All things considered, the conditions the Jets' kicking game faced for a game played on Dec. 20 at Giants Stadium were not horrible. The only snow from the previous night's storm was pushed in small banks against the stands. It was 29 degrees and sunny with winds gusting from 18 to 24 miles per hour. Difficult, but not impossible.
And yet, three field-goal attempts by Jay Feely with the Jets already holding a four-point lead Sunday produced a botched snap, a 38-yard kick that was wide right into a right-to-left wind and a blocked 37-yard attempt with 4:27 left.
Make two of those, and the Jets win. Blow all three, and you have the formula for heartbreak.
Sure enough, Atlanta responded to the blocked field goal by driving 73 yards to score the winning touchdown with 1:38 remaining in a 10-7 victory that snuffed any realistic hopes the Jets had of making the playoffs.
"When you don't perform - and obviously, we left nine points out there as a field-goal unit - that just kills you," Feely said. "It just hurts."
Jets coach Rex Ryan said Feely was not to blame for any of the failed field-goal attempts, even the one that sailed right, suggesting that snap was mishandled by holder Kellen Clemens. Clemens, however, said he got the snap down satisfactorily on the last two attempts.
The first attempt was a chip shot from 19 yards in the second quarter after the Jets - who had picked up a first down at the Falcons' 10-yard line - were stopped at the 1 on third down. "I dropped the first one," Clemens said. "It doesn't matter what the conditions are, you have to get the ball down."
Just before halftime, Feely got another chance to give the Jets a 10-3 lead, but he drove the 38-yard attempt slightly right. "There was a 20-mph wind coming across the field [from right] to the left," he said. "So I played the right upright, and it just did not move. It stayed dead straight. I have to make that kick."
The Jets still were clinging to the 7-3 lead when they stalled at the Atlanta 19 late in the final period. Clemens fielded a high snap, Feely drove it a little lower into the wind, and the Falcons' Chauncey Davis blocked it.
"If you have a mistake in the operation," Feely said of the high snap, "you have to find a way to overcome it. We did not do that."
As for the difficulty of kicking at Giants Stadium in December, it comes with the territory.
"We were out in the elements all week," Feely said. "We practiced into the wind. It is what it is. We did not execute, and we lost a game we should have won."