A week ago, the New York Jets benefitted greatly from faulty clock management by Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz. On Sunday, the opposing coach -- Eric Mangini -- made a couple of decisions that backfired and help his former team escape with a 26-20 overtime win.
Here's what happened: With 1:35 remaining in OT, and the ball at their 3-yard line (after an ill-advised interception by rookie CB Joe Haden), the Browns went three-and-out. Mangini couldn't decide if he wanted to go for the win or settle for the tie.
First down: Incomplete pass. Now 1:30 on the clock.
Second down: Peyton Hillis ran for two yards. Rex Ryan had one timeout remaining, but chose not to use it here. Mangini called timeout, but he waited until 41 seconds remained. Based on that strategy, you would've thought he was going to settle for the tie. Except ...
Third down: Colt McCoy dropped back to pass and was sacked, barely avoiding a safety. Ryan used his last timeout here, with 35 seconds remaining.
Asked to comment on the Browns' play calling, Jets WR Santonio Holmes said, "It's self-explanatory. They probably should've stuck with running the ball and they probably shouldn't have called a timeout in the last seconds. That's how they gave us the game again."
Mangini didn't shed much light into his strategy.
"It's a function of trying to move the ball out and also protect the time," he said. "We could have run it three times and run out the clock at that point, but I thought we had a chance. That was the thinking."
Bottom line: Ryan one-upped his predecessor in that situation, allowing the Jets to get the ball back with enough time to make one play -- Holmes' game-winning TD.
The Man-genius was anything but in that situation. Haden did him no favors, interception a desperation, third-down pass to Braylon Edwards that he should've knocked down. It was woefully underthrown by Mark Sanchez, but it turned out brilliantly, pinning the Browns at their 3.
"An interception at the 3-yard line -- that's better than a punt," said DE Trevor Pryce, indicating that Haden goofed.
The Jets, too, had some questionable clock management. At the end of regulation, they had the ball at their 30, 35 seconds on the clock, and two timeouts in their pocket. Mark Sanchez threw a short incompletion, and they ran out the clock with a run by LaDainian Tomlinson -- rather conservative.
"I thought we were the best team," Ryan said. "I just thought that we could go into the overtime. I felt good that, if we got the ball, we could drive it and win it, offensively."
They did, but it took another 14 minutes, 44 seconds of football.