EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Tom Coughlin is on the hot seat again after a fateful fourth-quarter decision backfired, hurting the Giants’ playoff hopes and helping of all teams, the local rival Jets.
Ryan Fitzpatrick rallied the Jets from a late 10-point deficit after Coughlin’s decision to go on fourth down went awry. Randy Bullock kicked a 31-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime, giving the Jets a stunning 23-20 win Sunday that sent the reeling Giants to their third straight loss.
The Jets (7-5) didn’t seal the win until Josh Brown missed a 48-yard field goal field goal with 6:33 left in the extra session, his first miss in 26 attempts this season. That left many questioning Coughlin and wondering whether the Giants (5-7) are headed for a fourth straight season out of the playoffs.
A visibly frustrated Coughlin, who many feel is facing a win-or-else season, didn’t back down on his decision to go on fourth-and-2 from the Jets 4 with his team ahead 20-10 with under nine minutes to play. Rontez Miles intercepted Eli Manning’s pass and returned it to the Jets 14, starting the Giants on the road to a fifth loss in a game they squandered a fourth-quarter lead.
“If we scored there and fourth-and-2, then we push the score up to where maybe they can’t beat us with whatever,” Coughlin said. “So we’re up 17. I stand by it.”
His players backed him.
“He was showing faith in us and that’s what you want,” defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. “As a player, you should want to have that opportunity to put the game away.”
The bottom line, though, is the Giants are fading at a time the Jets are making a push under rookie coach Todd Bowles. The Jets’ second straight win has given them control of their playoff destiny with four games left.
“For us to come from behind, it shows some grit,” Bowles said. “During the season, that’s the mark of a good team, so we finally got to that point. I’m just happy it was today.”
Bullock cut the deficit to seven points after Miles’ pick, and Fitzpatrick hit Brandon Marshall for a 9-yard touchdown with 27 seconds remaining to tie it, capping a 71-yard drive. Fitzpatrick finished 36 for 50 for 390 yards, while Marshall had 12 catches for 131 yards.
Fitzpatrick combined with Bilal Powell on a 25-yard screen pass for the Jets’ other touchdown. Bullock had three short field goals, the last capping a drive Fitzpatrick kept alive with an 11-yard pass to Eric Decker and passes of 13 and 10 to Marshall and 17 to Decker late.
“There was a lot of stuff that needed to happen there in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter,” Fitzpatrick said. “We kind of played complementary football. There was always just a great belief in the huddle, a great belief on the sideline that we could come back and take this thing.”
Odell Beckham Jr. sprinted 72 yards for a touchdown and Dwayne Harris weaved 80 yards for another on a punt return for the Giants, who are only in the playoff chase because they play in the weak NFC East.
“A loss is a loss,” said Beckham, who had six catches for 149 yards, including another one-hander. “We didn’t have the right connections, time and time again, in the fourth quarter with the game on the line. It’s something we can’t dwell on. We lost.”
Manning finished 18 of 34 for 297 yards.
Jason Pierre-Paul had a fumble recovery to set up one of two field goals by Brown, whose miss was his first since Dec. 21. A 43-yard kickoff return by Harris and a 20-yard pass to Beckham on fourth down from the Giants 46 set up Brown’s missed attempt.
The Giants were shut out in the second half after using big plays to a 20-10 lead.
Harris’ second touchdown return of the season got the Giants going and a fumble recovery by Pierre-Paul helped extend the lead to 10-7.
Powell’s touchdown catch tied the game at 10, but Beckham found a seam and scored on his 72-yard catch and run, celebrating with a mock hurdle race across the back of the end zone that ended his arms extended to the crowd.
Brown added a 35-yard field goal before halftime.
NOTES: Dwayne Harris is the third Giant to have a kickoff and punt return for touchdowns in the same season, joining Hall of Famer Emlen Tunnell (1951) and Jimmy Patton (1955). … Beckham has 100 yards receiving in his last five games, the first Giant to do it since Homer Jones in 1967-68. … Jets DE Mike Catapano (foot) left in the second quarter. … Giants rookie LT Ereck Flowers (ankle) left in the third quarter. … Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson didn’t play the first two series because of a coaching decision. Neither Bowles nor Wilkerson would elaborate.
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