INDIANAPOLIS -- Fifteen minutes after the New York Jets lost a game they couldn't lose, Bill Parcells stood at a podium outside the locker room, trying to explain the unexplainable. His flushed face was covered with streams of sweat, and his words were doused with venom. He took "hot and bothered" to a new level.
"This is as disappointed as I've been since I've been here," the Jets coach said after yesterday's stunning 24-23 loss to the previously 1-8 Colts at the RCA Dome. "It makes me sick."
Moments earlier, Parcells expressed the same sentiment to the team, with a post-game speech that was described by one player as "quick and violent."
This game was supposed to be quick and painless for the Jets, another win on their march toward the postseason and perhaps beyond. The Colts had lost 21 of their last 25 games, including a 44-6 defeat to the Jets in Week 3.
But this time, the Jets came in reeking of overconfidence. In the end, they just plain reeked, completing a no-show second half by allowing a 14-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Pollard with 24 seconds left and fumbling away their last chance in the final seconds.
End of four-game winning streak. End of former Raven Vinny Testaverde's undefeated run as the starting quarterback. End of the giddiness.
"It's a big blow," linebacker Mo Lewis said. "We continue to make things hard for ourselves. I thought we put these type of games behind us. It's obvious we didn't."
Said Parcells: "That's a big step back. We had a chance to put ourselves in pretty good position. Now we're back in a little bit of trouble."
It was an emotional win for the Colts, who dedicated the game to their hospitalized teammate, Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, who underwent 12 hours of brain surgery on Thursday. Afterward, the Colts chanted his name: "Iron-head! Iron-head!"
Fred Baxter, Keyshawn Johnson and Wayne Chrebet dropped key passes for the Jets. Baxter blew a wide-open touchdown when he failed to get both feet down in the back of the end zone. Baryshnikov, he's not.
Want more ugliness? The defense tackled like jayvee players, including a miss by safety Corwin Brown on a fourth-and-15 pass to Marshall Faulk -- an 18-yard gain that kept alive the Colts' 15-play, 80-yard drive in crunch time.
"All we have to do is make one play, and we couldn't," Parcells said of the Colts' final drive.
More ugliness: Testaverde (12-for-28, 249 yards), in his worst game as a Jet, threw an interception, lost a fumble and was sacked four times. Not even one of the biggest plays in NFL history -- Aaron Glenn's 104-yard touchdown on a field-goal return -- saved the Jets, who blew a 23-10 halftime lead.
"This is embarrassing for a team that considers itself a playoff contender," guard Todd Burger said.
Fullback Keith Byars blamed the team for failing to heed Parcells' urgent warnings about the Colts.
"If he tells you there's cheese on the top of the mountain, you'd better bring crackers," Byars said. "He's not a crazy old man."
Except crazy with anger.
Pub Date: 11/16/98