Resilient Jets Let Manning, Colts Slip Away

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The New York Sun

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Justin Miller’s 103-yard kickoff return was the quick score the Jets needed. Only problem: It left Peyton Manning with one last chance and plenty of time.

After Miller’s dash

gave New York the lead with 2:20 left, Manning led Indianapolis on the type of efficient drive that has defined his career — capping it with a 1-yard run that gave the Colts a wild 31–28 win yesterday.

Manning was 6-of-8 for 60 yards on the drive, including a 19-yard pass to Marvin Harrison and a 15-yarder to Reggie Wayne that put the ball at the 1. Running the no-huddle offense, Manning then pushed himself into the end zone.

But it wasn’t over just yet.With 8 seconds left, the Jets got off one last, desperate circus play: a never-ending lateral-fest that almost worked. Chad Pennington threw a short pass to Leon Washington, who ran for an 8-yard gain and lateraled the ball to Brad Smith.

That was just the beginning. A series of four laterals — including one back to Pennington, who then threw a crosswise pass to Justin McCareins to keep the chaos rolling — and two fumbles recovered by the Jets followed, with center Nick Mangold finally losing the ball at the Colts 35 and Jason Davis recovering for Indianapolis to end the game.

“Once we crossed the 50 and with the pass I tossed to Justin, I thought, ‘Uh-oh … something good’s going to happen,’ ” Pennington said, adding that the team has practiced the play before.

On their first possession of the third quarter, the Jets got the ball at their 21 and marched down the field on a nearly 8 1/2-minute drive to the 2-yard line. Cedric Houston ran the ball twice, but failed to gain a yard — and injured his left knee on the second run. He was carted off the field, and his status wasn’t immediately known.

The Jets decided to go for it on fourthand-goal rather than try a field goal, but Pennington threw an interception — his first in the red zone in his career — caught by Rocky Boiman in the back of the right corner of the end zone.

“It’s fourth down,” Pennington, who was 17-of-23 for 207 yards, said. “Once the guy got around my waist, I knew I had to put the ball up in the air. I can’t think about stats, interceptions and all of that.”

The Colts then went on a 15-play drive to regain the lead, 17-14, on Martin Gramatica’s 20-yard field goal.

The Jets came right back and regained the lead on Kevan Barlow’s second touchdown run of the game, a 5-yard scamper to give the Jets a 21–17 lead.

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