Christmas came a little late for the Jets.
And the New England Patriots played the role of Santa Claus.
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The Jets were gifted a golden opportunity in overtime, when the Patriots won the coin toss but inexplicably elected to kick the ball.
And that paved the way for another magical performance by Ryan Fitzpatrick in a 26-20 Jets overtime win Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
On the Jets’ game-winning drive, Fitzpatrick had completions of 48 yards to Quincy Enunwa and 20 yards to Brandon Marshall before hitting Eric Decker on a 6-yard TD in the right corner of the end zone with 2:37 gone in overtime.
The Jets (10-5) have won five games in a row — a feat they hadn’t accomplished since 2010 — but more importantly their playoff hopes got some help from an unlikely source.
The Steelers, who began the day ahead of the Jets in the AFC wild-card race, lost at Baltimore to the Ravens, 20-17. Baltimore entered the game with a 4-10 record.
The loss by the Steelers (9-6) means the Jets now control their playoff destiny. They can clinch a wild-card spot by beating the Bills in Buffalo next Sunday.
The Jets had a chance to win the game in regulation with 33 seconds to go, but Enunwa dropped an on-target deep ball from Fitzpatrick.
And that paved the way for the coin-toss confusion.
A Jets’ win seemed well in hand after Darrelle Revis intercepted Tom Brady and Marshall scored his second touchdown of the game, a 33-yarder, with 9:13 left in the third quarter. But then came a costly mistake by Fitzpatrick.
With the Jets up 17-6 in the third, Patriots defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard sacked Fitzpatrick, causing the quarterback to fumble the ball, and teammate Jamie Collins scooped it up and ran it in 14 yards with 3:21 left in the quarter to cut the Jets’ lead to 17-13.
That TD changed the complexion of the game, giving Brady & Co. new life in a game the Jets appeared to have control over. The Jets defense did its part, keeping the Patriots off their game on the ensuing drive. But Fitzpatrick and the offense couldn’t find their rhythm. They had to settle for a 49-yard field goal by Randy Bullock to make it 20-13 with 13:28 left.
The Jets might have been able to put away the Patriots in the first half had Fitzpatrick been on his game early. The Jets quarterback repeatedly overthrew receivers, including two off-target possible TD passes to Kenbrell Thompkins.
But Fitzpatrick found his groove late in the half, finding Marshall for a 2-yard score that put the Jets up 10-3 with 1:57 left in the second quarter.
It was another key play for the veteran receiver, whose first catch of the day gave him 94 for the season, setting the Jets’ franchise record.
Things unraveled for the Jets down the stretch, however. The offense stalled, running back Bilal Powell and Thompkins were injured on the same play — Thompkins was carted off the field with an apparent knee injury but returned on the next drive — and Brady had the ball in his hands.
The Patriots quarterback completed an 8-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski (with Calvin Pryor in coverage) on fourth down to keep the drive alive, then connected with the 6-7 tight end on a 26-yard gain down the middle of the field. That helped set up a 9-yard TD pass to a wide-open running back James White that tied the game at 20 with 1:55 left in regulation.