In the face of defeat, most losers take the high road.
Not Randy McMichael.
Rather than credit the Jets for their 27-21 comeback victory at MetLife Stadium Sunday, the San Diego tight end blamed himself and his teammates for failing to protect the lead.
"This is our fault," said a visibly miffed McMichael. "Nothing to do with the playcalling. We took our foot off the gas pedal and we lost because of it."
With the Chargers leading 21-17 entering the fourth quarter, McMichael's 30-yard reception on third-and-10 put the ball at the Jets' 30. But with San Diego in position to make it a two-score game, Philip Rivers' pass bounced off Vincent Jackson's back shoulder and landed in the hands of Darrelle Revis, who ran the ball back 64 yards down the right sideline before he was knocked out of bounds by McMichael and Rivers at the 19.
The Jets then took their first lead of the game as a 3-yard touchdown catch by Plaxico Burress made it 24-21 with 8:41 left.
"You go from a chance where we're going to get points to they're down there getting points. So that was a big play," said Rivers, who was 16-for-32 for 179 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. "I was just trying to put it on him. The ball's not round. It doesn't always bounce like you want it to."
Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson made sure the Chargers didn't regain any momentum on their next possession, snagging his first career interception on another pass intended for Jackson. That set up a field goal to give the Jets a six-point lead.
Nevertheless, McMichael refused to admit that the Chargers -- who scored two touchdowns after Jets turnovers for a 14-3 lead -- got outplayed. "Their secondary isn't anything," he said. "It's our fault. It had nothing to do with anyone on their team. The guys in this locker room -- we lost the game."
When pressed further about his team's 13 penalties for 95 yards, he became more agitated. "You can spin any question you want to ask; everything boils down to the San Diego Chargers beat the San Diego Chargers today," said McMichael, who had three catches for 45 yards.
But despite falling behind, the Chargers still had plenty of life late in the fourth until they squandered precious seconds off the clock and Rivers threw two incomplete passes on third and fourth downs to end the game.
Rivers lamented the missed opportunities, calling the outcome "a tale of two halves."
Chargers safety Eric Weddle faulted his team for blowing an opportunity to make a statement but nevertheless praised the Jets, who he said "kept fighting and made plays in the end to win. That's all you can really say as a competitor."
McMichael, however, took a different approach. Asked if he thought the Chargers were the better team Sunday, the tight end quickly responded: "[Heck] yeah. But they won, so whatever. I'm not giving nobody credit. I'm taking the credit away from us and leaving it at that."