The 2007New York Jets season was the 38th NFL season and 48th overall season for the football team. This season was the second under head coach Eric Mangini. The team attempted to improve upon their 10–6 record from 2006, but finished the season with a 4–12 record.
Among the more notable free agent signings during the offseason was the acquisition of defensive endAndre Wadsworth on March 26. Wadsworth was the third overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, but had been out of football since 2000 – when he was cut by the Arizona Cardinals – due to several knee injuries and subsequent operations that kept him off the field.
The Jets released backup quarterback Patrick Ramsey on March 2. Ramsey was slated to be the primary backup behind Chad Pennington in 2006, but only played one snap under center during the regular season.
The Jets addressed a need at running back on March 6 by acquiring Thomas Jones from the Chicago Bears. The Jets' rushing offense ranked among the bottom teams in the NFL in 2006. In addition to Jones, the Jets received the 63rd pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, in exchange for the Jets' 37th pick, which the Jets acquired from the Washington Redskins last year. Jones then signed a four-year, $20 million deal with the team.
On August 23, the Jets agreed to trade disgruntled offensive lineman Pete Kendall to the Redskins, in exchange for the Redskins' fifth-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, which could become their fourth-round pick in 2009 depending on how much Kendall plays this season. Kendall had asked the Jets for a $1 million raise to his $1.7 million 2007 salary, which the Jets had refused, since Kendall had already renegotiated his contract prior to the 2006 season. He subsequently asked to be traded or released, and made his frustrations known to the media. During the preseason, Kendall practiced at center and played at that position in the Jets' preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on August 17. The experiment resulted in two botched shotgun snaps for the Jets, one of which was converted into a defensive touchdown for the Vikings.
The team was especially busy on draft day, making two big moves to move up in the order. First, they traded the 25th pick in the first round, along with their second (59th overall) and fifth-round (164th) picks to the Carolina Panthers for their first-round (14th) and sixth-round (191st) picks. They used the fourteenth pick on cornerback Darrelle Revis from the University of Pittsburgh. Later, they traded their other second-round pick (63rd) with their third (89th) and the sixth-round pick acquired from Carolina to the Green Bay Packers for their second (47th) and seventh-round (235th) picks. The four players in all taken by the Jets represent the smallest draft class in franchise history.
Revis initially did not attend the Jets' training camp, as he was still in the midst of negotiating his contract. He eventually signed a six-year, US$36 million contract on August 15, 21 days after camp had started. Revis was the second-to-last first-round pick to sign a contract with a team, with JaMarcus Russell of the Oakland Raiders the only holdout remaining as a result. Revis was the first draftee not signed before training camp by the Jets since James Farrior in 1997, and had the longest holdout since Keyshawn Johnson in 1996.
Matchups were determined at the end of last season through the league's scheduling formula. In addition to two games each against their traditional AFC East rivals, the team will face teams from the AFC North and NFC East. The Jets will also host the Kansas City Chiefs, marking Herman Edwards' first game against his former team since leaving after the 2005 season. The schedule was officially released on April 11. One game—the Jets' Thanksgiving game against the Dallas Cowboys — was announced with the league's opening weekend games on March 26. Game times from weeks 11 through 17 (excluding the aforementioned Cowboys game) were subject to change in accordance with the NFL's flexible scheduling policy. Two games wound up being affected: the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was moved from a 1:00 PM Eastern time start to 4:05 PM; the game against the Chiefs was moved from NBC Sunday Night Football to a 4:15 PM start on CBS.
The Jets began their 2007 campaign at home for a Week 1 divisional match-up with the New England Patriots. In the first quarter, New York immediately trailed as QB Tom Brady completed an 11-yard TD pass to WR Wes Welker for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, the Jets tied the game with QB Chad Pennington completing a 7-yard TD pass to WR Laveranues Coles. However, the Patriots retook the lead with Brady completing a 5-yard TD pass to TE Benjamin Watson.
