Though he took the blame for the timeout call his young quarterback made, head coach Rex Ryan was clearly upset with a game-shifting play at the end of the second quarter.
The Jets were on the sixth play of their late second quarter drive and down 6-2 when quarterback Mark Sanchez found tight end Dustin Keller for eight yards to get the ball down to the New England two-yard line. With 1:24 left on the clock and nearly 20 seconds still on the play clock, there was plenty of time for Sanchez to get the third down play off.
Instead, Sanchez called a timeout and, on the next play, scrambled two yards -- not exactly the kind of intricate play that might warrant the use of a timeout. It also left New England with plenty of time on the clock and two timeouts. The Patriots drove 80 yards in just six plays, using just 1:11 off the clock and took a 13-6 lead into the locker room. They would never lose the lead again.
“A poor timeout. Time management was critical right there,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “It’s my responsibility.”
That seems to be the party line from the Jets as Sanchez told reporters after the game that he heard on the headset in his helmet that they were thinking about taking the timeout. But nowhere during his press conference did Ryan talk about the confusion or if Sanchez could have been told by a coordinator to potentially take a timeout. Sanchez, however, clearly says that he thought a timeout was coming, but never explained why he rushed to take one so quickly.
“They were just talking about take a timeout here, talk about the play. So as soon as I heard that I walked over to the ref and said ‘timeout,’” Sanchez said. “You can’t do that; you’ve got a running clock. That’s poor clock management on my part.”
NBC’s Michelle Tafoya reported that Ryan told her it was “the stupidest thing in football history.” The Jets could have run the clock down another 20 seconds before Sanchez’s designed quarterback keeper. But what ended up happening resulted in the Patriots having enough time to take a strike into the end zone and gain momentum before halftime.
“As soon as I did, I walked over and Rex is like ‘Why did you call timeout?’ I was like ‘Ohh.’ It was a horrible mistake,” Sanchez said. “Can’t make mistakes like that.”
As Ryan frequently does, he took the blame for Sanchez’s error. It was a subpar night from Sanchez, who was 20-for-39 for 309 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He took a beating on the night -- five sacks total -- in large part due to holding onto the ball too long in the pocket.
Despite the fact that Sanchez took the timeout apparently without any confirmation from the sidelines, Ryan wouldn’t blame him for the costly timeout.
“It’s my responsibility,” Ryan said. “I’m responsible for everything that happens with this football team.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.