By Brad Carroll
The New York Jets suffered one of the worst losses in franchise history Sunday night in Green Bay, falling 31-24 to the Packers. What made the loss so heartbreaking and maddening was the fact the Jets had seemingly tied the game at 31 late in the fourth quarter, only to have that potential game-tying touchdown pass wiped out because of a timeout call.
The timeout wasn't called by coach Rex Ryan, but rather by defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, who thought offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg wanted to stop the play before the snap. Richardson saw Mornhinweg motion for a timeout and took it upon himself to get behind the referee and ask for time. He was only trying to help, but instead, he ended up costing the Jets dearly in a loss.
It was a play that seemingly only happens to the Jets.
The Jets didn't lose this game because of a timeout, however, as there were many moments and plays that changed what was a 21-3 lead into a seven-point defeat. Here is a breakdown of those moments and who was part of the collapse and even those who tried their best not to let that happen, as we hand out Game Falls and Game Balls.
Geno Smith: The Jets quarterback looked like an All-Pro leading his team to three touchdowns to start the game against the Packers. He was 8-for-10 for 89 yards with two total touchdowns. He ran one in from one yard out to open the scoring and then hit Eric Decker for a perfect 29-yard pass play to lead 14-0. After a field goal by the Packers, Smith led the Jets on a 17-play, 80-yard drive that took 8:28 off clock and was finished with a Chris Ivory four-yard touchdown run. It was one of the greatest starts to a game in Jets history. Then everything fell apart. With the Jets winning 21-9 and driving again late in the second quarter, Smith was hit on a deep pass to Zach Sudfeld, forcing the ball to float and allowing Tramon Williams to intercept it at the Packers 3. The Packers went 97 yards following the pick and scored a game-changing touchdown. Smith was 8-for-22 for 87 yards and the interception after the Jets third touchdown. Smith missed a wide-open Eric Decker to start the third quarter on what would have been a 79-yard touchdown. Even Smith's best pass after the terrific start was a big tease, as the scoring strike to Jeremy Kerley was waived off because of a timeout called from the sideline. Smith went from great to terrible and it cost the Jets.
Dee Milliner and Calvin Pryor: They failed on the biggest play of the game, getting beat by Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson for an 80-yard touchdown one play after the Jets tied the game at 24 late in the third quarter. Milliner looked slow on the play, unable to chase Nelson down, while Pryor took a horrible angle on the play and got burned. The secondary as a whole was burned for 346 yards and three touchdowns. Nelson picked up 209 yards on nine receptions, the most ever yards allowed by an opposing receiver against a Ryan defense. Kyle Wilson, one of the worst corners in the league, was beaten for a touchdown as well.
Chris Johnson: As good as he looked last week against the Raiders, Johnson was the opposite against the Packers. He looked slow and had no ability to hit the hole with any purpose. He had just 21 yards on 12 carries. Chris Ivory didn't do much better, rushing for 43 yards on 13 carries, but he gave the Jets a much better opportunity to move the ball when in the game. It was a bad day on the ground for the Jets, especially considering the Packers defense is suspect defending it.
Sheldon Richardson: The Jets defensive tackle is a great player and invaluable member of the defense, but he overstepped his role when he called timeout on the sideline just before the Jets seemingly tied the game on a 36-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley. Richardson was just trying to help, as he saw Mornhinweg rush down the sideline trying to get Ryan to call timeout. The only problem was Mornhinweg had stopped himself, choosing to run the play as called without a timeout. But Richardson stepped up right behind the referee and shouted for time. It was granted and the Jets had one of the most disastrous moments in team history.
Brian Winters: He was beaten badly on the Smith interception that allowed the Packers to take over at their own 3 and stop what could have been a game-clinching scoring drive before halftime. It was a huge moment.
Eric Decker: He suffered a hamstring injury that kept him on the sidelines late, but before that, Decker was great again, catching four passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. Decker was also wide-open on what could have been a 79-yard touchdown, but Smith missed the throw early in the third quarter. Through two games there is no question Decker is a No. 1 wide receiver.
Demario Davis: He had two sacks and was one of the leading forces on the Jets tremendous front seven. The Jets defensive front held Eddie Lacy, one of the best running backs in the league, to just 43 yards rushing. Davis added six tackles, five of which were solo.
Bilal Powell: As slow and ineffective as Johnson looked in the Jets backfield, Powell was that explosive. The Jets third-string back didn't get many opportunities, but he made the most of them, gaining 32 yards on two receptions.