On the opening kickoff for the third quarter, New York trailed even more as CB Ellis Hobbs returned the kickoff an NFL record 108 yards for a touchdown. Afterwards, New England continued his onslaught as Brady completed a 51-yard TD pass to WR Randy Moss. The Jets would get their last score of the game with Pennington & Coles hooking up with each other again on a 1-yard TD pass. In the fourth quarter, the Patriots would take over for the rest of the game as kicker Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 22-yard field goal, while FB Heath Evans ended the game with a 1-yard TD run.
With the loss, New York began its season at 0–1 while the Patriots began 1–0.
Though Chad Pennington was active and in uniform for the Jets, the team erred on the side of caution due to injured right ankle, instead starting second-year backup Kellen Clemens, who was making his first career start. The Ravens' defense welcomed him rudely on his first drive with an interception by Ed Reed. The Ravens were able to attain good field position consistently throughout the first half, and quarterback Kyle Boller (who himself was starting in place of an injured starting quarterback, Steve McNair), capitalized with a two-yard touchdown to Willis McGahee late in the first quarter. The teams traded field goals to start the second quarter; Jets kicker Mike Nugent hit a 50-yard field goal, followed by Matt Stover hitting a 28-yard attempt for the Ravens. After Stover missed a 46-yard try, the Jets tried to respond with Nugent attempting a 52-yard field goal, but Nugent missed wide left, his first miss in twenty attempts dating back to last season. Boller once again took advantage of the short field provided and hit tight end Todd Heap on a four-yard touchdown with six seconds left in the half to extend the Ravens' lead to 17–3. Heap's catch was initially ruled incomplete, but the call was subjected to a booth review and reversed, as replays showed he was able to touch both feet within the end zone.
After a quiet third quarter, Stover hit a 43-yard field goal to start the fourth quarter, and extended Baltimore's lead to seventeen. Baltimore's defense, which ranked as the best in the NFL in 2006, was able to shut down Clemens and the Jets for most of the game, but Clemens was able to rally the team in the fourth quarter. Using a no huddle offense, Clemens drove the team down to the Baltimore three-yard line, before the Jets settled for a 21-yard field goal. On the Jets' next possession, 44 and 24-yard strikes by Clemens to Jerricho Cotchery got the Jets to the Ravens' goal line, where he found tight end Chris Baker for a three-yard touchdown, cutting the Jets' deficit to seven. Though the Jets failed to convert the ensuing onside kick, poor clock management by Boller gave the Jets the ball back with 2:38 left in the game. Clemens immediately found Cotchery on a 50-yard catch-and-run, later followed by a 24-yard pass to Laveranues Coles that brought the Jets' to the Baltimore seven-yard line with just over a minute to go. Clemens passed to Justin McCareins for a potential touchdown, but the pass was dropped by McCareins. A second pass to McCareins in the end zone deflected off him and into the arms of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis for the game-ending interception. The loss made the Jets 8–20 since 2002 in games not started by Chad Pennington.
Chad Pennington returned under center for the Jets, as they attempted to get their first win of the season against another winless team, the Miami Dolphins. The Jets' offense got going toward the end of the first quarter with a three-yard touchdown pass from Pennington to Laveranues Coles. The Dolphins responded swiftly as Trent Green and Ronnie Brown led the team on a three-minute drive that culminated on a one-yard run by Brown to tie the score at seven. However, the Jets wasted little time reclaiming the lead. Leon Washington received the ensuing kickoff at the two-yard line and returned it 98 yards for a touchdown and a 14–7 lead. The Dolphins crept back with field goals of 31 and 39 yards by Jay Feely on their next two possessions. Pennington kept the Dolphins at bay with a successful two-minute drill, finding tight end Chris Baker on a four-yard touchdown to close the first half and give the Jets a 21–13 halftime lead.
