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Weatherford's unsuccessful run stunned Jets coaches

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The pair traded shocked expressions, unsure of what to say or do.

There on the sideline Jets coach Rex Ryan and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff stood as punter Steve Weatherford barreled his way up the sideline from the Jets' 20.

"The two most-shocked guys were me and Westhoff when he started running with it," Ryan said Monday.

Weatherford, unaware of the down and distance, took off without checking in with Westhoff - which Ryan said is the customary procedure. The punter saw open field in front of him and decided it was best to fake the punt on fourth-and-18 with 6:36 to go in the first quarter of a then-scoreless game against Green Bay. That ultimately proved to be the wrong decision since Weatherford was knocked out of bounds just short of the first-down marker and the Packers took over on downs at the Jets' 36. They eventually kicked a field goal, en route to a 9-0 win.

"It was like, 'What are you doing?' Then it was like, 'Get the first, get the first, get the first,' " Ryan said. "Then, we're short and we tried to sneak an offensive play in before they challenged it. I knew it was going to be close. Clearly we have guts, but we're not going to run it down there."

Ryan said the decision "clearly was a mistake." Weatherford, who ran the same play successfully last season in games against Oakland and Miami, agreed. "It would have been a good decision had it been fourth-and-9, but that's my fault," the punter said after the game. "I made the decision to try to make the play, but it didn't work out for the team."

Said Ryan: "I think he's such a great athlete that he saw it coming down. He caught it, he visualized it. He goes, 'Oh, there's no way they're going to stop me.' I really don't think he even thought about what the down and distance was. The last time he looked up, we needed 9 yards. He's like, 'They're not going to catch me in 9 yards.' He still has to go through the proper channels.

"The first thing I did was look at Westhoff and Westhoff's looking at me, like, 'Where did this come from?' It's funny, but it's not funny."

New York Sports