Jets Fall Just Short Against Saints
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ- In a tough year for the Jets, it got even tougher when they dropped their sixth consecutive game in a 21-19 loss to the Saints (3-8) Sunday night at The Meadowlands to fall to 2-9.
In a battle of struggling two win teams, the Saints snapped their six-game losing streak and improved to 1-1 at Giants Stadium in a trying season. Earlier this year in what was deemed a "home game" due to Hurricane Katrina, they fell to the Giants 27-10. This time, they fared better as the road team. Aaron Brooks passed for 181 yards and three touchdowns, connecting with three different receivers for scores.
After Jets rookie kicker Mike Nugent's career best fourth field goal from 38 yards out put New York ahead 19-14 four seconds into the fourth quarter, Brooks led the Saints on an 11-play 81-yard drive. His 30-yard strike to Devery Henderson put New Orleans up 20-19. Their two-point conversion was negated due to offensive pass interference on Zach Hilton, forcing them to settle for John Carney's PAT to put them up two with 8:32 remaining.
The Jets would get two chances to take the lead. After Brooks Bollinger hit Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles on two third downs to get to the New Orleans 34, he was called for intentional grounding on a key second down, which took them out of field goal range.
After burning their timeouts and forcing the Saints to punt, New York got the ball back with 1:37 left. Bollinger, who threw for 251 yards and a score to become the first Jets quarterback to go over 200 since Chad Pennington in Week One- completed a 21-yard pass to Doug Jolley at the Saints 33. But two plays later, he fumbled Pete Kendall's snap to put the Jets in a desperate third-and-long at the Saints 37 with the clock running down.
"I should've got it. Just my momentum was kind of not under me and I should've at least fielded it and been able to get it off," Bollinger said.
After a three-yard Cotchery reception, it set the stage for Nugent. But from 53 yards out, Nugent's kick just missed the goal posts with 10 seconds remaining.
"I thought [Nugent] made the last one," said Coach Herm Edwards. "But it's a little cold out there and probably didn't get all he could get. We lost some yards two plays before that. He would have been in good shape. It would have been nice if he had made it. It would have been a good win for all of us cause we need it right about now."
"It's just disappointing," added Bollinger. "When you're a team in a situation like us, you just want to win so bad and obviously since I've been starting, I haven't won one. So I really wanted to help us win a game. To come up short again, it's tough."
Early on, some history was made when Martin's 23-yard run put him over 14,000 rushing yards for his career- becoming only the fourth player to ever accomplish it. He joined exclusive company with Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders. Later in the game, Martin also became the third back to have 3,500 carries in an NFL career (Smith and Payton).
"As a professional you never trade off a win for a milestone," Martin said. "For me it doesn’t matter if we’re 2-60, we’re going to keep fighting.”
"[Martin] passed a big mark for him and hopefully he's going to get 1,000 yards so he can pass another big mark," Edwards said.
The Jets got on the board first on a Nugent 29-yard field goal with 1:56 to go in the opening quarter. But the Saints came right back when Brooks found Donte' Stallworth from 21 yards out to lead 7-3 with 12:59 left in the half.
Helped by 19 Martin rushing yards on their next drive, the Jets cut it to 7-6 on a Nugent 45-yard kick- his longest this year. But New Orleans came right back with a 74-yard scoring drive. After Brooks hit Joe Horn on a third down, Shaun Ellis was called for roughing the passer to help setup Brooks' second TD. On the next play, Hilton caught a 15-yard TD pass to put the Saints up 14-6 with 2:41 left.
Some bad luck followed for Gang Green when a booth review overturned an apparent Coles TD. They ruled that he didn't have control of the football when he came down in the end zone. The questionable call forced the Jets to settle for a Nugent 41-yard FG to go into half time down 14-9.
"Don't need to argue about it," Edwards said. "They made the call and obviously they looked on the monitor and felt he didn't score. Still had chances to win the game."
Bollinger later gave the Jets a 16-14 lead with a perfect 27-yard strike to Justin McCareins for his first TD of the season.
"I thought Brooks did a great job. And he made some good throws. Moved the ball offensively. Just couldn't score," Edwards said.
"We had our chances. Just couldn't quite make the plays down the stretch."