The Jets attempted to further their lead opening the third quarter, but were stopped short of the goal line and had to settle for a 21-yard Mike Nugent field goal. The Dolphins tried to respond, but the Jets' defense forced their first takeaway of the season on the ensuing drive, an interception by Kerry Rhodes. Pennington led his offense downfield with the help of several Thomas Jones running plays before he ran into the end zone to give the Jets a 31–13 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Miami would not go down quietly, however. Green quickly marched the Dolphins downfield to set up Brown's two-yard touchdown run. The Dolphins elected to attempt a two-point conversion to cut their deficit to ten; using a Statue of Liberty play, Brown walked into the end zone to complete the conversion. Although the Jets shed several minutes off the clock on their following possession, the Dolphins got the ball back and again were able to move swiftly downfield, where Brown scored his third touchdown on a 22-yard pass from Green. The Dolphins needed to recover an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff to have a chance to tie or win the game, but, despite a penalty moving the ball up ten yards, were unsuccessful, and Pennington knelt out the clock to give the Jets their first victory of the season.
Coming off a divisional home win over the Dolphins, the Jets flew to Ralph Wilson Stadium for an AFC East showdown with the winless Buffalo Bills. After a scoreless first half, New York trailed in the third quarter as Bills RB Marshawn Lynch got a 10-yard TD run. The Jets would respond with QB Chad Pennington completing a 5-yard TD pass to WR Laveranues Coles. In the fourth quarter, New York fell behind Buffalo again as kicker Rian Lindell nailed a 46-yard field goal and QB Trent Edwards completed a 1-yard TD pass to TE Michael Gaines. The Jets managed to pull within three as RB Leon Washington got an 8-yard TD run. After forcing a three-&-out, New York had one last chance to tie or take the lead. Unfortunately, 8 plays into the drive, Pennington got intercepted by Bills CB Terrence McGee, which secured Buffalo's first win of the year.
The Jets played a rare road game at home, as they took on their intracity rivals (and stadium co-tenants), the New York Giants. Both offenses were slow to start through the first quarter, though the Jets' defense capitalized when Giants running back Brandon Jacobs fumbled at his own 11-yard line, which was picked up by safety Kerry Rhodes for a touchdown. The Jets had a chance to extend the lead later in the period, but Mike Nugent missed a 42-yard field goal. The Giants responded on the ensuing drive with an eight-yard touchdown by Derrick Ward. The deadlock was broken toward the end of the first half when Chad Pennington led the Jets on a 93-yard drive with less than two minutes in the half, ending on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Brad Smith. The Jets were able to tack on a 47-yard field goal by Nugent to end the half, after they got the ball back on an interception of Giants quarterback Eli Manning by Jonathan Vilma, taking a 17–7 lead into the locker room.
The Giants went to work when they opened the second half, getting a 19-yard touchdown run from Jacobs to cut the Jets' lead to three. The lead was restored back to ten, however, when Leon Washington returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. Later in the quarter, Manning led the Giants downfield and completed a 13-yard pass to tight end Jeremy Shockey for a touchdown. Pennington attempted to respond by leading the Jets deep into Giants territory early in the fourth quarter, but he floated a pass toward the end zone which was intercepted at the two-yard line by cornerback Aaron Ross. Despite the bad field position, Manning eventually found Plaxico Burress on a 53-yard touchdown pass to put the Giants ahead, 28–24. The Jets tried to get back ahead later in the period, but Pennington was intercepted again by Ross (Pennington's third of the afternoon), who took it 43 yards for what was effectively the game-sealing touchdown. One last attempt by the Jets to score yielded no positive yardage, and the Giants ran out the clock to preserve the victory.
Trying to snap a two-game skid, the Jets stayed at home, donned their throwback New York Titans uniforms, and played their Week 6 interconference game with the Philadelphia Eagles. In the first quarter, the Jets got off to a fast start with kicker Mike Nugent getting a 30-yard field goal, yet the Eagles took the lead with QB Donovan McNabb completing a 75-yard TD pass to WR Kevin Curtis. In the second quarter, Philadelphia increased its lead with kicker David Akers getting a 22-yard field goal. New York responded with Nugent kicking a 21-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, the Jets continued to struggle as Akers gave the Eagles a 31-yard and a 25-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, New York tried to come back, yet all they got was Nugent's 30-yard field goal.
With their third-straight loss, the Jets fell to 1–5.
One of the few positives from the game was that RB Thomas Jones ran 100 yards for the 18th time in his career, as he ran 24 times for 130.
