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This botched Jets play call set the stage for Brady's Bucs heroics

/ by Darren Hartwell
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The New York Jets were about two minutes away from pulling off one of the biggest upsets of the NFL season. Then they reverted back to being the Jets -- and allowed Tom Brady to pull a Tom Brady.

New York led Brady's Buccaneers by four points with 2:17 remaining and the ball on Tampa Bay's 7-yard line. Facing a fourth-and-2, the Jets elected to go for it and try to pick up the game-clinching first down. Considering who was on the other sideline, the decision made sense.

What didn't make sense, though, was the Jets' play call: Quarterback Zach Wilson was stonewalled on a QB sneak attempt, giving the ball back to the Bucs and allowing Brady to march Tampa Bay 93 yards for the game-winning score.

According to Jets head coach Robert Saleh, Wilson's sneak wasn't actually the intended play.

"In that situation, we wanted the ball handed off to (Braxton) Berrios, but we did a very poor job as a coaching staff communicating that in the huddle," Saleh said after the game, via ESPN's Rich Cimini.

"Zach executed the play the way it was designed. Unfortunately, if you look at the TV [replay], Braxton probably has a first down and the game is over."

 
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It's unclear whether Berrios would have gotten that first down, but this apparent mixup is inexcusable -- especially since the Jets called a timeout prior to the play.

Saleh singled out Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur for failing to get his message to Wilson from up in the coach's booth.

"It's Mike to Zach," Saleh said. "It's simple: He calls a play and says, 'Hand this ball off no matter what.' That's all the communication that needs to be said. It never got across. Zach executed the playbook as designed."

The result was one of the most dramatic late-game swings of the season, which Brady couldn't help but point out Monday on Twitter.

The Bucs probably shouldn't have been in that situation to begin with, and they have their own issues to deal with after Antonio Brown's bizarre mid-game exit Sunday.

But great players make teams pay for their mistakes, and Brady happily obliged to move to 30-7 all-time against his former AFC East opponent.