Nick Folk made the field goal that put the Jets ahead with 3:23 left in Sunday’s season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium. But that lead didn’t hold up. The Bengals drove 55 yards and Mike Nugent kicked a 47-yard field goal with 54 seconds left to give visiting Cincinnati a 23-22 win.
However, Folk knows it was his kicking misadventures that left the door open for the Bengals to steal the victory. Although he did make three field goals in the game, he also missed an extra point for the first time in his career and had another field goal blocked. Both of those miscues ended up being costly.
“At that end, the wind was pretty tricky,’’ Folk said of the missed extra point, his first after 312 successful tries. “You had to hit really clean balls all day. I didn’t hit a really clean ball; it went right. The wind kind of ate it up.’’
Folk said the wind was worse than usual in the stadium and that he was aware of it during the pregame warmup.
“That end was — that was a wind that we hadn’t had here in a long time,’’ he said. “Most of the time, it’s a little bit less than that, and especially at the end zones.’’
The miss was in the east end of the stadium, where Folk said the wind was blowing in, and left to right. His kick went wide right. It came in the second quarter, on the Jets’ second touchdown, after he’d already had a 22-yard field goal blocked by defensive end Margus Hunt at the other end late in the first quarter.
The Bengals were leading 10-7 when Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Eric Decker for a touchdown to put the Jets up 13-10 with 9:38 left in the half. Folk missed the extra point that would have put the Jets up by four. He did make a 45-yard field goal on the Jets’ next possession at the same end of the field (“I hit that 45 much cleaner going that way,’’ he said) to extend to a 16-10 lead.
But Nugent kicked a field goal at the other end right before halftime to cut into the deficit and Cincinnati scored late in the third quarter to take a 20-16 lead. Folk then kicked two short field goals, from 20 and 23 yards, to put the Jets up 22-20 before Nugent came back to kick the game-winner — at the same troublesome end of the field.
A 10-year NFL veteran, Folk, 31, said he never worried that the missed extra point would come back to haunt the Jets later in the game.
“No, no,’’ he said. “You can’t think like that. You’ve just got to keep moving on, keep working. I left opportunities out there, I feel pretty bad about it. We’ve gotta move on. We got a game [against Buffalo] in four days.’’