EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Atlanta Falcons' season, like the wet football that Matt Ryan kept fumbling, was in danger of slipping away. But it was the New York Jets who again couldn't hang on in the end.
Staring at a fourth straight loss to an AFC East opponent, Ryan hit New Jersey native Mohamed Sanu for the go-ahead touchdown with 12:22 left in the fourth quarter, and the Falcons hung on to beat the Jets 25-20 on Sunday afternoon through a steady rain at MetLife Stadium.
The Jets (3-5) were about to get the ball back down 22-20 inside nine minutes to play, but the normally sure-handed Jeremy Kerley muffed a punt and Atlanta's Kemal Ishmael recovered on the New York 13-yard line. Matt Bryant hit his fourth field goal three plays later for the final margin with 5:22 to play.
Kerley also lost a fumble last week in Miami, but had lost only one before that in his seven-year career. The Jets, who blew 14-point leads each of the last two weeks, had a 17-10 lead with 2:26 left in the first half when Josh McCown hit wide receiver Robby Anderson on a fade down the right sideline for a 24-yard touchdown. But they scored only three points the rest of the game.
Ryan, who plays his home games indoors, had trouble with the snaps in the steady downpour, fumbling two exchanges in the first quarter and a third (which the Falcons recovered) later in the game. Linebacker Jordan Jenkins recovered the first for the Jets, but they couldn't cash in, as Chandler Catanzaro missed a 46-yard field goal wide right. Catanzaro converted from 43 yards after rookie safety Jamal Adams recovered the second fumble to give the Jets a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.
The Falcons (4-3) should have taken a lead on the ensuing drive, but tight end Austin Hooper had a Ryan pass bounce off his hands at the goal line. Bryant made a 23-yard field goal to tie the game with 8:09 left in the second quarter.
For the third week in a row, McCown opened the scoring with a touchdown pass, this time a 20-yard floater to tight end Eric Tomlinson on a seam route. It was Tomlinson's first touchdown since his senior year at UTEP in 2014 when he coincidentally scored in Manhattan ... Kansas (the home of Kansas State).
The Falcons tied the game at 7 when Ryan hit Hooper in the back of the end zone. It was the fourth straight week the Jets allowed a touchdown catch to an opposing tight end.
NOTES: Jets RB Elijah McGuire replaced the inactive ArDarius Stewart as the kickoff returner. He had three returns for 67 yards. ... Jets LB Jordan Jenkins recovered a fumble, his first this season and second of his career. ... Jets SS Jamal Adams recovered the first fumble of his career. ... Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson, who had 40.5 career sacks coming into the game, recorded his first sack of the season, and the first this season for a Jets defensive lineman. ... Jets DL Ed Stinson left in the third quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return. ... Falcons OLB Vic Beasley Jr. was shaken up on the first drive of the game, but he returned on the Jets' next possession. ... Falcons K Matt Bryant, after missing two field goals and having another blocked the last three weeks, made all three of his field-goal tries. ... Falcons DT Ahtyba Rubin was injured in the fourth quarter on the same play he was called for roughing the passer. ... Falcons DE Takkarist McKinley was also injured in the fourth quarter.