CLEVELAND (AP) — All the hilarious trash talking behind them, Rex and Rob Ryan walked out of the stadium together and on to their next adventure.
The bombastic brothers were sharply dressed in silk suits, a drastic departure from their usual sideline garb of untucked shirts and headsets. They looked like winners, and after a game that lasted nearly five quarters, both had every right to feel like a champion.
Only Rex could claim victory.
His New York Jets had done it again.
Santonio Holmes scored on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez with 16 seconds left in overtime Sunday, giving the Jets their eighth straight regular-season road win, 26-20 over the Cleveland Browns, who again showed they’re no longer pushovers.
The Jets (7-2) became the first team in NFL history to win two straight overtime games on the road. They won 23-20 in Detroit last week.
“That’s about as tough as it gets,” Rex Ryan said. “We found ways to get it done.”
Holmes caught a short pass from Sanchez, stepped away from three tacklers and sprinted into the end zone as the Jets outlasted the Browns (3-6), who played for the win in the closing minutes when they could have easily run out the clock for a tie.
After the game, Holmes almost felt sorry for Rob Ryan, Cleveland’s defensive coordinator.
Rex Ryan told him not to.
“He wanted to apologize to my brother,” Rex said. “I said, ‘Hey, forget all that. Don’t worry about that, buddy, he forgives you.'”
The Jets overcame three missed field goals by Nick Folk, including a 47-yarder in OT, and got all they could handle from the Browns.
“We can play with anybody and fight with anybody,” said Cleveland coach Eric Mangini, who came up short against the team that fired him two years ago. “We fight and deal with adversity well.”
The Ryan family held an impromptu reunion in one of the corridors inside Browns Stadium. The Ryan twins were joined by their famous father, Buddy, the longtime coordinator whose “46” defensive scheme has become a coaching staple. There were hugs and smiles.
Rex and Rob spent the week leading up to the game making fun of each other’s diets and wardrobes. They shared a few laughs on the field before kickoff, but once the ball was in the air, the lovefest ended.
“At 1 o’clock, everybody becomes nameless, faceless objects — whether it is your twin brother or a friend,” Rex Ryan said. “I feel bad for Cleveland. They played their hearts out. I don’t want to do this game over.”
Neither does Braylon Edwards, the Jets’ mouthy wide receiver who made his first trip to Cleveland since being traded. Booed and berated by Cleveland fans all day, he finished with four catches for 59 yards. After his first grab, he was pummeled by several Browns.
But afterward, Edwards complimented Mangini’s team.
“They look good. They’re putting a team in place to be a contender,” he said. “They took us to the end of the fifth quarter. I like what they’re doing. I definitely think they’re a team on the rise.”
Following wins over New Orleans and New England, the Browns couldn’t quite pull off their third upset in a row.
Cleveland forced OT on impressive rookie quarterback Colt McCoy’s 3-yard TD pass to Mohamed Massaquoi with 44 seconds left in regulation. The Browns had a chance in OT, but their drive ended when wide receiver Chansi Stuckey fumbled at the New York 32.
“It happened at a really crucial time,” said Stuckey, a former Jet. “I let everyone down.”
Sanchez threw two TD passes and ran for another. He also shook off a painful calf injury to his right leg in the second half and finished 27 of 44 for 299 yards. He threw one interception, but it actually helped set up New York’s winning score.
Sanchez underthrew a long pass to Edwards that was picked off by rookie cornerback Joe Haden, who might have been better off batting the ball down, with 1:35 left in OT.
The Browns were backed up at their goal line, but decided not to play it safe. McCoy threw an incompletion on first down and was sacked on third-and-8, forcing Cleveland’s Reggie Hodges to punt from his end zone.
“You have to play to win this game,” said McCoy, who went 18 of 31 for 205 yards in his fourth straight start. “That’s what we’re trying to do, no matter what snap it is or what down it is. That’s a gutsy call down there, for sure, but we tried to go down and score.”
New York’s Jim Leonhard returned Hodges’ punt 18 yards to the Cleveland 37.
On the next play, Sanchez threw a dart to the speedy Holmes, who broke free from cornerback Eric Wright, stepped inside of rookie safety T.J. Ward and scored. Last week, Holmes had a 52-yard reception in OT to set up Folk’s 30-yard kick that downed the Lions.
Mangini could have taken the easy way out in the final minutes, but didn’t.
Rex Ryan praised his counterpart and predecessor’s gutsy call.
“What are you going to do backed up?” he said. “All he (McCoy) has to do is throw a pick and then everybody would be looking to fire everybody. That’s smart. It’s how you play the game.”
The Browns sustained three costly injuries.
Joshua Cribbs, their Mr. Everything, injured several toes on his right foot in the second quarter and did not return. Cleveland also lost linebacker Scott Fujita with a left knee injury and cornerback Sheldon Brown went out with a shoulder problem.
Mangini did not provide an update on their status.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
- Jets Blog: Jets/Browns Preview (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Jets Blog: It Don’t Come Easy (newyork.cbslocal.com)