The collapse started with a fumble, Shonn Greene's fumble. The New York Jets were ahead by 13 points, seemingly running out the clock in the fourth quarter. This was going to be the routine victory they had longed for, a welcomed break from the theatrical finishes.
But, in a heartbeat, the ball was out. Houston Texans LB Kevin Bentley scooped it up, returned it eight yards to the Jets' 43. On the next play, Matt Schaub threw a 43-yard touchdown to a wide-open Joel Dreesen, and suddenly the Jets' lead was 23-17, with 9:14 to play.
The Jets' miracle finish -- yes, another one -- saved Greene from being the goat. This was his second lost fumble of the season, and he landed in the doghouse the first time it happened, the season-opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Once again, he was banished to the bench.
Greene said it wasn't all his fault. He said QB Mark Sanchez changed plays at the line, going from a toss to an inside, zone run. Greene said he didn't hear the change, leading to indecision on the handoff.
"He killed (the play), but I didn't even know it was a kill," Greene said. "The exchange was kind of sloppy. I didn't quite have the ball."
Greene had three fumbles last season, so this isn't an isolated incident. Rex Ryan has been trying to increase Greene's workload in recent weeks, but it will be hard to keep doing that if ball security becomes an issue.
"Of course, it's frustrating," Greene said of his latest fumble. "Why wouldn't it be?"
In terms of running, Greene didn't have a great day, finishing with 42 yards on 15 carries.
"I'm happy we won," Greene said, "but I'm still kind of upset with myself."
LaDainian Tomlinson (36 yards on 12 carries) also didn't have a great day on the ground. He left the game briefly in the fourth quarter after banging his elbow, but he returned to make two key receptions on the game-winning drive.