Lost in the euphoria that erupted when Vikings quarterback Brett Favre apparently had a flashback to 2008 and threw a pass to a wide-open Dwight Lowery is the fact that Favre and the Vikings had a full opportunity to drive the ball down the field and steal a victory from the Jets because of one of the worst examples of clock management we’ve seen.
The idea was a simple one. With the two-minute warning coming and the clock destined to stop after the play, there’s no downside to an incomplete pass. So the Jets dialed up a pass, and it was incomplete.
The problem? The play ended before the two-minute warning.
Jets coach Rex Ryan admitted that this was the strategy on Monday, and he gingerly pointed a finger in the general direction of his quarterback for failing to ensure that the play ended at or after the clock shower 120 seconds remaining in the game.
“That’s why in that time we took a shot to
throw the football, because we were like, ‘Okay, the thing is going to get to
two minutes anyway.’ I probably should have made sure that Mark knew that you
snap this thing with a second left, and that’s it,” Ryan said. “I think he got excited we
had a play called that he thought he could hit and really didn’t quite have the
presence to know where that clock was.
“So I don’t mind the play, throwing the
football there, that’s fine. The clock is going to be down to two minutes. OK, it doesn’t work. Well, when it was short, now you almost have to pick up
the first down. When it was 2:04, it’s like, ‘Oh, great, now we have to pick up
a first down.’ So we throw those two incompletions in a row. You know me, I’m
normally the most conservative guy, like hell, let’s just run it, let’s just
keep pounding it, pound it, we’ll run the clock down like that. But, our
offense was rolling pretty good, and I had a lot of confidence in our passing
game as well. We thought we could make a play, it’s just we mishandled it.
Again, I’m the guy that should be responsible for it. I should have made sure
Mark knew the exact situation.”
If Ryan was disappointed with the management of the clock at the end of the game, he also likely was perplexed by the play-calling at the end of the second quarter, when the Jets had a first down from the Minnesota four. Despite playing in a storm with rain so heavy that it looked like the snow that could be falling when the Super Bowl is played in the New Meadowlands Stadium, the Jets called three straight pass plays and settled for yet another field goal.