EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Rex Ryan wanted this one badly for the New York area – and his Jets delivered.
But it was far from easy.
Nick Folk kicked a 50-yard field goal with 27 seconds left, giving the Jets a 27-24 comeback victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the final game of the NFL's first full Sunday with the commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks as an emotional backdrop.
With the game tied at 24, the Cowboys had a chance for a winning drive with 59 seconds left, but Tony Romo was intercepted on the first play by Darrelle Revis, who returned it 20 yards to Dallas' 34. Four plays later, Folk kicked the go-ahead field goal against his former team.
The Jets tied it with 5 minutes left when Isaiah Trufant, promoted from the practice squad Saturday, ran in a blocked punt from 18 yards for a touchdown. Joe McKnight ran up the middle unblocked and got his hands on Mat McBriar's kick, which bounced right into Trufant's hands.
It appeared the Cowboys were going to take a two-touchdown lead midway through the fourth quarter when Jason Witten's 64-yard catch put the ball at the Jets 3. Three plays later, Tony Romo scrambled, then tried to run it in up the middle, but was sacked by Mike DeVito and the quarterback lost the ball – and it was recovered by nose tackle Sione Pouha.
The Jets turned the ball over a few minutes later when a blitzing Danny McCray sacked Mark Sanchez, hitting him from behind and knocking the ball loose with Dallas recovering. But the Cowboys couldn't take advantage when they had two penalties and were forced to punt – the play that swung the momentum in the Jets' favor.
Early in the week Ryan said he felt a responsibility to the New York area to win on opening night, especially with the team honoring the victims of the attacks and their families before the game and at halftime. He also wanted to get the better of his twin brother, Rob, with their father Buddy in the crowd.