It was a brutal game at times, with both offenses sluggish and prone to mistakes. The Jets were also penalized 10 times, including a late hit call on Aaron Maybin, who plowed into D.J. Ware in the fourth quarter — a play on which Coughlin was injured out of bounds.
Eli Manning finished 9 of 27 for 225 yards, but Sanchez knew he and Ryan would shoulder the responsibility for the loss.
"I left a lot of completions out there," Sanchez said. "We just missed some things in the passing game and you just can't do that against a good defense like that."
The sloppiest stretch came midway through the fourth quarter with wild swings of momentum. The Jets got new life after an incompletion on fourth-and-1 from the 47 when Deon Grant was called for pass interference.
Two plays later, Plaxico Burress — playing against the Giants in the regular season for the first time since they cut him in 2009 and he served a 20-month prison sentence on a gun charge — was called for offensive pass interference to negate a touchdown pass.
On the next snap, Jason Pierre-Paul sacked Sanchez, who lost the ball, and it was recovered by Justin Tuck. Ryan challenged the play, and officials reversed the call, saying Sanchez's arm was going forward.
The Giants got their turnover moments later, though, when Sanchez fumbled the snap from center Nick Mangold in the end zone.
The ball changed hands again when David Harris intercepted Manning's toss that tipped off Hakeem Nicks' hands. The Jets got yet another break after Sanchez was ruled to have been sacked by Linval Joseph, who forced a fumble that the Jets recovered. Ryan challenged again, and the play was reversed, with officials saying it was incomplete.
On third-and-12 from the 13, Sanchez scrambled for 11 yards — and Antrel Rolle was called for holding, putting the ball at the 1. Sanchez rolled right on the next play and dived into the end zone, making it 20-14 with 7:17 left.
But the Jets wouldn't get any closer. Chris Canty sacked Sanchez for a safety, and after an onside free kick by the Jets was recovered by the Giants, Bradshaw had a 19-yard TD run with 2:04 left.
Cruz's 99-yard catch — the longest scoring pass in team history — came with the Giants in dire straits facing third-and-10 from the 1. Manning, standing in the back of the end zone, zipped a pass to Cruz, who dodged tackle attempts by Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson and took off down the right sideline. Eric Smith was the only one with a chance to get him, but Cruz outran him to give the Giants a 10-7 lead with 2:12 left in the opening half.
It was also the longest offensive play against the Jets in team history — and a sign of the type of afternoon it would be for them.
"I don't want to be the second-best team in this city," Ryan said. "No chance. I'm not signing up for that. We'll play them again. We'd be more than happy to go play them right now, but we're going to have to wait four years."
Notes: DE Jason Pierre-Paul had two of the Giants' five sacks, giving him 15½ this season. ... Jets S Brodney Pool said he experienced migraine symptoms during the game, worsened after a hard hit in the third quarter when Bradshaw slammed into him. He said he was fine. ... Jets LB Garrett McIntyre hurt his knee covering the opening kickoff, and there was no immediate word on the injury.
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