Reeling from three straight losses, the Jets made some changes in the lineup, moving Darrelle Revis and inserting Hank Poteat and Abram Elam. QB Chad Pennington got off to a quick start, completing a 57 yard pass to Laveranues Coles. Both New York and Cincinnati were able to move the ball back and forth in the first half, ending the half with the Jets on top 20–10.
The fourth quarter would eventually prove to be the Jets undoing, however. After giving up a touchdown in the third quarter to make the score 23–17, the Jets gave up three touchdowns and only scored their last touchdown in the closing seconds of the game, ending with a 38–31 loss. The fourth quarter was marked by many mistakes, including a costly pass interference by Darrelle Revis and a fumble and interception by Chad Pennington. The pass interference kept a Bengals drive alive, and the fumble gave the Bengals the ball at midfield. Finally, with 50 seconds left in the game, Pennington throws a hurried pass into the hands of Bengal Johnathan Joseph, who runs the ball 42 yards for the game-sealing touchdown.
After the game, coach Eric Mangini refused to endorse Chad Pennington as the quarterback for next week's game against the Buffalo Bills, stating that he'd "need to look at the tape," indicating a possible change to Kellen Clemens.
Before the game, the Jets learned linebacker Jonathan Vilma was lost for the season with a knee injury. Both teams began the game with lengthy drives that ended in field goals, consuming nearly the first twenty minutes of the game. Neither team could generate much offense after that. An interception from Bills quarterback Trent Edwards and a fumble on a trick play by the Jets' Leon Washington ended the only serious attempts either team made at scoring in the second quarter.
"It's not the same movie. It's the same ending."
Edwards sprained his right wrist in the third quarter and was replaced by his backup, former starter J. P. Losman. Losman led Buffalo downfield early in the fourth quarter, and the Bills took a 6–3 lead on a 40-yard field goal by Rian Lindell. On the Bills' next possession, Losman threw downfield from his own 15-yard line, and found Lee Evans, who, after wrestling the ball away from Darrelle Revis, ran untouched for 43 yards into the end zone to give the Bills a 13–3 lead. Revis appeared to have a chance to intercept the ball, but Jets' safety Abram Elam ran into Revis, allowing Evans to claim the ball.
After the touchdown, and with 3:38 left to play, Jets quarterback Chad Pennington was replaced by backup Kellen Clemens. Clemens twice attempted to drive the Jets for a score, but both drives ended in interceptions, including one on a Hail Mary that ended the game. The Bills held on for the 13–3 victory, as the Jets were swept by Buffalo for the first time since 1997.
Leon Washington got the Jets started immediately when he returned the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown. The kickoff return touchdown was his third of the season, setting a Jets record. The teams traded field goals before Clemens led the Jets downfield, where he found tight end Joe Kowalewski on a one-yard touchdown. The Redskins responded with a 40-yard field goal from Shaun Suisham. They then surprised the Jets with an onside kick, which they successfully recovered, leading to another Suisham field goal near the end of the first half.
Suisham continued to keep the Redskins in the game with a 40-yard field goal to start the third quarter, bringing the score to 17–12. The Jets drove deep into Redskins territory early in the fourth quarter when, on a pass completion to Jerricho Cotchery, Cotchery fumbled the ball, and the Redskins recovered. Mangini challenged the call believing the pass was incomplete, and therefore no fumble was possible, but the challenge was not upheld. The Redskins took advantage on the ensuing drive, and running back Clinton Portis, who had a huge game against the porous Jets run defense, scored on a one-yard touchdown to give Washington the lead. A two-point conversion from quarterback Jason Campbell to Antwaan Randle El put the Redskins up by three. The Jets eventually got the ball back late in the game, and Clemens led the offense on a 15-play drive ending with a Mike Nugent 30-yard field goal with ten seconds left to force overtime.
The Jets won the coin toss to start the extra frame and received the ball first. They began with a 39-yard pass from Clemens to Cotchery, but the drive quickly stalled and the Jets were forced to punt. Campbell and Portis led the Redskins downfield into the field goal range of Suisham, who hit his fifth field goal of the day to give the Redskins the win and send the Jets to their sixth straight loss.
