Raiders K Sebastian Janikowski celebrates after hitting a 57-yard field goal in overtime to beat the Jets 16-13 in Oakland.
The last time quarterback Brett Favre stepped into the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum-Dec. 22, 2003-he delivered one of his most magical performances under the heaviest of hearts. Less than 24 hours after learning his 58-year old father Irving had died suddenly of a heart attack back in Mississippi, Favre courageously led the Packers to a 41-7 victory over the Raiders. More memorable than his determination to play under the emotional conditions was his performance, in which he passed for 399 yards (311 in first half) and four touchdowns.
Today Favre returned to the scene of that emotional winter night, but now with the Jets, the future Hall of Famer was unable to replicate the magical performance. Instead Favre (21-for-38, 197 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions) sat speechless on the sidelines in overtime as Sebastian Janikowski booted a franchise-record 57-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 16-13 win over the Jets.
Again, for what is painfully becoming an unremitting theme for a team that entered the season with playoff aspriations, "self-inflicted wounds" ended the Jets' afternoon in disappointment. The Jets turned the football over three times and were whistled for a season-high seven penalties against a franchise that entered today with a meager 1-4 record.
"You can't have these self-inflicted wounds, whether they're turnovers or they're penalties," head coach Eric Mangini exclaimed following the loss. "We need to do a much better job of controlling those things and when we do, we will win on a more consistent basis."
One week following running back Thomas Jones' three-touchdown performance with the Jets, it was Gang Green's passing game which struggled in defeat. In the loss, which Favre labeled "one of the toughest losses I've ever been a part of," the 18-year veteran completed 21-of-38 passes for 197 yards, but threw two costly interceptions.
After a Janikowski 37-yard field goal gave the Raiders a 13-10 lead with 2:56 remaining in the fourth quarter, Favre had the opportunity to lead his team down the field in thrilling fashion. Heading into the matchup, he had led 36 game-tying or winning drives in the fourth quarter, all of which had come with the Packers. For the future Hall of Famer, it was only a matter of time before he bumped that total up to 37.
Favre and the Jets were handed the football at their own 5-yard line after a 40-yard punt from Shane Lechler, but the seemingly endless distance to scoring position did not faze the Jets' quarterback. He went 3-for-6 on the drive to lead the offense to the outskirts of field goal territory. Following an incompletion, Jets kicker Jay Feely lined up for a potential game-tying 52-yard kick. Feely's first attempt sailed off the left upright, but the miss was nullified after Raiders interim head coach Tom Cable called a timeout seconds prior to the snap. With Feely handed the mulligan, the Jets' kicker booted his second attempt through the uprights.
"The kick counted that he hit, so I was pleased with that. He's had a decent amount of plus-50 kicks and actually did a pretty good job there," Mangini explained.
While the kick surely uplifted a frustrated Jets' sideline, Mangini said he "didn't expect [momentum] to dramatically change" as the game headed into overtime.
As both teams traded punts in overtime, the Raiders received the football at their own 19-yard line with 4:36 remaining. Only this time, it was Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell who would contribute in delivering the victory blow. Following a 16-yard completion to wide receiver Javon Walker and a 27-yard completion to tight end Zach Miller that placed the ball at the Jets' 38-yard line, Janikowski's boot sent the Jets home just 48 seconds later.
The game-winning drive came after a Jets' possession in which they were able to generate a first down with two key runs from Jones, but nothing more. The drive essentially capped off a sloppy performance from Gang Green, one in which was blemished by three turnovers.
The error-filled afternoon began for the Jets late in the first quarter, when Leon Washington muffed a punt from Shane Lechler at the 16-yard line. Raiders linebacker Sam Williams jumped onto the loose football, handing the Raiders golden field position. Unable to pound the football into the endzone, Janikowski connected on a 29-yard field goal, knotting the contest 3-3.
The score remained the same through the half and midway through the third quarter, when Russell connected with Walker on a 8-yard touchdown to hand the Raiders a 10-3 lead with 9:35 remaining in the quarter. The scoring drive featured a heavy dose of offense from running backs Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden who combined for 54 of the 70 total yards on the drive. Both Fargas (28 carries, 74 yards) and McFadden (eight carries, 39 yards, three catches, 50 yards) provided the heavy dose of offense throughout the afternoon.
Smith Back as Starter
As expected, Jets free safety Eric Smith returned to the starting lineup following a one-game suspension for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Cardinals' wide receiver Anquan Boldin in a Sept. 28 game. Earlier in the week Mangini noted that he was "not opposed" to featuring both Smith and Abram Elam at free safety. Smith finished the afternoon with five total tackles, while Elam recorded one tackle and was also flagged for a 15-yard facemask penalty on Oakland's scoring drive in the fourth quarter.
Jets False Starting for Touchdowns
The Jets failed to score a touchdown on their opening drive for a league-high tenth consecutive game. The last time the Jets opened with a touchdown was Dec. 2, 2007 in a 40-13 win over the Dolphins, when Leon Washington had an 18-yard scamper into the endzone.
Wide receiver Brad Smith's sliding nine-yard reception in the first quarter was his first catch this season. He finished the afternoon with four catches for 29 yards. He also had four carries for 59 yards.
Washington's 11-yard touchdown run early in the fouth quarter was his first touchdown in 24 carries this season. The third-year running back had three touchdown rushes last season and now has eight in his career.
For the Jets, quarterback Erik Ainge, defensive end Kareem Brown, wide receiver David Clowney, cornerback Drew Coleman, cornerback Justin Miller, linebacker Marques Murrell, kicker Mike Nugent and quarterback Brett Ratliff were inactive.
Most surprising of those scrathes is Miller, who had fully practiced all week after missing the previous five games with a foot injury. Mangini reiterated earlier in the week that Miller's playing status for today would come down to a "coaching decision." Also, today marked the first time this season in which Coleman was inactive. Hank Poteat, who recorded four tackles and one sack last week, served as the nickel cornerback.
For the Raiders, safety Rashad Baker, defensive end Derrick Burgess, tight end John Madsen, offensive tackle James Marten, tight end Ben Troupe, quarterback Marcus Tuiasosopo, center John Wade and wide receiver Todd Watkins were inactive.
Grading the Jets
In an error-filled afternoon, the lone brightspot was Jones, who carried the ball 24 times for 159 yards. Wide receiver Brad Smith also proved to be a reliable threat, totaling 80 yards. Nonetheless, it was a turnover-filled afternoon from Favre, who threw two interceptions. Heading into today the Raiders had allowed atleast 23 points in their five previous contests this year, so totaling 13 points was certainly not what Mangini expected. Too many turnovers and too many penalties from this lackluster unit.
It is difficult to really discredit the defense, seeing as how they allowed only 16 points, but just one sack and zero forced turnovers is tough to swallow. The Jets did a solid job of containing the Oakland running game, but Russell was provided too much time to use his cannon.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-
Jay Feely's 52-yard field goal proved to be as equally as important as Washington's muffed punt. Turnovers will always come back to bite, especially when they occur inside your own territory. Lechler (40.4 avg.) out-punted Reggie Hodges (35 avg.) proving why he is the best in football.
There were not too many make-or-break decisions faced by the coaching staff, as this result was decided solely on the field. The 38 runs and 33 passes proved to be a nice balance, but the Jets did not execute. Offense Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer did a solid job in featuring Smith in the gameplan with reverses.