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Greg Zuerlein doesn’t sugarcoat field goal miss that doomed Jets

It looked like a gift at first.

The Jets’ defense had just leaked away a lead late in the game and, with the game clock bleeding its way toward 0:00, their quarterback Zach Wilson completed a desperation 20-yard pass to receiver Elijah Moore to the Detroit 40-yard line.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh quickly called timeout with one second remaining in the game.

That left the Jets with a 58-yard field goal attempt to tie the game for kicker Greg Zuerlein, aka “Greg the Leg’’ for his powerful right limb. Zuerlein just three weeks earlier set the franchise record with a 60-yard field goal in Minneapolis. It was his third of 60 or more yards in his career.

On this day, though, Zuerlein’s 58-yard attempt on the final play of the game was wide left, leaving the Jets to digest a devastating 20-17 loss to the Lions at MetLife Stadium.

Jets kicker Greg Zuerlein (6) and holder Braden Mann (7) reacts after missing a field goal during the fourth quarter.
Bill Kostroun

Zuerlein, who entered the game 24 of 28 on field goals this season, was very matter of fact about it, blaming himself.

“I don’t think there’s any blame to be passed,’’ he said “I should have made the kick — no matter what the kick, no matter what the distance.’’

He said he knew it wasn’t right the moment he struck the ball.

“I didn’t hit it well,’’ Zuerlein said. “That’s life. Sometimes you can hit it bad if you’re close and you can get lucky, but most of the time I’ll know whether it’s good as soon as I kick it.’’

Zuerlein said he didn’t recall how far he hit field goals in pregame warm-ups, saying, “I just move around until I feel comfortable and warm.’’

“In a situation like that, you’re going to kick it no matter how far or close you are, so … you’ve just to go out there and make the kick,’’ he said. “From that distance, I can make that.’’

He described his emotion when he hit the kick and saw it drifting left as “not good.’’

“Bad feelings,’’ he said. “It’s never what you want to see.’’

Braden Mann #7 of the New York Jets greets Greg Zuerlein in the second half.
Corey Sipkin

Zuerlein said the snap from Thomas Hennessy and the hold from Braden Mann were not the problem. “Everything was fantastic,’’ he said.

He, too, said his confidence is not shaken by the miss.

“I feel confident any time I go out there,’’ Zuerlein said. “If I strike the ball like I know how, I’m going to make the kick. It didn’t happen today unfortunately, but I’m very confident in my abilities and just have got to execute when it matters.’’

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