The Jets faced a tough matchup in the Pittsburgh Steelers, who possessed the top-ranked defense in the league entering the game. The Jets started the game with a bang, however, executing a flea flicker play as quarterback Kellen Clemens found Laveranues Coles for 57 yards, setting up Chris Baker's one-yard touchdown reception. After the Jets extended their lead to ten points, the Steelers got on the board in the second quarter. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes on a seven-yard pass for a touchdown, making the score 10–7. Later, following a Roethlisberger interception by Kerry Rhodes, Clemens led the Jets through a two-minute drill down to the Steelers' one-yard line, but could not get into the end zone, and the Jets settled for a Mike Nugent 19-yard field goal.
The Steelers were able to chip away at the deficit in the second half. Though the Jets defense managed to stall Pittsburgh drives into Jets territory, Jeff Reed hit field goal attempts from 37, 33, and 48 yards to eventually give Pittsburgh a 16–13 lead with less than nine minutes to go. The Jets eventually received the ball at their own 14-yard line with 2:23 left in the game, and for the second game in a row, Clemens marched the team downfield, on a 13-play, 76-yard drive, culminating in a 28-yard field goal attempt for Nugent, which forced overtime. After both teams went three-and-out to start, Leon Washington, who Pittsburgh kickers and punters had avoided kicking to for much of the game, returned a punt 33 yards to the Steelers 27-yard line. This set up Nugent's successful 38-yard field goal, giving the Jets their second win of the season.
The Jets defense had an impressive game; in addition to an interception and a fumble recovery, they were able to pressure Roethlisberger throughout the game, resulting in seven quarterback sacks, after having just nine in the team's first nine games.
Coming off their home upset victory over the Steelers, the Jets flew to Texas Stadium for a Week 12 Thanksgiving interconference showdown with the Dallas Cowboys. This would be their first Thanksgiving Day appearance since 1985.
In the first quarter, New York trailed early as Cowboys RB Marion Barber got a 7-yard TD run for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, Dallas increased its lead with QB Tony Romo completing a 25-yard TD pass to TE Jason Witten, along with CB Terence Newman returning an interception 50 yards for a touchdown. The Jets managed to score their only points of the game as kicker Mike Nugent managed to get a 40-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, the Cowboys added on to their lead as kicker Nick Folk managed to get a 46-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the fourth quarter, Dallas pulled away as Folk nailed a 27-yard field goal and Romo completed a 22-yard TD pass to WR Terrell Owens.
The Jets opened the game by getting on the board with a direct snap touchdown run by Leon Washington. Long field goals by Jay Feely for the Dolphins cut the Jets' lead to one. Immediately after Feely's second field goal, Jets quarterback Kellen Clemens found Justin McCareins on a long pass for 50 yards, but the drive quickly stalled, and New York was forced to settle for Mike Nugent's 29-yard field goal. On the Jets' next possession, Clemens was hit on one of six Dolphins sacks by Will Allen; the ball popped out on the hit and was recovered by Michael Lehan, who returned the fumble 43 yards for a touchdown to give the Dolphins a 13–10 lead. Aided by consecutive Dolphins penalties prior to kickoff, however, the good field position on the Jets' ensuing drive allowed Clemens to find Brad Smith on a 19-yard touchdown reception to put the Jets back on top. A Kerry Rhodes interception on the Dolphins' next possession allowed the Jets to tack on a 40-yard field goal just before halftime.
Turnovers for the Jets' defense allowed New York to take control of the game in the second half. Rookie Dolphins quarterback John Beck's fumble on a sack in third quarter led to Nugent's 35-yard attempt to increase the Jets' lead to ten. After Beck lost another fumble on the Dolphins' next series, the Jets drove down to Miami's one-yard line, where Thomas Jones scored his first touchdown in his twelfth game as a Jet. On Miami's next possession, an interception by Drew Coleman gave the Jets another scoring opportunity, which turned out to be Nugent's fourth field goal of the day. Leon Washington's 12-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter ended the scoring.
