FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Rex Ryan's face was full of fury and frustration.
He took a moment to compose himself in a near-empty hallway before he faced the cameras and the questions. But his emotions were just too real and too raw.
Without warning, he cursed under his breath and punched the wall, releasing all of his pent-up anger in one quick jab.
This is what six straight losses will do to you.
They'll turn a boisterous, joke-telling, fun-loving coach into a desperate man who spends his weeks searching for answers that just won't come.
The Jets were this close to pulling off another upset Thursday night, against the Patriots, no less. And they fell short again.
The stage was set for kicker Nick Folk to work his magic once more. They had a first-and-10 at their own 12 with only 1:06 -- and no timeouts -- to get to within striking distance. And Folk got his chance, but his 58-yard attempt was blocked by Chris Jones as time expired, sealing a 27-25 Patriots win.
The crushing scene capped a brutal six-game stretch for the Jets (1-6), who have been in free fall since mid-September. But almost every week (aside from their 31-0 blowout in San Diego), they've been right there -- and they managed to come up short each time. This was no different.
Thanks to Folk, the Jets scored on all of their first-half drives -- four field goals, from 22, 47, 46 and 27 yards. They dominated the time of possession (40:54-19:06), had more total net yards (423-323) and outrushed the Patriots (218-63), courtesy of Chris Ivory (107 yards on 21 carries). But to beat the Patriots (5-2), they needed touchdowns, and they scored only two. Ivory's 1-yard run in the third quarter and Jeff Cumberland's 10-yard catch with 2:31 left weren't enough to overcome defensive blunders and costly penalties.
After a few moments, Ryan collected himself in the hallway with the help of his public relations director. Then he briskly walked into his news conference to face the questions head on.
"To say it's a disappointing loss is a fair assessment," Ryan said, pointing out the 19-yard TD pass to Danny Amendola on third-and-19 that gave the Patriots a 27-19 lead. "We've been snake-bitten. I don't know how many touchdowns we've given up on third down this year when we've got 'em where we want them, but we've given up a bunch of them. And most of the time it's our own fault. So that's tough to handle."
Ryan praised his players for how hard they competed, highlighted their punishing running game and complimented Geno Smith (20-for-34, 226 yards, one TD) for finally using his legs again. Perhaps more impressive, he didn't throw an interception for the first time this season.
But heavy sighs and a sarcastic tone emerged when Ryan discussed their four red-zone trips without a TD and his inconsistent defense aiding Tom Brady (20-for-37, 261 yards, three TDs).
"It's ridiculous to stand here after a loss and think where our team's at -- it's not where this team should be. There's way too much fight, way too much heart," he said.
Ryan promised his team will keep fighting. And, in turn, his players said they'll keep fighting to save his job. "He's such a good coach to play for," said right tackle Breno Giacomini, a former Seahawk. "I just got here, I'm new and it's been great to play for Rex and it still is. He's not going anywhere. We're going to fight for him. And we're going to keep getting better."
"It's not a good feeling,'' linebacker Calvin Pace said. " . . . He's taken a lot of blame himself, but he shouldn't because he didn't play. We haven't done enough as a team. His players haven't done enough."
Ryan's eyes were glassy, but he did his best to keep his emotions in check as he stood behind the lectern. But the dazed expression on his face didn't accurately portray his emotions.
"I'm not shell-shocked at all," Ryan snapped. "I'm a little upset because our record is what it is.''
" I'm not shell-shocked by any stretch. We did what we wanted to do on them . . . We did those things that it takes to win the game, we just made too many darn mistakes."
And therein lies the problem.
"It's really frustrating," Ryan said. " . . . This was the third time in a row I thought we were good enough to beat them here and we come away with a loss."