Spectacular catch gives way to another tough loss for Jets
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Four years later, the misery of the Butt Fumble gave way to the excitement of the Butt Touchdown for the New York Jets.
But in the end, it wasn't enough.
Quincy Enunwa's spectacular 22-yard grab in which he got one foot and his backside in bounds for a TD gave the Jets a late lead and the momentum. A hobbled Tom Brady and the New England Patriots then stormed back for a 22-17 victory on Sunday.
''Playing against the Patriots, you don't have to play the perfect game,'' Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said, ''but you can't make mistakes.''
With the Jets (3-8) trailing 13-10, Fitzpatrick threw deep for Brandon Marshall on first-and-10 from the 22 and the two just missed connecting. On the next play, Fitzpatrick tossed a perfectly placed ball to Enunwa in the end zone.
Enunwa soared above Malcolm Butler for the catch, with his right foot coming down in the end zone and then his backside, but not his left foot. It was initially called an incomplete pass, but Todd Bowles challenged and the call was reversed.
''Once I saw the replay, I knew for a fact,'' Enunwa said. ''There was no doubt in my mind that it was a touchdown.''
The play immediately rekindled memories of one of the most infamous plays in Jets history. Against the Patriots on Thanksgiving night in 2012, quarterback Mark Sanchez fumbled after running into guard Brandon Moore's backside and Steve Gregory recovered. It was a turning point in the Jets' 49-19 loss and became a staple of blooper reels.
This one went New York's way and will be a highlight as one of the best plays by the Jets in a dismal season.
''Good thing he does all those squats and got his butt down,'' Fitzpatrick joked of Enunwa. ''That was good, but No. 12 (Brady) is on their side. It has nothing to do with a lack of faith in our defense or anything like that, but he is who he is for a reason.''
Brady tied Peyton Manning for the most wins by a quarterback in NFL history, getting his 200th by throwing an 8-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell with 1:56 left.
Trailing 17-16 with 5:04 left and the ball on the Patriots 17, Brady led an efficient drive by completing six passes to move New England down the field. After James White stretched for 4 yards on fourth-and-4, a 25-yard catch by Chris Hogan put the ball at the 8. Brady then zipped a pass to Mitchell to put the Patriots (9-2) ahead.
A 2-point conversion try by White was initially ruled good, but the call was reversed because the ball never crossed the goal line - giving the Jets a final chance. But on second-and-5 from the 30, Chris Long hit Fitzpatrick before he could throw, resulting in a fumble that was recovered by Trey Flowers.
Brady and the Patriots then ran out the clock - helped by LeGarrette Blount's 23-yard scamper - to win the closely played game that had been flexed out of a prime-time spot.
''Those are the kind of mistakes that they kind of thrive on,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''We just made too many of them today as an offense.''
New York was leading 10-3 in the second quarter when rookie Robby Anderson made a momentum-shifting mistake.
The wide receiver caught a pass from Fitzpatrick on second-and-9 from the Jets 25 and gained 25 yards before having the ball punched out of his hands. Butler recovered for the Patriots, who needed just seven plays to tie it on Brady's 4-yard pass to Mitchell.
''Obviously, Robby has to take care of the ball a little better than that,'' Bowles said. ''It ended up costing us at the end.''
But the defense, which kept Brady off balance for most of the game, wasn't immune to mistakes. The most glaring came on the play by White when New York had a chance to end the game in the closing moments.
Instead, it prolonged the drive and led to the winning touchdown.
''Tom Brady is one of the most clutch of all time,'' cornerback Buster Skrine said. ''We had them on fourth down, right where we wanted then and they were able to convert. We need to make the plays we need to to get off the field.''
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