EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- He kept repeating that phrase, the one so often used around this time of the NFL season when teams begin to gain a clearer picture of their path toward the playoffs, almost as if it provided reprieve in the wake of this loss.
"We control our own destiny."
So who wants to be the one to break it to him?
"It looks doubtful right now," Ryan said Sunday night of his team's shot at the AFC East crown. "What am I going to say? Maybe I should guarantee the fact that we're out of it. The last time I did that, we made the playoffs.
"So yeah, we don't have a chance."
The Jets' shot at the division this year, though, rests somewhere between Ryan's dramatization and Holmes' miscalculation.
Are the Jets dead in the water? No way. The Patriots' secondary is still suspect, further magnified by an injury suffered by starting cornerback Devin McCourty. The defense could easily cause real problems down the stretch.
"We wanted to win this game in the worst way," Ryan said. "We've been down this road before."
Sanchez, again in the spotlight, was sacked five times and threw two interceptions. He also mismanaged the clock at the end of the first half, calling a timeout that would give the Patriots a chance to score, which led to Ryan's halftime criticism. NBC reported that Ryan called the decision "the stupidest thing in football history."
Not only did Tom Brady regain his form after a few less than Brady-like weeks (his passer rating Sunday was 118.4), the Patriots' defense and special teams went a long way toward helping the cause. Those two interceptions by Rob Ninkovich? And those franchise-record 4.5 sacks by Andre Carter? And that fumble recovery on a muffed punt? It is with this type of assistance that New England can manage a 21-point margin of victory.
By all means -- based on momentum, based on what we've seen from all four teams in the AFC East and based on the schedule ahead -- there's no question who has control of this division's destiny.