MINNEAPOLIS - On the game's final play, the Jets allowed an 87-yard touchdown pass. On their first play, Geno Smith threw a pick-6. In between, the Jets did pretty well.
Fine, but they still lost, 30-24, in overtime to the Vikings Sunday and fell to 2-11 with their 11th defeat in the past 12 games.
On third-and-5 from his 13-yard line, with the Jets blitzing, rookie Teddy Bridgewater audibled into a bubble screen. Slot receiver Jarius Wright leaped high to grab the pass, broke a tackle by safety Jaiquawn Jarrett and raced down the right sideline, eluding Sheldon Richardson and Phillip Adams for the touchdown 4:39 into OT.
"That game's clearly on my shoulders," Rex Ryan said. "Calling that blitz in cover-zero, trying to get off the field. He hadn't hit anything against it all day. Probably showed our hand a little too early there."
Jarrett shouldered the blame, too. "He didn't get by me, I just missed the tackle,'' he said. "There's no excuse for that. I've got to get him on the ground.''
That's been the Jets' position throughout this miserable season, and despite some encouraging play by Smith, they went down again. It didn't matter that they ran for 168 yards, got three sacks from Richardson and had a 35:52-28:47 edge in time of possession. As usual, the Jets still figured out a way to lose.
A cold wind was blowing through the open end of TCF Bank Stadium, and it immediately got colder for the Jets. Linebacker Gerald Hodges' 27-yard interception return gave the Vikings (6-7) a 7-0 lead 12 seconds into the game. For Smith, things got better -- they pretty much had to -- and the Jets even led, briefly, but red-zone failures would haunt them.
On five trips inside the Vikings' 20, they settled for four Nick Folk field goals and committed a turnover.
"If I knew the answer, we would have corrected it,'' said Smith, who completed 18 of 29 passes for 254 yards and ran for 33 yards.
"There's a number of reasons for it. Turnovers. Penalties. Lack of execution. But it ultimately comes down to concentration. Really just wanting to score when you get down there. A sense of urgency has to be heightened in the red zone.''
Minnesota took a 21-12 lead in a crazy first 20 minutes, but the Jets appeared to right themselves. Then Smith led a 76-yard drive that ended when safety Andrew Sendejo forced a Chris Ivory fumble that the Vikings recovered at the 4 midway through the second quarter.
"That's a thing we emphasize all the time,'' Ryan said. "We run the ball and we fumble it running in. Chris Ivory, all of a sudden the ball gets knocked out. It's been that kind of year for us. We just miss an opportunity to make a big play.''
Smith recovered quickly from the pick-6. After Richardson sacked Bridgewater for a safety on Minnesota's first possession, Smith hit Percy Harvin for a 35-yard score and a 9-7 lead.
"You get behind seven points right off the bat and you feel like momentum has swung big time,'' receiver Eric Decker said. "We buckled up and [Geno] led us down. We all settled down at that point and just started executing what we do best, fought back into it, got a safety, got a touchdown and the next thing you know we're right back in the battle.''
Minnesota led 21-15 at the half and 21-18 after three quarters, but two Folk field goals in the fourth forced overtime. The last one came with 23 seconds left, after Smith led a three-minute drive that included his escape from a sack on an 18-yard scramble to the Vikings' 32. Folk hit from 44 yards to tie it at 24.
The Vikings had a chance to avoid overtime, but Blair Walsh's 56-yard field-goal try as time expired fell well short.
After the Jets won the overtime coin toss, they drove past midfield but stalled, and a punt pinned Minnesota deep. Three plays later, Wright was celebrating in the end zone as the Viking horn blared.
But if the Jets had converted one more drive into seven points instead of three . . .
"What killed us was that we were 0-for-5 in the red zone,'' Ryan said. "Obviously, that hurts. We hit one of those, the game's over.''