Jets LB Bryan Thomas gets stiff-armed by Browns RB Jamal Lewis during Cleveland's 24-18 win over NY on Sunday.
With the way this season has transpired for the New York Jets, you couldn’t have asked for a more extreme form of torture for the Jets and their beloved fans, could you?
Well, in their Week 14 match-up against the Cleveland Browns, that kind of torture arrived in the forms of a lack of offensive scoring in the beginning and a failed attempt at a comeback in the end, resulting in a 24-18 defeat.
The rain came down late in the game, but it didn’t wash away a chance for Gang Green to redeem themselves. Despite not following through on that opportunity, there was still that determination from that squad until the bitter end.
“I was pleased with the way we fought throughout that game, right up there until the end and try to give ourselves a chance for a last play to win the game,” said Mangini. “But again it comes down to the ability to execute, especially offensively in the red zone.”
Kellen Clemens was 24-for-41 with 286 yards and had a rushing touchdown, but not before throwing two interceptions, including one in the end zone in the second quarter. He did have a chance to redeem himself and lead a game-winning drive, but it was his early struggles that got the best of him.
“We had some big opportunities early,” he said. “To come away from that with no points because of a costly interception on my part is both unacceptable and a huge momentum swing.”
For almost the entire first half, the Jets and Browns were anemic offensively. One defensive stop was followed by another. Clemens’ fellow statesman in Oregon, Derek Anderson, threw a short touchdown pass to Jamal Lewis for seven yards, breaking the scoreless tie with 1:15 to go in the half. To close it out, the Jets responded with a 35-yard field goal by Mike Nugent, making the score a 7-3 Cleveland advantage.
“I thought defensively we played good for most of the game,” Mangini said. “I was pleased with the job that we did on [Kellen] Winslow.”
When the Browns got the ball, they immediately struck gold when Edwards caught a touchdown pass from Anderson for four yards, making the score 14-3.
“I think [Braylon] Edwards is a very good player and he made some excellent catches in tight coverage,” said coach Mangini. “I don’t think it was a question of Darrelle [Revis] being dramatically out of place. I think it was a function of him doing a real nice job of being able to get open in a really tight space.”
Meanwhile, the Jets tried everything they could to keep it close, only to come up with another Mike Nugent field goal, making the score 14-6.
It wasn’t until the mass exodus of Jets fans leaving the premises after Phil Dawson’s made field goal attempt to give the Brownies a 17-6 lead did the Jets make the attempt to come from behind.
Clemens’ one-yard plunge into the end zone sparked a potential rally for the Jets, but a failed two-point conversion attempt kept the score at 17-12. Then, the hopes of Gang Green supporters were raised very high when the Jets recovered the onside kick with 2:59 remaining in the fourth. But just like some of their other offensive possessions, the only thing the Jets got out of it was a Nugent field goal. Then it was 17-15 Browns, giving the team some hope to further their cause for a comeback.
However, it was not to be. After the Browns recovered the Jets’ second onside kick, Jamal Lewis kept pounding the ball for a couple of plays until he broke apart the New York defense for a 31-yard touchdown score, sealing the victory and sending the Browns faithful in attendance home happy. Mike Nugent’s fourth field goal of the evening and another failed onside kick only prolonged the inevitable.
“It’s frustrating,” said RB Thomas Jones, who had 24 rushing attempts for 106 yards. “We made a comeback like that at the end, put some good drives together and scored some points and didn’t win. It’s definitely frustrating.”
While the Browns all but have a playoff spot locked up, the Jets still have question marks to answer. But nothing will come easy next week, especially when next week’s opponent in Foxboro is waiting for them after returning to their early form against Pittsburgh today.
GRADING THE JETS
Gang Green’s offense was able to make some plays, just not the ones that mattered. The closest they got all game was down to the Cleveland 2-yard line, but Thomas Jones went nowhere, and Clemens was picked off in the end zone. For most of the game, they only went deep enough on to make Nugent do the scoring. Kellen Clemens had the team’s only touchdown on a keeper, but that wasn’t enough.
