FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Rex Ryan saw mistakes on the film, lost opportunities that still frustrated the New York Jets coach 24 hours later.
There were also some positives, and Ryan made sure to share those, too.
What he didn't see was a team that played too conservatively in key spots in a 29-26 overtime loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday. And to anyone who thinks they were, Ryan's got something to say.
Saying we played scared is somebody who has probably never played the game in his life, a testy Ryan insisted Monday. I mean, that's a ridiculous comment, because that's certainly not the way we do things. Everything we do is to play to win the game.
There were moments, however, where some fans and media might beg to differ.
The Jets had third-and-2 at the Patriots 3-yard line, trailing 16-10 early in the third quarter. It appeared to be a perfect opportunity to run the ball, a ready-made situation for Shonn Greene or to bring in do-it-all backup quarterback Tim Tebow. Instead, New York lined up in the shotgun and Mark Sanchez threw a quick slant to Chaz Schilens that fell incomplete. The Jets settled for a field goal.
With the game tied at 23 with 2:01 left in regulation, the Jets had just recovered a fumble on a kickoff and had the ball on the Patriots 18. Rather than be aggressive, New York had a somewhat head-scratching sequence:
— First-and-10: Tebow takes a direct snap up the middle and gains 2 yards.
— Second-and-8: Joe McKnight gains a yard off right guard.
Ryan got defensive when he was asked why the perception is that the coaching staff might not have faith in Sanchez, who was 16 of 20 after halftime, to make a big play in that situation.
We always do what we think is in the best interest of our team to be successful, Ryan said, whether it's run or whether it's pass.
— Third-and-7: Sanchez takes a sack that loses 10 yards.
So, Nick Folk kicked a 43-yard field goal that gave the Jets a 26-23 lead — but they also left Tom Brady plenty of time to march the Patriots down the field for a tying 43-yarder by Stephen Gostkowski as time expired.
When you look at it, we had some success running the ball in the previous series and really, we had Joe McKnight who had some big runs on them and we felt good about running the football or else we wouldn't have called it, Ryan said. We knew we needed a first down. It wasn't like we were trying to burn their timeouts. We were trying to get a first down to win the game and, you know, to their credit, they made some plays.