Updated, 6:10 p.m. ET
Mistakes. Funny how innocent, harmless errors pile up on each other until suddenly there is a system overload and things like Sunday night’s 37-16 loss to the Patriots result.
Less than a full day after the Jets’ difficult loss at MetLife Stadium, Rex Ryan was asked how he would explain those mistakes.
“It could be a lot of things,” the head coach said at his news conference this afternoon at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “It wasn’t that we were pressing. I know we were excited about this opportunity. … It’s hard to describe. I don’t know if we were pressing or what it was.”
The E’s were many, from Nick Folk’s opening-drive field goal miss to pass protection to confusion during the Patriots’ no-huddle to Mark Sanchez’s two second-half interceptions.
At least there seems to be an explanation for the timeout after the first half’s two-minute warning. File it under “That Darned Helmet Communications System.”
Ryan explained that when he labeled the timeout that Sanchez called with 1:24 left in the half “the worst play in NFL history” for NBC before going into the locker room, he was referring to his part in the call, not his quarterback’s.
“I was basically saying that about myself,” Ryan said. “The emotion I was still feeling, that was obvious. I know how difficult it is. A great team like that, they don’t need any help. They went down and scored a touchdown after that.
“OK, he physically called the timeout. But through my communication, it wasn’t clear enough to Mark. That’s why it was my mistake.”
The process that led to the TO from Sanchez shows the limitations of the helmet system. Ryan said at no time did coordinator Brian Schottenheimer want to call a timeout when they did. But Ryan and Schotty were conferring about calling a timeout to discuss their third-down call after they had drained almost all the time off the game clock and the 40-second play clock.
“My understanding is I went over to Brian, Brian was going to make the call [to Sanchez] and I said, ‘No, let’s take the clock down, use all the clock and call the timeout,’ ” Ryan explained. “Matt asked, ‘What are we going to do? Take a timeout?’ I think that’s what Mark heard. He never heard the whole conversation I had with Brian. I don’t talk to Mark directly through the helmet ever. I don’t think he heard my and Brian’s comments.”
Had Sanchez waited until a second or two was left on the play clock and everything else was equal, following the Sanchez TD keeper behind Brandon Moore’s block of Vince Wilfork and the Jets’ kickoff, the Pats might have started their drive with around 1:03 left in the half rather than the 1:20 they had. Would 17 fewer seconds have prevented the Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski TD pass for a 13-9 Pats lead with 9 seconds left?
Speculation. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe instead of Gronkowski it would have been Gostkowski, Stephen, for his third field goal and a 9-9 draw at the half.
But this error came at a critical point in the game. The Jets were playing at their best, with Jamaal Westerman’s strong pressure forcing Brady, struggling through 3-for-8, 31-yard second-quarter passing, into a safety-inducing intentional grounding in his end zone, followed by the 65-yard drive to that Sanchez TD and the Jets’ only lead of the night.
However, that moment passed, Brady and the Pats lit it up in the second half and the Jets did not. Any corrections from the game were made during today’s late practice and will be implemented in their short-week preparation before they take off Wednesday for their next primetime appearance Thursday night at Denver.
“We know we have to put it behind us. We play in, what, three days or whatever it is,” Ryan said. “We can’t focus on what just happened. We know what happened. We made enough mistakes that, you play against a good team, you’ve got no chance to beat ‘em, you make the mistakes we made.”
Ryan, asked about the Thursday availability of RB LaDainian Tomlinson, who left the game late with a lower leg injury, said: “I hope so. We’ll see. That’s not the official word yet. … I have no idea the extent. … We think he’s going to be OK. We’re certainly hoping.”
The official word has just come from the Jets. There was no full practice today, just a walkthrough. The participation report is an estimation due to the Broncos having the day off. If the Jets had practiced, Tomlinson (knee) would not have participated, nor would WR Jeremy Kerley (knee), S Brodney Pool (knee), WR Patrick Turner (kidney) or TE Shawn Nelson (illness). Limited would have been WR Plaxico Burress (low back), DT Marcus Dixon (shoulder), LB David Harris (ankle) and WR Santonio Holmes (foot). Eight others were listed as full participants.
The Broncos’ report will come in shortly and we’ll post a summary here.
Westerman was a little chagrined to hear that he doesn’t get much of anything officially for forcing the Brady safety. No sack, because Brady unloaded the ball as he was hit. No safety — it’s listed as “Team” because it was caused by Brady’s intentional grounding in the end zone.
And the satisfaction of getting an unofficial “quarterback hit” and causing the play was diluted by the events that followed.
“If you lose the game … ” he said. “We had a couple of other chances to get him on the ground and we didn’t, so it’s rough. But definitely, whenever I get on the field, I try to do positive things, keep improving my game.”
Westerman’s also a part of a record stretch of safety creation. No matter whether individual or team credit, the play was still a “deuce” for the defense, and that makes five defensive safeties for the Jets since last Thanksgiving night against Cincinnati. So the Jets, who scored only 14 defensive safeties in their first 50½ seasons, now have five in the last 18 games, including the AFC Championship Game at Pittsburgh.
What’s more, the Jets are in the midst of one of the most safety-intensive stretches in league history. Some hasty unofficial research shows that only one team, the 1999 Tennessee Titans, who also had five defensive two-pointers in an 18-game span in that Super season (including their last one, of then Jaguars QB Mark Brunell in the AFC Championship Game).
One Other Rex Mistake
Ryan admitted to one other error Sunday night, that he had a profane exchange with a fan in the MetLife stands during halftime.
“It was right after halftime, obviously,” he said. “We made the mistake with the timeout, gave up the touchdown. I was emotional, it was an emotional time coming in, and I obviously made a mistake. I was just full of emotion and just popped off. Obviously, I know I represent the National Football League, I know I represent the Jets and I know it was a mistake. I apologize for it.
“It’s who I am sometimes. I made a mistake. I’m about as big a competitor as there is and at that time I was in no mood to hear anything, but I also understand that I have to handle that better.”
GM Mike Tannenbaum issued a statement early this evening.
“Rex and I have talked about it,” Tannenbaum said. “Obviously he let his emotions get the best of him. He knows that his behavior was not acceptable.”
Because the incident was a game-related matter, any discipline of Ryan would be handled by the NFL.
There was some thought that the Jets-Bills game on Nov. 27 could be flexed but the NFL announced today that game will remain at its original 1 p.m. ET kickoff at MetLife Stadium. … The guests on the 10th anniversary show of “Inside the Jets” at Grasshopper Off the Green in Morristown, N.J., from 7-8 p.m. tonight are Tannenbaum and senior personnel adviser Terry Bradway, the Jets’ GM before Mike T.
Tags: Brian Schottenheimer, Jamaal Westerman, Mark Brunell, Mark Sanchez, Matt Cavanaugh, Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan
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