New York Jets: 10 Most Heartbreaking Losses of the Rex Ryan Era

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IJanuary 10, 2012

New York Jets: 10 Most Heartbreaking Losses of the Rex Ryan Era

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    Since Rex Ryan's arrival as head coach in 2009, the Jets have had some glorious moments.

    However, the team has also dealt with some of the most painful losses in Gang Green history, and Rex and company have been unable to get over the hump. 

    From the 2009 AFC Championship to the Battle of New York, Gang Green has been wrenched by extremely tough losses that have cost them opportunities that come around once in a lifetime.

    Here are the 10 most heartbreaking losses of the Rex Ryan era. 

10. 2009 Week 15 vs Falcons

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    In Mark Sanchez' rookie season of 2009, the Jets entered Week 15 as front-runners to claim the last AFC wild-card spot. 

    A win would have virtually locked up a playoff berth for New York, but the offense could not put any together against a Falcons defense that had previously struggled. 

    Gang Green's defense was as stingy as ever, allowing only three points in the game's first 58 minutes. However, Matt Ryan led a methodical drive in the final moments, and he connected with tight end Tony Gonzalez for a touchdown.

    The score locked up the game for the Falcons, as they went on to win 10-7. 

    Mark Sanchez was awful in the crucial contest, as he threw three critical interceptions. New York's offense could not squander a single point inside the 20, despite being in the red zone three times. 

    Short-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 7/10

    The loss seemed to have ended New York's season, as head coach Rex Ryan announced that the team had been eliminated from postseason contention.

    Long-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 1/10

    In the long term, however, the Jets were not affected by the loss. After an unlikely turn of events, New York managed to squeak into the playoffs. Therefore, although this game was heartbreaking, it did not cost the Jets in the long-term. 

9. 2011 Week 15 vs Eagles

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    At 8-5, Rex Ryan and company looked like a lock for the postseason as they headed to Philadelphia to face the Eagles

    However, the Jets' free fall began after they were destroyed by the Eagles, 43-19. 

    New York was sloppy from the start, as they fall behind 28-0 before the first quarter even expired. Two critical mistakes by wide receiver Santonio Holmes basically handed the game to Philly, and a terrible defensive effort did not help. 

    Short-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 4/10

    The loss did not seem to hurt the Jets immediately, as they still remained at the top of the Wild Card race heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.

    Long-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 8/10

    In the long-term, the beatdown affected New York significantly. The Jets seemed to never recover mentally, and it made them sloppy for the rest of the year. 

8. 2009 Week 10 vs Jacksonville Jaguars

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    In Week 10 of the 2009 season, Rex Ryan and company desperately needed a win to stay in front of the AFC Wild Card race. 

    Both the Jaguars and Jets entered the crucial game with a record of 4-4. The winner would most likely go onto clinch a playoff berth, while the loser was likely done.

    New York gave Jacksonville all they could handle, but Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew was too much. MJD rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown, while also intentionally falling to the ground in the final seconds to help seal the 24-22 win. 

    Sanchez once again struggled, as he threw two interceptions, including one that basically handed the Jaguars the game late. 

    Short-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 7/10

    The loss continued the Jets struggles, as it marked their fifth defeat in six games. Mark Sanchez' confidence also took a hit, as he continued to cough the ball up in big time moments. 

    Long-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 2/10

    New York would bounce back in a big way, as the team went on to win five of the final seven games and clinch a playoff appearance. 

7. 2010 Week 1 vs Ravens

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    Gang Green expected to open up their new stadium in style in 2010, but the Ravens dampened the celebration. 

    In the inaugural game of New Meadowlands Stadium, New York was defeated in a defensive struggle by Rex Ryan's old team. 

    The 10-9 loss was largely due to constant struggles by Mark Sanchez and the offense, as the Jets only managed 60 passing yards the entire game. 

    Short-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 5/10

    The loss was frustrating for fans and players alike, as the offense had another stinker. Rex Ryan's ego also took a hit, as he was beaten on his own turf by the team that rejected him as head coach back in 2008. 

    Long-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 1/10

    Although the physical defeat was a tough one to swallow, it was still an opening day game. New York bounced back to win nine of their next 10 games and clinch a postseason berth with ease. 

6. 2011 Week 3 vs Oakland Raiders

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    In Week 3 of last season, the Jets were beaten at their own game by the Oakland Raiders

    New York was outplayed and beat up by an inferior Raiders squad in the Black Hole. The team's "ground and pound" philosophy was used against them, as Oakland managed a staggering 234 yards rushing, while the Jets managed just 100.

    Gang Green was shocked early in the season, and the 34-24 exposed a lot of flaws in New York's game.

    Short-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 3/10

    The Jets were still 2-1 and tied for first in the AFC East with the loss, so the team did not suffer immediately from the loss.