Coming off their season-sweep over the Dolphins, the Jets went home for a Week 14 intraconference duel with the Cleveland Browns. After a scoreless first quarter, New York trailed in the second quarter as Browns QB Derek Anderson completed a 7-yard TD pass to RB Jamal Lewis. The Jets would get on the board with kicker Mike Nugent getting a 35-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, Cleveland responded with Anderson completing a 4-yard TD pass to WR Braylon Edwards. The Jets would reply with Nugent kicking a 41-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, the Browns increased their lead with kicker Phil Dawson getting a 49-yard field goal. New York would creep closer with QB Kellen Clemens getting a 1-yard TD run (with a failed 2-point conversion), while Nugent kicked a 38-yard field goal. However, Cleveland sealed the win with Lewis getting a 31-yard touchdown. The Jets would end the game with Nugent nailing a 35-yard field goal.
The Jets were heavy underdogs coming into their second game with the undefeated Patriots. The game was largely a defensive struggle, as cold, wet weather affected both teams' offenses. On the Jets' second play from scrimmage, Jets quarterback Kellen Clemens was hit as he threw by Richard Seymour, and safety Eugene Wilson grabbed the errant pass for a quick 7–0 lead for New England. Clemens was forced to leave the game after the play with an undisclosed rib injury, and was relieved for the remainder of the game by Chad Pennington. A field goal extended the Patriots lead in the second quarter. The Jets caught a break later in the quarter when Patriots punter Chris Hanson bobbled the snap on a punt, allowing David Bowens time to block the punt for the Jets; Bowens recovered the ball and ran for the touchdown to trim the Patriots lead to three. However, the Patriots followed suit with their own blocked punt toward the end of the half, which set up Laurence Maroney's one-yard touchdown run.
The Jets had some scoring opportunities go to waste in the second half. An interception of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in New England territory led to a Chris Baker fumble at the 15-yard line. The teams then traded field goals in the fourth quarter to make the score 20–10. Following the Patriots' field goal, the Jets began play at the Patriots 31-yard line; Pennington found Justin McCareins in the end zone for an apparent seven-yard touchdown. However, the play was challenged by New England, and it was ruled that McCareins did not have full control of the ball, nullifying the touchdown. After getting pushed back by a penalty, Mike Nugent missed a 35-yard field goal attempt, ending the Jets' last serious scoring threat.
Chad Pennington started at quarterback for the Jets, as Kellen Clemens sat out while recovering from the rib injury suffered against the Patriots. The Titans got on the board early in the second quarter with a four-yard touchdown run by Chris Brown. The Jets responded with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Pennington to Jerricho Cotchery, but the Titans blocked the extra point attempt to maintain a one-point lead. Later in the quarter, the Jets were the victims of unfortunate luck. When Mike Nugent converted a 38-yard field goal attempt, the Titans were called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that gave the Jets a first-and-goal at the Tennessee 10-yard line. However, three plays later, Pennington threw an interception to end the Jets' scoring threat. A Rob Bironas field goal gave the Titans a 10–6 lead in the third quarter, and the Jets were never able to make any significant progress on offense afterward.
Trying to end their season on a high note, the Jets went home for a Week 17 duel with the Kansas City Chiefs. After a scoreless first quarter, New York took flight as QB Kellen Clemens completed a 15-yard TD to RB Thomas Jones. The Chiefs would get on the board with kicker John Carney getting a 40-yard field goal, followed by Jets kicker Mike Nugent getting a 27-yard field goal to end the half.
After a scoreless third quarter, Kansas City would tie the game in the fourth quarter with QB Brodie Croyle completing a 26-yard TD pass to WR Jeff Webb. In overtime, New York sealed the win with Nugent nailing the game-winning 43-yard field goal.
↑Free agent tag types are UFA (unrestricted free agent) and RFA (restricted free agent). Unrestricted free agents may be signed by any team in the league with no rights held by the previous team. Restricted free agents may be signed by any team in the league; however, the previous team is compensated for the loss of that player.
↑Applies only to restricted free agents. All players are subject to a right of first refusal (ROFR); however, if a team is not entitled to any compensation from the loss of that player, it is noted that the player is only subject to an ROFR. Players with no qualifying offer (NQO) are noted as well, and may be signed by any team in the league, with the previous team receiving no compensation for the loss of that player.