Game-winning field goals are the stuff of dreams for kickers. But a miss in such situations? It’ll keep you up nights.
The Jets’ Nick Folk will sleep like a baby this week. Miami’s Dan Carpenter might do well to chew on some valerian root and get used to counting sheep.
In a game that featured more twists and turns than a serpent, Folk made the most of his second chance, and succeeded where Carpenter failed — twice.
Folk booted a 33-yard, game-winning field goal with 6:04 left in overtime Sunday, lifting the Jets past Miami 23-20 in perhaps the most bizarre chapter of a 46-year rivalry.
Carpenter, meanwhile, hooked kicks from 47 and 48 yards — the first in regulation, and the second in overtime that would have won the game.
“They’re makeable,” Carpenter said. “I let the team down. It shouldn’t have been overtime. We should never have even been there. Our team was busting their [butt], and I didn’t come through.”
Yet for a fraction of a second, it seemed Carpenter would, against all odds, get a third chance to get it right.
As Folk lined up the clincher, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin waited until the final instant to call timeout. The crowd noise drowned out the whistle, the Jets snapped the ball, and Folk tried the kick, which Randy Starks swatted down at the line.
Dolphins players celebrated the unlikely turn of events, until realizing the play never happened. Folk got another chance at the kick, and knocked it through when it counted.
“I think part of it too was our guys heard the whistle, so they stopped what they were doing,” Folk said.
Philbin, meanwhile, defended his decision to ice Folk, and said he had no reaction the first attempt was blocked.
“I thought it was the right call,” Philbin added.
Philbin’s timeout wasn’t his only decision that drew scrutiny. The Dolphins ran the ball effectively on the supposedly stout Jets front seven all day, but went pass-happy when they had a chance to salt the game away.
Even with Reggie Bush sidelined with a knee injury for the entire second half — a league source said later that Bush should be fine — the Dolphins (1-2) still punished New York (2-1) for 185 yards on 43 carries. Bush had 61 of those yards before intermission.
Yet after taking a 17-10 lead late in the third quarter, Miami ran the ball just six times through the end of regulation, going three-and-out on two crucial drives that could have drained the clock.
Give any quarterback too many chances — even one as shaky as Mark Sanchez was Sunday — and he’ll make you pay.
In truth, neither triggerman was particularly efficient. Ryan Tannehill went 16 of 36 for 196 yards and an interception that LaRon Landry returned 18 yards for a touchdown. The Dolphins’ touchdowns came on a pair of 1-yard runs, the first by Daniel Thomas and the second by Jorvorskie Lane.
“There are definitely some throws that I would like to have back,” Tannehill said, “but we did a good job of moving the ball downfield and giving our team a chance to win.”
Sanchez, meanwhile, threw two picks and completed less than 50 percent of his passes, but put it together when it mattered most.
Sanchez, who went 21 of 45 for 306 yards, connected with Jeremy Kerley on a 7-yard touchdown pass to put New York ahead with just more than three minutes left in regulation. Santonio Holmes, meanwhile, backed up his big talk from earlier in the week with nine catches for 147 yards.
Tannehill answered, directing a two-minute drive that set up a 41-yard field goal which Carpenter made, sending the game to overtime.
After a defensive stop, Tannehill put the Dolphins in position to win in the extra session, connecting with Brian Hartline on a 41-yard go-route down the right sideline.
The Dolphins thought that was close enough for Carpenter, who had made 75 percent of his attempts from 40-49 yards and four game-winners since entering the league in 2008.
Off his foot, the kick looked true. Instead, it slid left, leaving Carpenter dejected. In anger, he kicked a cooling fan on the sidelines.
“He’s disappointed, as you would imagine,” said Philbin, who spoke with Carpenter after the game. “I’m sure he’ll be in that position again and he’ll come through and win us a game.”