Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Ones that got away in the AFC East
By Tim Graham
During my segment Tuesday morning on ESPN's "First Take," host Dana Jacobson asked which game will be known as the most regrettable loss in the AFC East this year.
I threw several candidates out there and thought this would be a good space to take a closer look at the heartbreakers.
There still are three weeks remaining in the regular season, but only one more intra-division game: the New England Patriots at the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
It's a safe bet one of the following -- listed by team and in order of pain inflicted -- will be known as the most costly.
New York Jets
Week 6 versus Bills: The Jets rush for 318 yards, but Mark Sanchez throws five of the Jets' six interceptions in a 16-13 overtime loss.
Week 5 at Miami Dolphins: The NFL's eventual No. 1 defense yields 413 yards and surrenders the last points in a fourth quarter that features five lead-changing touchdowns. Darrelle Revis, the NFL's best cornerback, gives up a 53-yard touchdown catch to Ted Ginn.
Week 8 at Dolphins: The Dolphins gain 104 yards from scrimmage but win because Ginn becomes the first in NFL history to return two kickoffs at least 100 yards for touchdowns in the same game. Jason Taylor adds a fumble return for a touchdown, and the Dolphins win by five.
Week 12 at Bills: With a chance to get above .500, the Dolphins take a lead into the fourth quarter, and the game is tied with four minutes to play. But quarterback Chad Henne throws three interceptions in the final 2:43, and the Bills blow it wide open.
Week 2 versus Colts: The Dolphins amass 403 yards and hold onto the ball for an astounding 45:07. But 32 seconds after Dan Carpenter kicks a field goal to put the Dolphins up with 3:50 to play, Peyton Manning connects with Pierre Garcon for the winning touchdown.
Week 7 versus Saints: The Dolphins spring to a 21-point lead in the first half. The Saints salt it away, scoring 24 points in the fourth quarter to win 46-34. A victory over the Saints -- or the Colts in Week 2 -- would change the complexion of Miami's year.
New England Patriots
Week 13 at Dolphins: In the second quarter, Bill Belichick chooses to go for it on fourth-and-1 inside the Dolphins' 10-yard line and fails. Tom Brady throws a red zone interception in the fourth quarter. Carpenter kicks a field goal with 62 seconds to play. Dolphins win 22-21.
Week 10 at Colts: Belichick infamously goes for it on fourth-and-2 from New England's 28-yard line. The Patriots fail. Manning, with a short field, throws a touchdown pass four plays later for a 35-34 victory.
Week 5 at Denver Broncos: The Patriots lead 17-7 at the half, about as close to an automatic victory as you can get given their track record. But the Broncos score a touchdown with 5:21 remaining to send the game into overtime. Matt Prater's winning kick is the Broncos' first lead of the day.