Brett Favre labeled it "one of the toughest losses I've ever been a part of." Eric Mangini called it "a tough loss for all of us." D'Brickashaw Ferguson deadpanned that "you can never be happy when you have a loss." Suffice to say, the sting of yesterday's 16-13 defeat to the Raiders still lingers.
The Jets were supposed to leave Oakland feeling good about themselves, reviewing all of the positives after beating up on one of the doormats in the NFL. But instead, they were left reviewing all that went horribly wrong. They let the opportunity of feeling positive slip away.
"It's one situation where as a team, you keep letting them hang in there and you keep giving them confidence," linebacker Calvin Pace explained today. "They made more plays than us. We definitely had more than enough chances to pull that out."
The Jets surely had the chances, three of them in the overtime alone to be exact. They wasted a career-day from running back Thomas Jones (24 carries, 159 yards) and a clutch 52-yard field goal from Jay Feely, which Pace said gave the defense the "attitude that it was a new game." Yet in the end, it was Sebastian Janikowski's 57-yard field goal which led the 'Black Hole' faithful to much rejoicing.
Again, it was combining the positives of yesterday with the "self-inflicted wounds" that bit the Jets when it mattered most.
"They can't be sandwiched in with nine penalties and three turnovers. It just makes it too difficult. Those are the things that we have to continue to work on," Mangini explained. "Those are the things that we have to eliminate to be effective especially when you're on the road."
The turnovers and penalties crippled Gang Green, especially when Oakland was able to remain turnover-free, while committing an astounding 14 penalties for 85 yards.
"It's very easy to turn on the tape and see those opportunities," Mangini explained, in reference to the numerous missed scoring chances. "It's always disappointing when you do so many positive things, and, again, to have production against you whether it's offensively or defensively because of things that you do."
Much of that production against the Jets came from the Oakland defense, which sacked Favre three times and knocked down the 38-year old gunslinger on many more occasions. Favre was limited to 197 yards through the air, most of which was gained after the catch. While Oakland often sent Favre to the ground, Mangini explained that the heavy pressure was not solely a result of poor pass-blocking.
"It's a function of if they're bringing more than you can block and being able to get the ball out quickly enough to avoid the hit and have those routes on that give a good outlet," Mangini said.
The Jets struggled on hitting such routes, as Favre compiled a meager 47.8 quarterback rating. To put it in perspective, tight end Chris Baker led the team with five catches, but four of them came on the opening drive.
But again, with the struggles of the offense, Mangini pointed to turnovers as the Jets' main concern.
"Usually the first stat you start with is turnovers. Giveaway, takeaway. You can pretty much tell how a game's going to go by that stat," Mangini said. "I'd say that's the strongest statistic probably in football is the giveaway, takeaway ratio."
Mangini "Comfortable with Overtime Play-Calling
While the Jets were unable to generate any points during three separate drives in overtime yesterday, Mangini was questioned for the conservative play-calling. Favre threw only four passes during the extra session, completing a slant to wide receiver Chansi Stuckey for 17 yards. Despite the run-heavy offense, Mangini had no second thoughts about the play-selection. He noted the Jets' 7.2 yards per carry and on the lone touchdown drive, eight of the nine plays were designed runs.
Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery was limited to one catch for a grand total of zero yards yesterday, but Mangini said that the Raiders did not do anything "necessariliy specific" to eliminate Cotchery from the offense.
"He got a little banged up during the course of the game. That hurt some of his opportunities. I don't think it was necessarilily specific to Jerricho," Mangini said.
Lasting Effects on the Air Attack?
After turning the football over three times yesterday, Mangini was asked whether he is now hesitant to go to the air with the game on the line.
"Not at all, no," Mangini exclaimed.
In yesterday's contest, both Cotchery and right tackle Damien Woody left the field on separate occasions due to injury. The Jets' head coach did not reveal anything specific, only explaining that those who were banged up are "getting looked at and we'll look at them tomorrow."
During player interviews today, Woody walked through the locker room with a noticeable limp.