Jets take advantage of Giants' blown 4th-down call
DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
Dec. 07, 2015
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants were looking to put the game away with a late fourth-down conversion.
It ended up sparking the Jets, who appeared well on their way to a disappointing, mistake-filled loss.
Rontez Miles intercepted Eli Manning's pass on fourth-and-2 in the fourth quarter, and Ryan Fitzpatrick rallied the Jets from a 10-point deficit to win 23-20 in overtime Sunday and stay on track in the AFC playoff hunt.
"I thought they would kick the field goal, honestly," said Miles, echoing the sentiment of many Giants fans, who booed the decision — and the lack of execution — at MetLife Stadium.
"If we scored there on fourth-and-2, then we push the score up to where maybe they can't beat us with whatever," Coughlin said. "So we're up 17. I stand by it."
Randy Bullock cut the Jets' deficit to seven on the next series, and Fitzpatrick hit Brandon Marshall for a 9-yard touchdown with 27 seconds remaining to tie it, capping a 71-yard drive.
Bullock kicked a 31-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime. Josh Brown then missed his first attempt in 26 tries this season, giving the Jets the stunning win that sent the Giants (5-7) to their third straight loss.
"For us to come from behind, it shows some grit," coach Todd Bowles said. "During the season, that's the mark of a good team, so we finally got to that point. I'm just happy it was today."
A 43-yard kickoff return by Dwayne Harris and a 20-yard pass to Odell Beckham Jr. on fourth down from the Giants 46 set up Brown's 48-yard attempt that sailed wide left.
"It was time for one of these games to go our way," said Marshall, who had 12 catches for 131 yards.
Fitzpatrick combined with Bilal Powell, who had eight catches for 91 yards, on a 25-yard TD pass for the Jets' other touchdown. Bullock had three short field goals, the last capping a drive Fitzpatrick kept alive with an 11-yard pass to Eric Decker and passes of 13 and 10 to Marshall and 17 to Decker late.
"There was always just a great belief in the huddle," Fitzpatrick said, "a great belief on the sideline that we could come back and take this thing."
Here are some other things to know from the Jets' victory in the Battle for New York:
RYAN THE RIFLE: Fitzpatrick finished 36 for 50 for 390 yards, and has six touchdown passes and no interceptions since he trimmed his shaggy beard for his 33rd birthday.
It was the most yards Fitzpatrick has thrown for since he had 402 with Tennessee against Arizona in 2013. It's the 15th-highest single-game total in Jets history, eighth-most in a win and the most in road win since Ken O'Brien finished with 431 yards against Seattle in 1986.
"He put us in a lot of good situations," Decker said. "We never felt the pressure."
NO STOPPIN' BECKHAM: Beckham had six catches for 149 yards, including a catch-and-run on his 72-yard touchdown — and another one-hander.
He increased his career total to 169 receptions, the highest in NFL history by a player in his first two seasons. The previous mark was set by New Orleans' Marques Colston with 168 in 2006-07.
It was his fifth straight 100-yard game, the first Giants player to do that since Homer Jones in 1967 and '68. He has 10 touchdowns catches for the second straight year and 78 catches for 1,154 yards this season, nearly double any other Giants receiver.
BIG PLAYS: The Jets dominated the stats sheet in the first half — but not on the scoreboard.
They gave up Beckham's 72-yard TD and Harris' 80-yard punt return for a score, which put the Giants in front 20-10. That's despite the Jets leading in first downs (12-4), time of possession (20:13-9:47) and total yards (217-186).
SITTING OUT: Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson sat the entire first quarter, something he and Bowles called "a coach's decision."
Neither Wilkerson nor Bowles would confirm or deny a media report that Wilkerson was late for a team meeting.
"That was something we handled in-house," Bowles said, "and we didn't put that out there."
Wilkerson ended up with three tackles and his team-leading ninth sack.
GIANTS LINE PLAY: The defensive line finally generated a pass rush, getting three sacks and nine quarterback hits against Fitzpatrick. Robert Ayers Jr. led the way with two sacks after the Giants came in with 12 this season.
The offensive line, which got left guard Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg back this week, is in flux again. Rookie left tackle Ereck Flowers was forced out in the third quarter with an ankle injury. Pugh moved from left guard to tackle and Dallas Reynolds came in at left guard. The line allowed only three sacks, but only produced 74 yards rushing on 24 carries.
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