The Jets nearly took advantage of Lindell’s missed field goal, winning the toss going into the overtime period and putting themselves in range for a game-winning field goal on their first extra-time possession. But once again, mistakes did the Jets in.
On second-and-9 from their own 16, Sanchez connected with WR Braylon Edwards for a 22-yard gain. On the next play, Leon Washington broke off a 33-yard run down the right sideline, putting the Jets in field goal range at the Buffalo 29 yard line. But once again, the Jets were done in by a costly mistake.
After a run by RB Thomas Jones, put the Jets inside the Buffalo 10 yard line, TE Ben Hartsock was flagged for holding, knocking the Jets back to the Buffalo 32. Following an incomplete pass by Sanchez on third down, the Jets lined up for a 50-yard field goal attempt to win the game. But Jay Feely never even got a chance to kick the ball.
Punter Steve Weatherford botched the hold and took off running with the ball. Weatherford fired a pass up into the air, intended for Hartsock, that was picked off by Bills safety John Wendling. Five ugly possessions later, the game was lost.
Sanchez was simply atrocious, turning in what he referred to in his postgame news conference as the worst game of his life and “embarrassing”.
Sanchez completed only 10 of 29 passes for 119 yards with five interceptions. Sanchez also lost 16 yards on a sack during a critical drive in the fourth quarter.
“I don’t know if I can play any worse,” said a red-eyed emotional Sanchez. “I just gave that team the win. “
“It was just a poor day accuracy wise, a couple misreads. I really let this team down and there’s no excuse for that.”
While 30 mile per hour gusts roared through the Meadowlands throughout Sunday’s game, Sanchez refused to blame his poor performance on the cold, windy conditions.
“I don’t think it affected me at all,” said the rookie who posted an eye-popping quarterback rating of 8.3 on Sunday.
“The ball wasn’t slipping out of my hands. The weather’s not a factor when you make a bad read. The weather’s not a factor when you miss Dustin (Keller) wide-open over the middle. There’s a lot to work on, I mean there’s no way I can blame it on the weather. I really wish I could, but it’s totally my fault and I owe these guys a lot.”
Sanchez made a number of bad throws into double coverage and appeared to try to force too many balls the way of WR Braylon Edwards. Head coach Rex Ryan revealed in his post-game news conference that he even thought about pulling Sanchez from the game, but decided against it.
“I thought he gives us the best chance to win,” said Ryan. “I know there were some drops in there and he forced a few throws, but again, I believe in him. It’s a bad day, but I think he’ll bounce back.”
As bad of a day as it was for Sanchez, it was even worse day for Bills’ QB Trent Edwards, who was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a head injury.
Edwards was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick who threw for 116 yards on 10 of 25 attempts with a touchdown and an interception.
Early on, it looked as though it would be smooth sailing for the Jets offense, which appeared to take over the game in the second quarter.
After a 64-yard dash by Thomas Jones set up a Jay Feely field goal to put the Jets up 6-3, Jones did it again on the next possession.
On first-and-long, Jones broke out again, this time down the left sideline, 71 yards to the end zone, extending the Jets lead to 13-3 with 8:06 remaining in the first half.
Jones finished the day with 210 yards on 22 attempts. Despite his strong individual performance, Jones stressed that none of that mattered to him on a night like this.
“I don’t really care if I’m back on track,” said the ten-year veteran. That has nothing to do with the way we feel right now. We lost. I could’ve had two yards. We lost the game.”
After the Jets built a 13-3 lead midway through the second quarter, Buffalo rattled off 13 unanswered points en route to their victory.
Offensive tackle Damien Woody also vented his frustrations after the game. “I feel disgusted,” said Woody. “We had every opportunity to win this game. The turnovers and penalties really did us in. With six turnovers and 14 penalties, that’s how you lose a football game, regardless of the referees.”
Rex Ryan, also visibly upset by his team’s embarrassing performance, says that it’s gut-check time for this Jets team.
“I think the character of this football team is gonna show,” said Ryan. “I truly believe that, I think we’ll bounce back. I said that last week, I understand I’ve said it three weeks in a row but I believe it. I’m confident as heck in this football team.”
Missing from action for the Jets were WR Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring), WR Brad Smith (quadriceps), and CB Donald Strickland (ankle).
NT Kris Jenkins went down in the second quarter with a right knee injury. Rex Ryan stated that the team will know more about the injury tomorrow. Jenkins was seen on crutches in the locker room, wearing a soft brace on his right leg.
Feely, Jones makes history
With his first quarter field goal, his 23rd consecutive successful attempt, Jay Feely broke the Jets’ franchise record for consecutive field goals, previously held by Pat Leahy.
Thomas Jones’ 64-yard dash down the right side in the second quarter was one of historic proportions. Not only was the rush the longest of Jones’ career but was also the longest by a Jet since Adrian Murrell’s 78-yard run in Arizona in 1996. Then on the next drive, Jones made personal history again, topping his 64-yarder with a 71-yard touchdown run. Jones’ 210 rushing yards also set a Jets’ franchise record.
For more on the Jets’ stunning loss to the Buffalo Bills, check out the transcript of Dan Troisi’s live blog from the Meadowlands.
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