When New England's Devin McCourty fumbled away a kickoff return just before the two-minute warning, some unlikely possibilities were suddenly on the table.
The much-maligned Jets had the ball already in field-goal range in a tie game and were looking at taking over first place in the AFC East. The Patriots were inexplicably staring down 3-4, with four very close, late, heartbreaking losses. And anyone who happened to still be alive in their survivor pools were going to get knocked out taking an 11.5-point favorite to win.
The Jets made a mistake. They didn't put the Patriots away when they had the chance.
New York's first two plays were runs up the middle that gained 3 yards, including the first one on a Wildcat play from Tim Tebow, even though Mark Sanchez was in the middle of a 328-yard passing day against a Patriots secondary that has been suspect, at best. The third and 7 pass call resulted in a sack. Big and bold Rex Ryan played for a field goal when he had the chance to knock out the Patriots and one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
When the Jets got that field goal with 1:37 left, taking all of 24 seconds off the clock, the only question was whether Tom Brady was going to win the game in regulation or simply lead a game-tying drive to send it to overtime. Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for 15 yards, then 12 more. He hit Danny Woodhead for a pair of completions that gained 27 more. The Patriots tied the game on a Stephen Gostkowski field goal. That should have surprised nobody.
New England won the toss in overtime, Brady led another drive that ended with a Gostkowski field goal, then Sanchez fumbled on the Jets' only possession to allow the Patriots to escape with a win. New England is in first place in the division at 4-3.
New York played a very good game. Statistically, the Jets played the Patriots nearly even across the board. New York had a great chance for the upset win and first place in the AFC East at the two-minute warning. Instead, the Jets let Brady and the Patriots hang around and beat them.
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