Sabo/NewsMark Sanchez's three interceptions, kicking team problems and a late Falcons score, combine for Jets' 10-7 loss Sunday.
Shortly after his team re-created a performance from the "Same Old Jets" handbook, straight from the ever-growing chapter entitled, "Unfathomable Losses," Ryan waved the surrender flag. Called it a season with two games to go.
"We're obviously out of the playoffs, and that's unfortunate," he said after a devastating yet oh-so-predictable 10-7 loss to the Falcons Sunday at the frigid Meadowlands.
Uh, just one thing, coach: You're still not mathematically eliminated.
As crazy as it seems, the Jets (7-7) still have the longest of shots in the AFC wild-card race. Then again, maybe premature concession was a fitting way to cap the afternoon; it was just another mistake in a day filled with them.
Or maybe Ryan was simply too demoralized after watching a three-hour clinic on how not to win big December games.
With everything at stake, against a dome team that had been eliminated Saturday night from postseason contention, the Jets were exposed as frauds. Mark Sanchez threw his 18th, 19th and 20th interceptions, the field-goal unit made like the Keystone Kops and botched three attempts and, in the final indignity, Ryan's vaunted defense forgot to cover the most prolific pass-catching tight end in NFL history on the biggest play of the game.
Claiming "we knew the exact play that was coming" on fourth down from their 6, Ryan called a "loaded zone coverage," with three defenders around Tony Gonzalez. It was a triangle look, but one of the "sides," nickel back Donald Strickland, failed to pinch in. Matt Ryanrecognized it immediately and fired a touchdown dart with 1:38 left in the game, the third time the Jets have blown a fourth-quarter lead.
"I left the window opened," Strickland said. "It feels like I let my team down."
The Jets were No.1 in total defense and they held the Falcons to 165 yards in offense for 57 minutes, but they failed once again to close the deal. Needing only one stop, they allowed the Falcons to march 73 yards in 11 plays, including two third-and-long conversions to wide-open receivers.
They contained Gonzalez (three catches for 32 yards) all day with single coverage by safety Kerry Rhodes, but the Jets went to a zone with the season on the line - and Rhodes wasn't involved in the coverage on the future Hall of Famer.
"It doesn't get much more frustrating than losing games like this, and we've managed to make a habit out of it," said safety Jim Leonhard, who was responsible for the over-the-top coverage on Gonzalez on the fateful play.