EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Jets put their playoff hopes in Mark Sanchez’s hands against the New York Giants’ porous pass defense.
The maligned quarterback couldn’t deliver.
Sanchez threw a career-high 59 passes, completing 30 of them, but also had two interceptions and lost a fumble inside the 5-yard line in the Jets’ 29-14 loss that was a devastating blow to their playoff hopes.
“We had a good opportunity to control our own destiny,” Sanchez said. “It’s completely our fault.”
This was supposed to be the season the New York Jets got back to the Super Bowl and walked away with the Lombardi Trophy —Rex Ryan guaranteed it.
The Jets had everything in place to make the boast come true and they gave it away over the past two weeks with a dreadful loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last week and this embarrassing setback in which Ryan’s team didn’t step up after a week of bragging about how good they are.
To get to the playoffs, the Jets have to beat Miami next weekend and get help – lots of it. They have to hope for Cincinnati and Tennessee to lose, and either have Oakland or Denver lose next week.
“I mean, we don’t deserve to control our own destiny,” linebacker Bart Scott said. “We haven’t played good enough football to do that. We need to try to finish strong, but if you don’t make it to the playoffs, you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself.”
The Jets didn’t play like a title contender. After scoring on their first possession, they did nothing on offense. Sanchez turned the ball over three times, was sacked five times and the offense converted four of its 21 third-down chances.
“This was a big game for us,” said cornerback Darrelle Revis. “And in big games, you can’t make mistakes. As well as we did play on defense, there were a couple of plays that we gave to them. It’s real sad right now. We needed this win. We made some mistakes and they outplayed us.”
Neither the Giants nor Jets looked much like playoff material, but the Giants will win the NFC East with a victory over visiting Dallas next Sunday.
“To be honest with you, we need to put this one aside as fast as we can and go to work on Dallas with the same attitude we had last week,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.
Victor Cruz broke Amani Toomer’s single-season mark for yards receiving — and the team’s record for longest touchdown reception, a 99-yarder that gave the Giants the lead for good in the second quarter.
Ryan set the tone early in the week, calling his club was the better team in the New York metro area.
“They were the better team today, and they’re the better team this year,” Ryan said. “Clearly, I was wrong.”
It was a brutal game, with both offenses prone to mistakes. The Jets were penalized 10 times. Giants QB Eli Manning completed a third of his 27 passes for 225 yards.
“I don’t want to be the second-best team in this city,” Ryan said. “No chance. I’m not signing up for that. We’ll play them again. We’d be more than happy to go play them right now, but we’re going to have to wait four years.”