The Jets fell to 3-9 today, officially clinching a third consecutive losing season. New York was defeated by the Tennessee Titans 26-22 despite trailing the game for only 36 seconds. Those were the final 36 seconds, however, as the team fell despite leading by 16 points early and being presented with numerous opportunities to expand the lead.
It is going to take many days to adequately describe just how terrible this loss was, but we will begin by looking at some of the individual performances.
Todd Bowles: How many ridiculous losses can this team have under this coach? I don’t even know what to say at this point. Ultimately I think there are two big issues that are symbolic of the Bowles Era. The first is stupid penalties. Whether it’s Robby Anderson taking a stupid unsportsmanlike penalty because he has to showboat over a routine first down or Eric Tomlinson wiping out a big third down conversion with a sloppy penalty away from the real action, the Jets come off like an undisciplined team. And I can’t help but feel like this lack of discipline manifests itself in key moments. The second issue is just a lack of aggressiveness. Whether it’s sitting on the ball up 13-0 and settling for a field goal with a chance to put the game away early off a blocked punt, or not throwing on a key third down when every Titans defender on the field is close to the line of scrimmage in the 4:00 drill, it just feels like Bowles plays not to lose. I can’t prove definitively either of these things comes to the surface in key spots, but it sure feels that way to me. But in this business, it doesn’t even really matter. Even if I’m imagining these issues, the results are unacceptable. That is at the feet of the head coach.
Jeremy Bates: The sad thing is I actually noted during the game that this was probably Bates’ best called game of the year. I liked some elements of what he did, such as personnel groupings featuring Trenton Cannon and Elijah McGuire together, misdirection calls, and one play where he got Andre Roberts the ball on an end around with a full head of steam, simulating a return. But it’s a low bar to clear saying this was Bates’ best game. It never should have taken 13 weeks to get these things. Some of the onus for the situational playcalling failures must fall at Bates’ feet.
Josh McCown: The way the defense and the special teams were producing points in the first half kind of obscured how poorly McCown was playing. Things didn’t improve in the second half, and that became more obvious as the game tightened. McCown finished 17 of 30 with just 128 yards an interception. It felt to me by the fourth quarter like he had no idea where the ball was going and who was in the area when he was throwing it. If this was Sam Darnold, we might excuse this as a rough rookie moment. A 39 year old has no such excuses. A lot of people will focus on the duck he threw on the interception that sealed the loss in the final minute, but he missed a pair of open receivers on should have been touchdowns in the first half that might have iced the game before halftime.
Morris Claiborne: This was a really rough game for Claiborne. He was beaten for multiple big plays and committed no fewer than three penalties, one of which wiped out a big sack on Tennessee’s final drive.
Darryl Roberts: He was toasted twice on deep routes as the last line of defense. The Jets were lucky the Titans only connected on one.
Trumaine Johnson: It feels like only Johnson on his current contract could wipe out an otherwise solid game that included an early pick six with a costly facemask penalty on the final drive and a weak tackling attempt on the game-losing touchdown.
Rashard Robinson: He was beaten for a big play on the final drive.
Quincy Enunwa: Enunwa was a nonfactor in this game with only 2 catches for 9 yards.
Robby Anderson: Odell Beckham’s attitude; Bernard Berrian’s skills.
Offensive Line: It wasn’t one of the group’s worst games, but there were too many key moments where a drive stalled because of a penalty or somebody missed a critical block for me to praise the unit.
Jason Myers: There aren’t many people on this team who deserve better than this, but the kicker does. You deserve better, Jason, after another stellar day. He was 5 for 5.
Jamal Adams: It was another excellent game for Adams with 11 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble on the final drive that almost won the game.
Frankie Luvu: He was in on a couple of plays, including a sack.
Kevin Pierre-Louis: He was part of a superb day for special teams with a blocked punt.
Andre Roberts: He chipped in with a big 59 yard return and a nice 10 yard run on offense.
Leonard Williams: I believe he blocked the extra point attempt after Tennessee’s first touchdown. He had an impact on the final drive with a sack (wiped out by penalty) and a hit. That’s the point where you’d like to see Williams take over the game, and he did.
Isaiah Crowell: He grinded out 98 yards on 21 carries, and I think a lot of that was just him running hard through contact.
How low can this team go? Stay tuned as we continue the adventure next week.