7. The Fake Spike Game
Very few regular-season losses in Jets history have had the impact or infamy of the team's 28-24 loss against the Dolphins on November 27th, 1994. Not only was the game damaging to the Jets' playoff hopes that year, but it led to one of the worst tailspins by a franchise in NFL history.
On the morning of the big game in '94 with Miami, Jets fans were excited about the possibility of their team taking control of first place in the AFC East.
The franchise hadn't won a division title since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger, and before 1994, the last time the Jets approached the final quarter of a season residing in first place was 1985.
First-year head coach Pete Carroll's Jets team was having an up-and-down season to that point, but Carroll's infectious energy had the fan base believing that their time to take over the AFC East was at hand.
The 6-5 Jets had swept the Buffalo Bills, a rival who had dominated them and the division, and was coming off of four straight Super Bowl appearances. The game against Miami was New York's first legitimate opportunity in years to rise to prominence.
The fan base was ready for the big moment. The game with the Dolphins drew at the time, the largest crowd to watch the Jets at home (75,606).
Things started so well for New York against Miami on that fateful Sunday. The Jets dominated both sides of the ball and had a 17-0 lead in the third quarter.
The Dolphins would get on board with a score to cut the lead to 17-6, but the Jets would answer immediately with an impressive scoring drive that gave them an 18-point lead. The Meadowlands was going crazy. The Jets were up 24-6 at home with the game seemingly in hand.
However, there were two instances earlier in the game where the Jets had the ball in first-and-goal situations and only came away with a field goal. Sequences that came back to haunt the Jets.
The tables turned late in the third quarter and the final frame as Dan Marino led a furious comeback, leading two touchdown drives and converting a two-point conversion to cut the Jets' lead down to just three points.
New York's offense, which had controlled the game for three quarters, and had yet to punt the ball away, fell asleep at the wheel.
Up three late in the fourth looking to stem the tide, the Jets would fumble the football on three consecutive plays on offense in a bizarre sequence. The Jets would recover all three fumbles, but the team failed to shut down Miami's comeback bid.
However, New York would get a temporary reprieve. After punting the ball back to Miami, O.J. McDuffie would fumble the ball, and the Jets would recover at the Dolphins' 38-yard line. The Jets now had the ball in prime scoring position, up 24-21, with 5:46 left in the game.
The prosperity wouldn't last for New York, as two plays later, Boomer Esiason would be intercepted deep down the middle of the field by J.B. Brown.
Despite the Jets continuously and comically shooting themselves in the foot. Their defense would force the Dolphins to punt with three minutes left. However, New York's offense could not pick up a first down and ice the game. They kicked the ball back to Miami, and the rest, as they say, was history.
Dan Marino, with 2:34 left in the game, drove his team 84 yards in eight plays. It was the final play, Mark Ingram's fourth touchdown reception, that would go down in infamy.
With under 30 seconds left in the game, Marino would rush his team to the line of scrimmage, gesturing that he was going to spike the football to halt the running clock. The Jets' defense fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. Marino faked the spike and instead hit Ingram for the go-ahead touchdown with 22 seconds left.
The Jets players and their home crowd were devastated. The Jets' offense, led by Boomer Esiason, who threw for 382 yards on the day, would make one last-ditch effort to rewrite the history books on a hail mary attempt that laughably sailed out of the end zone.
The 28-24 loss to Miami was one of the most disappointing and deflating losses in Jets' history. On that specific Sunday, in one fell swoop, the New York Jets went from battling for first place at home against the Miami Dolphins to losing 33 of their next 37 games.
The Jets crashed and burned gloriously — and they did it in dubious style.