Everything started off promising for the Jets defense. They made the stops they needed to make against Cleveland’s fast-paced offensive unit. Kerry Rhodes had that big interception at the end of the first quarter deep in Cleveland territory. Yet starting at the end of the first half, they allowed Anderson to throw two TD passes, both short. The last straw came near the end when Jamal Lewis broke through for a 31-yard touchdown run. Talk about sketchy.
Mike Nugent accounted for all of the Jets’ scoring with two field goals. On his very first punt of the game, Ben Graham booted the ball beautifully as it landed on the Browns’ 2-yard line. Most importantly, Cleveland’s go-to guy on the return teams, Joshua Cribbs, was rendered ineffective by the defense, even though Leon Washington didn’t create anything special on the return.
Despite being MIA at the Jets facility for two weeks, WR Jerricho Cotchery rejoined the team for Sunday’s game and suited up. Cotchery wasn’t too shabby either, recording six receptions for 119 yards, clearly a testament to his toughness.
“A lot of people are playing through pain. A lot of people are banged up right now,” he said. “We’re just trying to fight through it. Anytime you have an injury you have to fight through, you have to focus on every aspect of the game, every little detail.”
Many bone-crunching hits were on hand in the Meadowlands today, but a few of them stood out. One hit was when David Barrett upended Joshua Cribbs on one play, with a little help from David Harris.
Another noteworthy hit was when Cribbs was jolted by Kerry Rhodes, who had an interception early in the game. However, it appeared as though Rhodes was the one that was hit upon, as he walked around a little woozy and hanging on to his arm. In his press conference, he stated that he felt fine.
Early in the second quarter, it appeared that Kellen Clemens took a no-huddle keeper from the Cleveland 3-yard line into the end zone for the first score of the game. Unfortunately for him and the Jets, he was stopped short of the one-yard line, as his knee appeared to have hit the ground before the ball crossed the plane. When the replay showed, the crowd of 76,822 voiced their displeasure and called for coach Mangini to throw the red flag and challenge it. The play was never challenged, and a few plays later, Sean Jones picked Clemens off in the end zone.
Throughout the course of the game, Laveranues Coles left the field three times, favoring his left ankle. In the fourth quarter, after making a catch, he was wrestled down to the ground, and struggled to get up initially. He was able to walk off the field on his own power, albeit hobbling badly. Nevertheless, he played on.
Schotty Was Right
Coming into today’s game, the Browns were ranked either last or close to last in every defensive category. After Friday’s practice, Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer stated that stats are deceiving. Judging by Cleveland’s defensive performance (picking off Kellen Clemens twice and limiting the offense to one touchdown overall) and Laveranues Coles’ words in his press conference, it appears that Schotty’s words rang true.
“They’re very competitive, and you can tell they’re a great ball-club. The stats don’t say what type of team they have. If you look at the stats, it’s really nothing, but when you look at them on film you see a good team.”
The following Jets were inactive in today’s game: QB Marques Tuiasosopo, WR Chris Davis, CB Andre Dyson, DE Mike DeVito, OL Jacob Bender, T Adrian Jones, TE Jason Pociask, and DL Kareem Brown.
Kerry Rhodes intercepted a pass at the end of the first quarter and returned it 13 yards. He has now picked off a pass in four consecutive games: vs. PIT (11/18), two-yard return; at DAL (11/22), 22-yard return; at MIA (12/2), 36-yard return; vs. CLE (12/9), 13-yard return.
He is the first Jet to record an interception in four consecutive games since Otis Smith in 1995 (9/3 at MIA; 9/10 vs. IND; 9/17 vs. JAX; 9/24 at ATL).
Rhodes has five interceptions on the season to lead the team. Five is his career high, surpassing his four interceptions in 2006. He now has 10 for his career.
Rhodes also forced his second fumble of the year when he stripped Braylon Edwards at the five-yard line before the ball rolled out of bounds.
