After focusing on finishing throughout the week, the Jets yet again put themselves in position to win in the second half. But victory proved elusive for the Green & White as they fell to 3-5 at the season's midway point with a 25-20 loss to the Falcons on a rain-soaked Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.
"Yes, it's alarming because we're losing games and we're giving up leads," TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins said. "And it's very, very frustrating because we know what we're supposed to do and for whatever reason we're not doing what we're capable of doing right now."
In dropping their third consecutive contest, the Jets were stymied in a second half. After leading 17-13 at intermission, they had a golden opportunity to increase their gap early in the third. Starting a drive at the plus-47, the home club ended up going backward following a sack of Josh McCown and a penalty.
"That drive would have been the one —* to me — *where we really could have put some distance between ourselves and we didn't do that," McCown said.
Late in the quarter, the Jets began their best-looking possession of the second half. McCown picked up 32 yards through the air on a pass up the visiting sideline to Robby Anderson. Later he got the Jets to the Atlanta 24, converting a third-and-4 with an 11-yard short toss to veteran Matt Forte. But he was sacked on third down to beging the fourth quarter and K Chandler Catanzaro sailed a field goal attempt wide right.
The Falcons needed only four plays to grab the lead on their ensuing possession. Quarterback Matt Ryan backed up a 52-yard Tevin Coleman run with a third-down scoring toss to veteran wideout Mohamed Sanu and the Jets would never have the lead again.
"We just have to finish," said CB Juston Burris. "Fourth quarter, we have to bow up and make plays."
McCown's 24-yard pass to Anderson got the Jets back into plus-territory, but another sack set the offense back and the Jets would have to settle for Catanzaro's 46-yard kick to make it a 22-20 contest.
"The margin of error is small because we're not that far off," said WR Jermaine Kearse. "There are a few mistakes here and a few mistakes there, but what I mean that the margin of error is still huge is because it's that hard to close that off. It takes a lot to do things right longer than the opponent though it might not be far off, but it's a tough thing to do consistently."
Jeremy Kerley's muffed punt led to another Falcons' field goal, making it 25-20, and the Jets would never threaten to score again.
"Too many mistakes in the fourth quarter," said head coach Todd Bowles. "Can't happen, can't put the ball on the ground. Can't have timely mistakes. Everybody has to play their brand of ball. Hard enough —not good enough."*
*For the sixth consecutive week, the Jets headed into intermission not behind on the scoreboard. Their four-point advantage over the Falcons was the fourth time in six contests the Jets started the third stanza with a lead. And after blowing a 14-point advantage in the fourth quarter last week against the Dolphins, the Green & White were determined to flip the script by closing out a contest. But the slide reached three in this slippery Week 8 contest.
"It's a process and we just have to continue to keep fighting and competing," Kearse said.
The Jets don't have any choice but to put this one behind them quickly. They'll be back at it Thursday night here at MetLife Stadium against an opponent in Buffalo who is off to a surprising 5-2 start.
"Frustrated, not discouraged. It's what we do," said Bowles. "It's our job for a living. We just have to stop taking body blows and start delivering them."
Top Gameday Photos from the Week 8 Matchup in MetLife Stadium