Vaunted Jets' defense fails to stop Manning
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Rex Ryan was frustrated on the sideline, desperately trying to come up with some sort of plan to slow Peyton Manning.
He never found one.
Ryan's big-talking, top-ranked defense came up short, and it cost the New York Jets a trip to the Super Bowl in a 30-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game.
"We tried everything," the Jets coach said, shaking his head. "We tried man, tried two-man, zone, you name it, but you've got to give him credit, man. He's one heck of a quarterback and we definitely had some issues there."
After bottling up Manning for much of the first two quarters, the Jets couldn't contain the four-time MVP quarterback in the second half.
"With Peyton Manning, if you can't disrupt his rhythm, he's going to kill you," Ryan said. "And, we couldn't disrupt him enough."
It wasn't the first time the Jets' defense couldn't come through.
It blew late leads in games against Miami, Jacksonville and Atlanta and earned a reputation for not being able to come up with big stops.
Still, Ryan was confident all week, saying his team would be the most loose AFC championship squad anyone would ever see. It turned out the defense was way too loose against Manning & Co.
Now, it's on to thinking about next year for Ryan, a first-year head coach who got this far with a rookie quarterback in Mark Sanchez.
Despite the disappointment of falling a win shy of the Super Bowl, Ryan realizes the future is bright.
"We're close," he said. "We thought we could win it all. We really did."
First Published January 25, 2010 1:09 am