    Long-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 8/10

    New York's early season loss was a huge heartbreaker in the long-term. The Jets began a string of three straight losses, while also continually being pounded by the run all season. Week 3 was the beginning of the end in 2011 for the Jets. 

5. 2011 Week 17 vs Dolphins

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    After two straight losses to the Giants and Eagles, the Jets needed a miracle to make the postseason when they headed to Miami in Week 17. 

    New York wasted a solid first 30 minutes with mindless turnovers by Mark Sanchez. In the second half, Sanchez continued to struggle, as he turned the ball over two more times in crucial moments. 

    The defense also fell apart late, as they allowed a dismal Dolphins offense to drive at will against them. 

    New York fell by a score of 19-17, and finished at a mark of 8-8 in 2011. 

    Short-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 10/10

    The huge loss not only ended the Jets season, but it also exposed some huge problems within the locker room. The entire team seemed to resent each other, and they could simply not get on the same page all season. 

    Long-Term Heartbreaking Rate: N/A

    It is too early to rate the loss in the long-term. The crushing defeat could actually be a good thing for the Jets, as they could make some much needed changes to mix up the locker room dynamic. 

4. 2010 Week 13 vs Patriots

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    The Jets were cruising in the 2010 regular season, as they had won 9-of-10, and were on top of the world. 

    However, in a huge divisional battle late in the year, New York was crushed by the Patriots 45-3 in Foxborough. 

    The Jets were flat all game long, and simply did not look like they were in the same league as a team they had previously beaten. 

    Short-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 9/10

    The loss dropped Mark Sanchez and company to 9-3, and ultimately eliminated them from the AFC East contention. New York's mental state also took a hit, as the beatdown was the first of three losses within the next calender month. 

    Long-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 2/10

    Gang Green still clinched a wild-card berth in 2010, and they also beat the Patriots in Foxborough in the playoffs. The embarrassing defeat may of been a good thing for the Jets, as it led them to play inspired football in the postseason. However, it did prevent them from clinching home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. 

3. 2009 AFC Championship vs Colts

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    After a miraculous run, the Jets were just a game away from the Super Bowl in 2009.

    In Mark Sanchez' rookie year, New York had put together two road playoff wins, and had confidence heading into the conference title games. 

    Gang Green managed to snatch a 17-6 lead against the 14-2 Colts, but due to some horrific play from the secondary, as well as some classic Sanchez ineffectiveness, Indianapolis managed to come back and win 30-17. 

    Short-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 8/10

    The loss was definitely a gut-wrencher, but New York went farther then anyone expected in Sanchez' rookie year. The 2009 season was ultimately a success. 

    Long-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 8/10-

    The franchise probably believed that Rex Ryan was creating a dynasty in the Big Apple, but the team is yet to make the next step and advance to the Super Bowl in the last two years. Fans still look back to this game and imagine "what if?"

2. 2011 Week 16 vs Giants

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    After the brutal loss to the Eagles, the Jets faced their inner-city rival on Christmas Eve in Week 16.

    The game had more than just playoff implications on the line, as both teams were fighting for Big Apple supremacy.

    After an amazing start, Green and White fell apart. A 99-yard touchdown by Victor Cruz was the beginning of the end, as the defense was pounded by Big Blue's running game, and Mark Sanchez made pivotal mistakes. 

    The 29-14 loss was huge for the Jets in the short-term and the long-term. 

    Short-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 9/10

    The defeat once again showed that Gang Green is the second fiddle in America's biggest city. It also dropped them from first to fourth in the AFC Wild Card standings with just one game remaining in the regular season.

    Long-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 9/10

    Rex Ryan and Co. obviously did not recover from the loss, as they were beaten by the Dolphins the following week. The loss ultimately ended the Jets season, and exposed some serious problems within the locker room. 

1. 2010 AFC Championship vs Steelers

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    The Jets were one game away from the promised land again last season, only to be beaten by the Steelers in one of the toughest losses in franchise history. 

    Gang Green fans were confident heading into the huge contest, as Mark Sanchez and crew were coming off consecutive victories over Tom Brady and Peyton Manning away from home. 

    However, the Jets came out asleep, as they fell behind 24-0 with two minutes left in the first half. 

    Despite a spirited second-half comeback in which the defense was stingy and the offense was spectacular, Pittsburgh still managed to hold on for the 24-19 win. 

    Short-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 10/10

    This loss was by far the toughest loss in the Rex Ryan era, and it was maybe even the most heartbreaking loss in franchise history. After several huge road playoff wins, the team looked like they were ready to make the next step. An unbelievable second-half performance only added to the torture, as it appeared like the Jets were really the better team. 

    Long-Term Heartbreaking Rate: 10/10

    New York has fallen apart since the loss, and they have performed well below expectations. The future looks cloudy for Mark Sanchez and company, and fans are questioning whether the Jets will receive another opportunity like this one. 2010 seemed like the Jets year, but the team once again left fans heartbroken. 


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