Jets QB Brett Favre under a sack pile as the team lays another egg in San Franciso, 14-24 to the 49ers.
You can spend $142 million on free agents, trade for Brett Favre, beat the defending Divison Champs on the road to take over first place and then beat the only undefeated team in the NFL. However, if if you are the NY Jets even those acheievments can't stop inevitable heartache, as Gang Green lost it's second game in a row to the lowly 49ers 24-14. The loss puts the Jets into a three-way first place tie with the Patriots and Dolphins, who both won on Sunday.
It was frustrating to say the least.
In a game that could have gone a long way to clinching the AFC East, the Jets failed to get it done in San Francisco. Brett Favre, who was 20 for 31 with 137 yards and an interception, was overwhelmingly outplayed by Niners quarterback Shaun Hill, who had more passing yards (285) than the entire Jets offense (182).
The Jets lost on the West Coast for the third time in as many attempts as they were dominated by San Francisco, who played much of the game without star running back Frank Gore. His absence could have crippled San Francisco's offense, as he accounts for 35 percent of the 49ers' yardage, but they got along well without him.
Hill threw a pick and two touchdowns, including the one that made the deficit insurmountable for New York when he connected with Bryant Johnson from three yards out with 6:12 to play.
The kickoff return following that touchdown summed up the Jets' day as Leon Washington failed to handle a Brad Smith lateral. Washington fell on the ball on the one yard line, narrowly avoiding a safety. Mike Westhoff looked almost as upset as he was when Washington's 99-yard return for a touchdown was called back on a James Ihedigbo holding flag earlier in the quarter.
The Niners defense had three sacks on the day, but the one Parys Haralson and Roderick Green shared was a big one when they brought down Favre with 4:21 remaining in the game on fourth down, forcing the Jets to punt from their own end zone.
“We're still in decent shape, but if we continue to play the way we've played we wont be,” Favre said. The veteran quarterback sees no difference from the two successive losses and the five straight wins.
“There are reasons, we could sit here and talk about all the reasons. We lost two games in a row and it's no different than talking about the reasons why we won five in a row.”
The home team scored first when 49ers offensive lineman Joe Staley recovered a fumble in the end zone. Gang Green got on the board about midway through the second quarter when Brett Favre ran into the end zone from two yards out. It was supposed to be a pass to TE Dustin Keller, but a defensive holding penalty rendered him helpless. The penalty was declined and the Jets tied it 7-7.
Thomas Jones amassed 56 yards on 10 carries. He scored in the third quarter to tie the game 14-14 on a 17-yard run that capped off a four-play, 45 yard drive that spanned just 1:57.
The 49ers offense flexed its muscle late in the first half when they picked apart the Jets' lackluster defense. After a 20-yard strike to San Fran TE Vernon Davis, Gang Green took back the momentum prior to the two-minute warning with a 10-yard sack shared by David Harris and Mike DeVito, but the Niners responded with a 13-yard completion to Dominique Zeigler and then 19 yards to Isaac Bruce. A Dwight Lowery holding penalty kept the drive alive, and on third-and-goal Shaun Hill threw a screen pass to Frank Gore, who high-stepped four yards across the goal line to give his team the lead 14-7 right before the half. It was the fourth time in the last five games in which the 49ers scored inside the final minute of the first half.
Mistakes plagued the Jets most of the afternoon. They had eight penalties for 57 yards. On top of that, they had the ball for 20:11 compared to San Francisco's 39:49.
On a pivotal 4th-and-1 near midfield in the third quarter Kris Jenkins committed a horrible mental error and was drawn offsides, keeping San Francisco's offense on the field. David Bowens got the ball back when he intercepted Hill at New York's 30-yard line and returned it 24 yards.
Unpenalized until the third quarter, San Francisco drew two big flags, one of which called back a touchdown. They managed to score 16 seconds into the final quarter, but it was four less than a touchdown would have given them as Joe Nedney kicked a 32-yard field goal to take the lead 17-14.
It was a painful loss, and the Jets' second straight after a five-game winning streak. Once viewed as the team to beat in the AFC, Gang Green is now in a hole in which they are going to have to find their way out if they want to make a playoff run.
“What we gotta do is what we've always done which is come back and work that much more efficiently and that much more effectively and be ready to come out and play our best football,” Mangini said following the loss. “And that's what we need to do week in and week out throughout the month of December because there's not many chances left.”
Jones Quietly Becoming All-Time Jet
Thomas Jones' 17-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter tied the game at 14. The touchdown also tied the following Jets franchise records:
The touchdown was Jones’ 12th rushing touchdown of the season, tying Curtis Martin in 2004.
The touchdown was Jones’ 14th overall this season, tying Curtis Martin in 2004.
Jones has scored a touchdown in seven consecutive games, tying the team record set by Santana Moss in 2003.
The Jets forced five fumbles against San Francisco (Hank Poteat, Kris Jenkins, Ahmad Carroll, Marques Murrell, Shaun Ellis) to increase their NFL-leading total to 22 for the season. The fumble forced by Jenkins on RB Michael Robinson was recovered by Calvin Pace, his fourth fumble recovery of the season and eighth of his career.
Brad Smith has Seen Better Days
As if it wasn't enough for Brad Smith to be the one who sent an errant lateral to Leon Washington that Washington couldn't handle, Smith was sandwiched between two 49er defenders—Keith Lewis and Patrick Willis. Lewis got Smith low and Willis hit him high, making for a long couple of seconds before Smith hopped up and walked it off, only to return to the grass of Candlestick Park in obvious pain. He did not return.