Ryan looked completely drained on the postgame podium, and with good reason. As has been his way in the four seasons he has been part of this rivalry, he dialed up schemes that neutralized New England's high-octane attack. But the defense couldn't stop Tom Brady when the moment was biggest, surrendering back-to-back field goals in the fourth quarter and overtime.
"We knew it was going to be a dogfight, there's no question about it," Ryan said. "It stinks being on this end of it."
Sanchez's evening was a microcosm of his entire Jets career. The fourth-year starter was lost in the first half, typified by perhaps the ugliest interception of his career on a deep ball intended for Stephen Hill. Sanchez was a totally different player in the second half, however, leading the Jets to 13 consecutive points to wipe out a 10-point deficit.
Dustin Keller, who had seven catches for 93 yards and a touchdown, finally made his presence felt after being neutralized for six weeks by a bum hamstring. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley went over 100 yards. Nick Folk remained perfect on the season, knocking through two clutch 43-yarders to tie the score in the fourth quarter, then put the Jets ahead with less than two minutes to go in regulation.
The Jets were 1:42 away from sole possession of first place in the AFC East. Ryan's forlorn appearance after the game tells the story of a man who just saw a golden opportunity pass by him.