The Jets certainly could have been the team singing the blues in Nashville today. They were the team that came in on the five-game losing streak, while the Titans had played well at home recently and were still in the AFC playoff hunt.
It was a sloppy game, a gritty game. And it was a game the Jets had for, oh, about 59 minutes as they got out to a 16-0 lead. But a late Titans TD drive that began with 1:46 to play and ended with 36 seconds left on Marcus Mariota's 11-yard TD strike to Corey Davis to give the hosts their first lead of the game. Then Josh McCown, trying to rally the Jets for a late, miracle TD, instead threw his only interception of the game to CB Malcolm Butler.
And just like that, the Jets lost, 27-23, dropping to 3-9 on the year with their sixth straight loss, while the Titans rose to 6-6 and kept their postseason hopes alive.
Here are eight chronological takeaways in the Jets' fall-from-ahead loss in the Volunteer State:
1. A Perfect 10
The Jets won the exchange of the opening series as Jason Myers hit another 50-yard field goal, this one from 54 yards out for a 3-0 lead. Then the Green & White defense kept the pressure on drive No. 2 and this time it paid off with seven. Mariota tried to find WR Cameron Batson on the short in-cut. Instead, Trumaine Johnson popped up, snagged the pass and took it to the house, 31 yards for his fourth career interception-return TD, his first as a Jet, and the Jets' third of the year, their most in a season since 2010. And oh, yeah, it was the Jets' first takeaway in six games. Suddenly, the Green & White were up 10-0, their largest lead since the fourth quarter vs. Indianapolis six games earlier and their largest first-quarter lead since 10-0 vs. Tennessee at MetLife way back in 2015.
2. The Beat Goes On
Myers added a 34-yarder field goal, making him 10-of-11 on the road this year, for a Jets 13-0 lead with 11:41 to play in the first half. Then after an exchange of punts, the Titans' Brett Kern was punting again — except this time Kevin Pierre-Louis wasn't letting the ball get off his foot. KPL, who had the near-block at Cleveland in Game 3, got it all this time for the Jets' first official blocked punt since 2013. Although the offense couldn't cash in its starting field position at the Titans 18, Myers nailed FG No. 3 from 43 yards for a 16-0 edge, their largest first-half lead since that same Titans game in '15, when they took a 27-0 lead in at the half.
3. Another Rejection Notice
Mariota and the Titans offense, who didn't have a clue on their first five series, didn't have a care as they moved 68 yards in six plays to Mariota's 12-yard TD pass to TE Anthony Firkser (in Jets training camp in 2017). But the Jets get off their blocks again for a Leonard Williams rejection of Ryan Succop's extra point. It was the Jets' first PAT block since Bryan Thomas vs. Adam Vinatieri at Indy in 2009 and the first time the Jets had two blocks of any kind in a game since 1988 at Cincinnati (Kyle Clifton on a FG, Alex Gordon on an XP).
4. Crow Power
Andre Roberts wasted no time supplying the first big special teams play of the second half when he blazed down the right sideline for a 59-yard return of the opening kickoff to Titans 42. But the Jets' offensive struggles continued as McCown had one pass batted down and his second a hurried incompletion on a safety blitz. Then a Kern line drive punt into the wind gave the visitors the ball back at their 40. On this series, Isaiah Crowell bolted for a 16-yard run right followed by a 27-yard run left to the TEN-17. The offense could go no farther but Myers could and did convert his fourth field goal in four tries, from 39 yards for a 19-6 lead 4:21 into the third quarter.
5. More Myers
The Titans then moved 75 yards to Derrick Henry's do-si-do 1-yard run as the hosts trimmed that once 16-0 lead to 19-13 with a quarter and a half still to play. The Jets offense needed to get moving to avoid a disaster. They at least maneuvered 55 yards, with RB Elijah McGuire converting a third-and-3 with a run, Jordan Leggett a third-and-5 with an 8-yard catch, and Andre Roberts adding an 18-yard end-around. Again the drive stalled at the Titans 21, again Myers came on for a 39 yards and a 22-13 lead. With that kick Myers became the first Jets kicker ever to hit five FGs in a game twice in a season.
6. Red Zone Resolve
The Green & White dodged a bullet when Mariota on second down from midfield, missed WR Taywan Taylor, wide open when the secondary busted him loose, for an easy longball TD. The Titans then punted again. But the Jets punted. And then Mariota hit Taylor past Morris Claiborne for 44 yards to the Jets 9. Bending but not breaking, the defense stopped one Mariota keep, one scramble and one incompletion. Succop's 24-yarder made it a one -score game again, Jets 22-16, with 9:29 to play.
7. Back on the Doorstep
Another punt, another Mariota-to-Taylor bomb — for 55 yards past S Darryl Roberts to the 10 — another Succop field goal and the Jets' lead was down to 22-19. Another 3-and-out by the visitors, their third straight, and Mariota had the ball with 3:53 to play. But the Titans failed again on third down (0-for-10 on the day) and McCown and the Jets had one more chance to try to move with 3:13 to play.
8. Fateful Conclusion
Crowell, with good, hard carries for 8 and 5 yards, got to 98 rush yards. But it wasn't enough to get the Jets past third-and-5 from their 40 as Trenton Cannon got the toss and was tackled short of the sticks — the Jets' fourth straight 3-and-out. So Mariota got it back again, with 1:46 to play and one timeout. It was an ugly drive as two good defensive plays were wiped out by penalties and a Mariota scramble/fumble was recovered by the Titans with 15 yards tacked on due to a Trumaine Johnson facemask at the start of the play. Tennessee then took its first lead of the game at 26-22 with 36 seconds on the clock on the Mariota-to-Davis third-down conversion.