Jets WR Laveranues Coles reaches for an a touchdown that was called back after the officials reviewed it. (Jets Insder.com Photo)
Tell me if you’ve heard any of this before.
A Jets quarterback fumbles a snap. In the shotgun, no less.
A Jets kicker trudges onto the field to attempt a game-winning kick. And misses.
The Jets lose in a devastating fashion.
It all sounds like a collection of the Jets worst hits from the past two seasons, but last night the stars aligned in a painfully reminiscent three-play sequence in the final seconds. The end result was what else but a 21-19 loss. This time the New Orleans Saints were the victors.
The calamity started when the Jets took over with 1:37 remaining. After QB Brooks Bollinger connected with TE Doug Jolley for 21 yards, the Jets were in pursuit of a game-winning field goal.
However, this is where the déjà vu kicked in.
Bollinger, in the shotgun, fumbled a snap and was forced to pounce on the ball. The Jets have had problems with center-to-quarterback exchange, a routine which should be second nature. The Jets lost three yards and moved back to the Saints 37-yard line.
Then Bollinger completed a pass to WR Jerricho Cotchery to recover the three yards, and K Mike Nugent ran onto the field to attempt his fifth field goal of the night. He was a perfect 4-for-4.
After the Saints called a timeout, Nugent, the rookie who was brought in to replace a beleaguered Doug Brien, the rookie whose leg was supposed to kick balls out of Giants Stadium, lined up to give the Jets their first win since Oct. 9.
But Nugent’s 53-yarder was on target, but fell inches short of the crossbar, ending the sequence of plays which sum up the Jets (2-9) season.
“You get that feeling every time you hit a ball,” Nugent said when asked if he thought the kick had the distance. “Right when I hit it, I thought it was going to go [through], the good thing about that kick was that it was straight.
Given the brisk weather conditions, Nugent’s hindsight got the better of him in the locker room. He explained how he should have kept the trajectory of the kick lower.
“I should have the kept the ball down a little bit,” he said.
In a lost season which is reduced to nothing more than a race to Reggie Bush, the Jets missed a chance to infuse some positive vibes into a dejected locker room for the first time in six weeks. The Saints (3-8) proved the better bottom-feeder, while the Jets futility continued to reach new lows.
The losing skid is now at six and counting and the bleeding isn’t likely to stop anytime soon. The Jets are at New England next week and host Oakland in two weeks.
“We had our chances,” head coach Herm Edwards said. “We just couldn’t quite make the plays.”
In the realm of moral victories, the Jets are champs. They didn’t have a turnover for the first time in three games after committing 14 against the Panthers and Broncos the past two weeks.
The offense awoke, too. After nearly 157 game-minutes and over 10 quarters without a touchdown, the Jets exorcized their offensive demons when QB Brooks Bollinger hit WR Justin McCareins for a 27-yard touchdown pass to give the Jets a 16-14 lead. The pass-and-catch were a sight for a unit filled with sore eyes. Bollinger floated a pass to McCareins, who ran a crisp post route into the end zone.
Bollinger (19-for-28) threw for 251 yards, the most for a Jets quarterback since Chad Pennington’s 264 yards on Opening Day. He could’ve boosted that rating at the end of the first half if not for a touchdown pass that was called back.
Bollinger lofted a pass 27 yards to WR Lavernues Coles in the left corner of the end zone in the second quarter that was ruled a touchdown. But a booth review ruled Coles never had possession of the ball before he landed out of bounds. The Jets settled for a 41-yard Mike Nugent field goal and a 14-9 halftime deficit.
“The ball came out when he hit the ground, I guess,” Edwards said of the explanation referees gave him.
Bollinger wasn’t as quick to agree with the ruling.
“He didn’t [have it] because [the referees] said he didn’t,” Bolliner said, almost defiantly. “It’s their rules. I don’t know enough about the rules. My job is to play and their job is to officiate.”
Still, the Jets had their chances. On their first three scoring drives, the Jets settled for Nugent field goals of 29, 45, and 41. Nugent’s career-high fourth field goal of the game gave the Jets a 19-14 lead in the third quarter.
However, the Saints, making their second appearance in Giants Stadium this season, did not roll over. Their 11-play, 81-yard drive culminated with a 30-yard touchdown pass from QB Aaron Brooks (17-for-23, 181 yards and three touchdowns) to WR Devery Henderson.
“We blew the coverage on the touchdown,” Edwards said. “The safety didn’t get over there in time.”
On their next two possessions, the Jets drove to the Saints’ 34 – the first time resulting in a punt, the second in the missed field goal. All resulting in the same bitter end for the Jets.
“When you’re a team in a situation like us you just want to win so bad,” Bollinger said. “To come up that short again is tough. That’s what makes winning so great.”
Movin’ On Up. In the midst of a ho-hum prime time game, Curtis managed to garner some of the spotlight. Martin’s 23-yard on the Jets first scoring drive put him over the 14,000-yard rushing yards, making him only the fourth player behind Emmitt Smith, Water Payton and Barry Sanders to reach that mark.
“As a professional, you would trade all the milestones for a win,” said Martin, who carried the ball 24 times for 91 yards.
Martin, a week after carrying the ball four times for seven yards, had seven carries for 44 yards in the first quarter. He also became just the third running back in NFL history to rush over 3,500 times. Smith (4,409) and Payton (3,838) are the only two with more carries.
-CB Ty Law’s 41 interceptions tie him for fourth with Minnesota S Darren Sharper among active defensive backs. Deion Sanders (51), Troy Vincent (46) and Ashley Ambrose (42) have more interceptions than Law and Sharper.
-LB Jonathan Vilma, who has 113 tackles, is second in the league behind Dolphins LB Zazch Thomas (119).
-Going into tonight’s game, 17 Jets players – including those on injured reserve – had missed a combined 88 games.
-S Rashad Washington recorded his first career sack in the third quarter.
PHOTO GALLERY: For the complete gallery of Jets Insider.com Exclusive Jets/Saints game pictures
INACTIVE LIST: Rookie CB Justin Miller started in place of David Barrett for the third consecutive week. Barrett is still inactive because of an eye contusion.
-QB Jay Fiedler
-QB Vinny Testaverde
-WR Harry Williams, Jr.
-CB David Barrett
-OL Norm Katnik
-DT Sione Pouha
INJURIES: One pleasant surprise is that the Jets suffered no new injuries against the Saints.
The team has Monday and Tuesday off then returns to action on Wednesday to begin preparation for the Patriots. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com for all the latest NY Jets news.