The Jets aren’t the first NFL team to lose a game because of one play in the game’s final seconds. One of the most memorable losses that come to mind is the New England Patriots versus the Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX, Feb. 1, 2015. Seattle was down 24-20 on New England’s 1-yard line. Everyone expected quarterback Russell Wilson to hand the ball off to running back Marshawn Lynch, known as Beast Mode, at the time the best short-yardage runner in football.
Instead, head coach Pete Carroll or then offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, currently the interim head coach of the Detroit Lions, called for a pass, which was famously intercepted in the end zone by Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, costing the Seahawks the game. It was one of the worst losses in sports history.
The Jets/Las Vegas Raiders game on Sunday at MetLife Stadium didn’t have the same significance as the Seahawks/Patriots’ epic ending. Still, the Jets’ late game blunder will also go down in infamy. On third down and 10 with just 13 seconds remaining, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Henry Ruggs, who had run by Jets rookie cornerback Lamar Jackson.
Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams inexplicably called for a cover zero blitz, leaving Jackson no safety help to defend Ruggs, one of the fastest players in the NFL. Williams’ decision turned a sure victory into a 31-28 win for the 7-5 Raiders and kept the 0-12 Jets the only winless team in the league. The Jets subsequently fired Williams on Monday.
“We could’ve been in a better call in that situation,” Jets safety Marcus Maye emphatically stated after the crushing loss. “The coverage should’ve been better.”
“That was a heartbreaking way for our guys to lose a game,” said Jets head coach Adam Gase. “For that to happen in that situation, we can’t have that happen.”
Ironically and ominously leading up to the Jets’ matchup with the Raiders, Williams singled out their opponents’ swift pass catchers. “The big thing is, is the increased speed at the receiver position,” he said. “They’ve increased their speed.”
Gase, who will likely also be fired after the end of the season, said letting Williams go was the right course of action. “We just felt, organizationally, it was the best decision for our team moving forward.” Gase and Williams met for close to an hour prior to his termination.
“Obviously, he wasn’t happy, like most of us are when this happens,” expounded Gase. “But that’s our profession. We’ve all been in that situation when we’ve lost our jobs.”
With a new interim defensive coordinator, Frank Bush, who’s been working with the inside linebackers, the Jets will next face the 8-4 Seattle Seahawks on the road this Sunday. The Seahawks will be eager to redeem themselves after a 17-12 upset loss to the Giants at home last Sunday, dropping them to 8-4 and a first place tie with the 8-4 Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West.