Folk turned 90 degrees to the right and began to walk towards the mass of humanity rushing to envelope him in a celebratory embrace after his 30-yard field goal in 2:18 into overtime had given the Jets a 23-20 win over the Lions at Ford Field Sunday afternoon.
The Jets improved to 6-2, while a game Detroit squad dropped to 2-6. The Jets will meet old friend Eric Mangini and his rapidly improving Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium next Sunday.
If the Jets are as unimpressive in Cleveland as they were yesterday, they could be the third Super Bowl contender to lose to the Browns in four weeks, because what transpired in Detroit was neither Picasso nor was it paint-by-numbers. Rather, it was modern art; cringe-worthy to some and exquisite to others.
The Jets committed 11 penalties for 99 yards, turned the ball over twice—one fumble and one interception—while fumbling five times and only possessed the ball for 29:32. That was the ugly.
The beautiful was that the Jets were able to overcome a 20-10 fourth quarter deficit with a Mark Sanchez one-yard TD run with 2:46 left in the game and Folk's 36-yard field goal at the end of regulation to tie the game at 20-20.
Folk's game-tying kick was aided by an unconscionable late hit penalty on Lions linebacker Julian Peterson, who drilled LaDainian Tomlinson out of bounds following a zero yard catch-and-run on first-and-ten from the Jets' 44 yard line. The penalty moved the ball to the Detroit 41. Four plays later, the game was tied.
The Jets won the coin toss in overtime and drove 56 yards in five plays, highlighted by a 52-yard Sanchez-to-Santonio Holmes connection, to set up Folk's game-winner.
Seven days after being shutout 9-0 by the Packers, the offense sputtered for much of the game. The Jets did not score until 4:46 was left in the second quarter, when Folk drilled a 31-yard field goal. Folk's field goal ended a scoreless streak of 85:14 dating back to last Sunday.
Three minutes and 46 seconds later, Sanchez and Braylon Edwards ended Gang Green's 89-minute touchdown-less streak by hooking up for a 74-yard touchdown and the Jets had a 10-7 lead at the half.
The notorious Ground And Pound Jets rushing offense was grounded as Tomlinson (15 carries for 55 yards), Shonn Greene (10 for 48), Brad Smith (two for eight) and Sanchez (three for one yard and a touchdown) were limited to 110 yards on 30 carries.
Since they were unable to impose their will on the Lions physically, the Jets were forced to implement a vertical attack. Sanchez completed 22-of-39 passes for 323 yards for one touchdown. He was picked off once and sacked once.
The Lions took the opening kickoff 80 yards on 11 plays—aided by two defensive penalties totaling twenty yards—for the first touchdown the Jets had ceded in the first quarter this season. Matt Stafford hit Brandon Pettigrew on a 10-yard slat for the game's first score.
Stafford completed 20-of-36 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a score but left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent arm injury. Stafford was replaced by Drew Stafford, who was 0-for-1.