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Jets Q&A: Stephen Hill tried to run before catch, and it cost him

Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill celebrates after making

Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill celebrates after making a first down during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Oct. 14, 2012) Credit: AP

What was Stephen Hill's explanation for that drop late in the fourth quarter?

The rookie wideout got ahead of himself and forgot the basic principles of catching the football. With the Jets trailing 23-20 with 2:15 remaining in regulation Sunday, Hill dropped a potential first-down catch near the 10-yard line on third-and-4 at the Patriots' 25. It was a perfect throw by Mark Sanchez, but Hill bobbled the ball and lost it, and the Jets were forced to settle for Nick Folk's tying 43-yard field goal.

"It was crucial," said Hill, who admitted he tried to run before securing the catch. "A drop I should have caught."

The Jets' second-round pick developed a reputation for dropsies in training camp, but Rex Ryan expressed confidence in his wide receiver as he stood behind the lectern. "He'll only get better," the coach said of Hill, adding that the rookie will work with the Jugs machine this week. "Unfortunately, he was trying to make a big play."

Hill was visibly upset on the sideline after the drop, and several teammates went over to offer encouragement. "They just said we need you for overtime," said Hill, who had four catches for 55 yards.

Why was Mark Sanchez's thumb wrapped after the game?

The quarterback showed up at the news conference with his left thumb wrapped, and he said it was jammed. Sanchez was sacked by Rob Ninkovich and Jermaine Cunningham and lost a fumble on the final play of overtime to seal the Patriots' win.

What about the injuries to Shonn Greene and Jeff Cumberland?

The running back took a near helmet-to-helmet hit from linebacker Brandon Spikes. Greene was on his back for several seconds before walking off under the supervision of team trainers and doctors. Ryan was livid on the sideline, but after the game, he kept his composure regarding the no-call. "It's all about the players," he said.

Greene, who returned to the game, repeatedly told reporters: "I'm good."

Cumberland, who left with a hand injury, reportedly will have an MRI Monday.

How is Joe McKnight's ankle?

With so much at stake, the running back vowed he would play. Although he wasn't used on offense until late in the game, McKnight -- who did not practice all week because of a high ankle sprain -- made the most of his opportunities. He returned four kickoffs for 116 yards and gained 23 yards on seven carries. He limped out of the locker room, however, in obvious pain.

New England's no-huddle offense was a hot-button issue all week. What did the Jets have to say about it?

Not much, actually.

Ryan & Co. created a mini-firestorm after linebacker Calvin Pace complained about the Patriots' "borderline illegal" no-huddle. The Jets even spoke to the league office about the hurry-up offense in advance of the game, ESPN reported. Per NFL rules, if the offense makes a substitution, the defense is allowed to do the same.

The Jets thought the rule hadn't been enforced against the Patriots recently, but they appeared to have no problems with the Pats' pace during the game. Said Ryan: "I thought the officiating crew did a great job with that."

Did Tim Tebow think he'd be more involved on offense, especially with the injuries to Bilal Powell and Greene?

When Greene left the game in the fourth quarter, the Jets were down to two running backs: McKnight and Jonathan Grimes. Tebow ran only twice in the first half and finished with 12 yards on four attempts. He did not attempt a pass.

"I try and be ready for anything," Tebow said. "Obviously, I get excited when my number is called down there and I want to produce. I am not paid enough to make those decisions. I just listen to what I am told and just try and do the best I can with the opportunities."

What did the Patriots' Devin McCourty see on his 104-yard touchdown on a kickoff return?

Besides a lot of wide-open space, you mean?

"I just ran my lane and I saw Daniel [Fells] did a great job turning his man," McCourty said of the momentum-stealing play immediately after the Jets took a 7-0 lead on their opening possession. "Once you get up to the kicker, that's your responsibility, and I made a move and I got past him."

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