ATLANTA — The Atlanta Falcons were reminded again Monday night that last year is not this year.
After coming from 13 points down in the fourth quarter to take a one-point lead with 1:54 to go, the Falcons watched Nick Folk kick a 43-yard field goal at the final horn to give the New York Jets a 30-28 win.
The loss drops the Falcons to 1-4 less than 10 months after they came within 10 yards of reaching the Super Bowl.
The Falcons spent most of the first half self-destructing. The Jets blocked a punt on Atlanta’s opening possession but had to settle for a field goal and a 3-0 lead.
On the Falcons’ next possession, Roddy White fumbled the ball after a long catch, but teammate Julio Jones scooped it up and ran another 11 yards. Atlanta eventually scored a touchdown on that drive on a 4-yard pass from Matt Ryan to Jason Snelling and led 7-3 just seven seconds into the second quarter.
But then the Jets scored twice before halftime, both on passes from rookie quarterback Geno Smith, and New York led 17-7 at the break after converting four of five third downs into firsts.
The third quarter began much better for the home team. Atlanta’s defense stiffened. The offense then scored on its first possession to pull within 17-14 following a 4-yard run by Jacquizz Rodgers.
Ryan fumbled on the Falcons’ next possession and Folk drilled his second field goal of the night, and the fourth quarter began with the visitors in front 20-14.
When Smith passed to Kellen Winslow along the right border of the end zone three minutes into the final period, New York was suddenly in front 27-14, its largest lead of the night.
Less than four minutes later, the Falcons were back in it. Rodgers started up the middle from the Jets’ 19, turned left and outraced the men in green to the end zone to pull Atlanta within 27-21 with 8:03 to go.
Mark Wiedmer started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Valentine’s Day of 1983. At the time, he had to get an advance from his boss to buy a Valentine gift for his wife. Mark was hired as a graphic artist but quickly moved to sports, where he oversaw prep football for a time, won the “Pick’ em” box in 1985 and took over the UTC basketball beat the following year. By 1990, he was ...