A day after their devastating loss to the Titans, the Jets were still boiling over. Despite racing out to a 16-0 lead against the Titans and scoring a defensive touchdown and blocking a punt, the Jets left Nashville with a 26-22 defeat and their sixth consecutive loss.
“It’s one of those games you’ll remember for the rest of your life as a player or a coach. You’ll never forget about it. It can propel you to be better at your job or it can make you go in a shell,” head coach Todd Bowles told reporters today on a conference call. “I don’t think we have those kinds of guys, but of course everybody is frustrated and pi--ed off.”
Unable to find a way to close the game out, the Green & White were left scratching their heads at what had transpired. Entering the fourth quarter with a nine-point advantage, the Jets had their hearts broken when Marcus Mariota hit receiver Corey Davis for the game-winner with 36 seconds remaining. A defense that had turned the Titans away on ten consecutive third downs surrendered the decisive score on a third-and-7 play.
“This is one of those games that will stick with you because you know how hard you play, how hard you prepared. You understand how much work that goes in for both teams and to come out with a loss after being dominant for I’d say 58 minutes of the game and then turn around and lose the game — it’s most definitely going to stick with me for the rest of my life,” said veteran defensive tackle Steve McLendon. “But it’s also a learning experience for me that I will be able to carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Down the stretch, the Titans finished their final drive inside the red area with the touchdown and they were 3-of-5 overall. Conversely, the Jets offense, which got the ground game going with 156 yards, didn’t convert on their three trips inside the 20-yard line.
“You can say we can call better plays, you can say we can play better as players. It’s all of the above and it’s all-inclusive and it’s frustrating,” Bowles said a group that was held without a touchdown. “It’s not from a lack of trying – everybody is trying. It just hasn’t happened and it’s extremely frustrating that we can’t get touchdowns instead of field goals.”
“Obviously disappointment,” added veteran quarterback Josh McCown, who finished 17-of-30 for just 128 yards with an interception. “I think Coach Bowles is doing a good job of helping us frame and understand exactly what happened and what we have to do moving forward, but obviously it was a disappointing loss. Anytime you leave a game, you look at the things you can do better and go about trying to fix those things.”
At 3-9, the Jets will begin the final quarter of their schedule Sunday in Buffalo. With adversity swirling around them, the Green & White insist they have plenty to play for.
“Pride and playing for one another,” said left tackle Kelvin Beachum. “At this point, are you having the chance to look one another in the face, look at yourself in the mirror and just see how much you love the game of football, how much you care about the game of football, how much you love one another.”
The Jets were charged with 11 penalties Sunday and 96 yards were marked off for those infractions. The defense had three penalties on the Titans’ final possession and many players in the postgame locker room felt they had given the game away. Those awful feelings do not appear to be going away any time soon.
“Guys are really sick. It’s one of those games — like Coach Bowles said — that are going to stick to you like glue for the rest of your career,” McLendon said. “Not just your career, but the rest of your life.”
Rookie defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd, a third-round pick from Fort Hays State, had just 12 snaps in Week 13. The Jets leaned heavier on veterans Henry Anderson (51 snaps) and Mike Pennel (27 snaps) in their rotation against the Titans. “Goose and Mike have been playing better. Obviously they have a little more experience, but I think Shep’s going to be a good player,” Bowles said. “He has some things to learn, so we just lightened his load a little bit.”… Spencer Long came down with an illness in the locker room before the game and was replaced the lineup by Dakota Dozier at LG.