Rich Cimini | ESPN.com
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Tom Brady wounded two Ryans with one dagger Sunday.
“It was a horrible day for the Ryan family,” New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said Monday, reflecting on the New England Patriots‘ last-second victory over the New Orleans Saints. “It’s a good thing my dad is out of coaching. It was tough.”
It was a horrible day for the Ryan family. It’s a good thing my dad is out of coaching. It was tough. … You want every team in your division to lose, in particular New England.
— Jets coach Rex Ryan
Ryan felt bad for his brother, Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who looked like he was going to be sick on the sideline after Brady’s touchdown pass lifted the Patriots to a 30-27 win. About 250 miles away, watching on TV in New Jersey, the Jets’ coach felt worse for himself and his team.
A New England loss would have set up a first-place battle Sunday between the Jets (3-3) and Patriots (5-1) at MetLife Stadium. Now the Jets, coming off a 19-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, are two games behind.
Even when they’re not in the same stadium, Rex Ryan gets haunted by Brady.
“Heck, yeah, you want to see them lose, no question,” Ryan said, adding that his immediate reaction was more animated than that of his brother. “You want every team in your division to lose, in particular New England.”
Ryan stopped short of calling Sunday’s showdown a must-win. The Old Rex would have hyped it as a playoff-type game or would have made it all about him versus Bill Belichick, but Ryan doesn’t do brash anymore.
“‘Must-win’ might be a little much right now, even for my deal,” he said, mocking his old ways. “I’m notorious for throwing those bad boys out.”
But Ryan acknowledged it’s a “huge” game. There was a definite sense of urgency in the locker room. The Jets have dropped five straight to the Patriots, and they realize a sixth consecutive loss would cripple their chances in the AFC East.
“To me, it’s a must,” running back Chris Ivory said.
The Jets missed a great chance in Week 2, falling 13-10 in a Thursday night game. A frustrated Brady suffered one of the worst statistical days of his career, but the Jets imploded with three fourth-quarter interceptions by rookie quarterback Geno Smith.
From the Jets’ perspective, there’s unfinished business.
“We should’ve won that game,” Ivory said.
Rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said, “We left one hanging.”
The Ryan-coached Jets are 3-7 against the Patriots. The Jets’ last win came in the 2010 divisional playoffs, arguably the franchise’s most important victory since Super Bowl III in 1969.
Since January 2011, Brady has owned the Jets, winning the close ones (two games decided by a field goal) and winning by blowout (a 30-point win last Thanksgiving).
For most of Sunday evening, Ryan took pleasure in seeing his brother’s defense frustrate Brady. The Saints sacked him five times and held him to a 74.7 passer rating. Then came the final drive, culminating with Brady’s 17-yard scoring pass to Kenbrell Thompkins with five seconds left.
Rob Ryan fumed.
Rex Ryan fumed more.
“I don’t think [his] was as bad as my reaction,” Rex Ryan said.
He took umbrage with critics who second-guessed his brother’s defensive strategy at the end of the game. Ryan didn’t name names, but he was clearly miffed.
After-the-fact criticism “is the only insight you’re going to get from the so-called experts that I’ve seen get crushed by [Brady],” he said. “Now they’re going to make that call? Yeah, right. I’d put my chances with a Ryan over somebody else.”
On Sunday, Ryan gets to defend the family honor.
- Longtime Jets beat writer for New York Daily News
- Syracuse University graduate