Kellen Clemens completed 24-of-41 passes for 286 yards and two interceptions. He also rushed three times for eight yards and one touchdown.
The 24 completions and 286 passing yards are career highs.
His one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was the first rushing touchdown of his career.
The Jets defense had not allowed an offensive touchdown in five quarters prior to Jamal Lewis scoring from seven yards with 1:15 remaining in the second quarter.
It was the first offensive touchdown the Jets defense had allowed since the Thanksgiving game at Dallas (11/22) when Terrell Owens caught a 22-yard touchdown pass at the 6:12 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Jets defense had gone 94:57 without allowing an offensive touchdown.
homas Jones rushed for 106 yards on 24 carries.
It was his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season and the 20th of his career.
Today, he passed Floyd Little to move into 60th on the NFL’s all-time rushing list with 6,328 rushing yards.
Jones now has 944 yard rushing on 255 carries this season.
Jerricho Cotchery caught six passes for 119 yards.
Today marked his third 100-yard receiving effort of the season and the fifth of his career.
Cotchery leads the team with 60 catches for 849 yards. He 112 yards shy of his career high (961 yards in 2006).
Mike Nugent was four-for-four on field goal attempts (35, 41, 38, 35).
He has made 14 consecutive field goal attempts and 21-of-his-last-22 attempts. The streak is the fourth-longest in team history.
He has made 26-of-31 field goals this season. The 26 field goals and 31 attempts are both career highs for one season.
Nugent kicked four field goals for the second consecutive game and third time in the last four games. He was four-for-four at MIA (12/2) and vs. PIT (11/18). He now has seven four field-goal games in his career.
Clemens led the Jets on a seven-play, 53-yard drive that culminated in Nugent’s 35-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter, marking the fifth consecutive game that the Jets have scored points in the final two minutes of a half. He also kicked a 38-yard field goal with 1:43 remaining in the fourth quarter and a 35-yard field goal with 0:32 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Jets Scoring Drives in the Last Two Minutes
Date/Opp P-Y-Time Time/Half Result
12-9/Cle 5-43-0:50 0:32, 2nd 35 FG
12-9/Cle 7-37-1:16 1:43, 2nd 38 FG
12-9/Cle 7-53-1:15 0:00, 1st 35 FG
12-2/MIA 8-33-1:01 0:10, 1st 40 FG
11-22/DAL 13-56, 5:39 0:39, 1st 40 FG
11-18/PIT 13-76, 2:00 0:23, 2nd 28 FG
11-18/PIT 9-48, 2:19 0:00, 1st 19 FG
11-4/WAS 16-64, 5:03 0:10, 2nd 30 FG
10-21/CIN 8-80, 1:19 0:49, 1st TD
10-7/NYG 9-93, 1:46 0:33, 1st TD
9-23/MIA 9-57, 1:34 0:02, 1st TD
Laveranues Coles caught seven passes for 48 yards.
He has caught at least one pass in 72 consecutive games played.
With 561 career receptions, he passed Stanley Morgan, Troy Brown, Roy Green and Wes Chandler to move into 66th place on the all-time list.
The Jets recorded a season-high 26 first downs and 387 total yards.
Brad Kassell recovered an onside kick with 2:58 remaining in the fourth quarter, the first Jets player to recover an onside kick for the kicking team since Kerry Rhodes vs. IND (10/1/06). He also made his first start of the season at linebacker. He last started at JAC (10/8/06).
Chris Baker caught three passes for 48 yards. He has now caught at least one pass in 23 consecutive games.
Sione Pouha made his first career start recording three tackles (press box stats).
CJ Mosley made his first start of the season and first as a Jet. He last started for MIN vs. STL (12/11/05).
The Jets now trail the all-time series 12-7.
Pats On Deck
The Jets’ road to redemption does not get any easier as they travel up I-95 for an AFC East showdown with the hated New England Patriots. This will be the first meeting between the two since the Week 1 match-up and the “Spy-Gate” incident it begat.