Sergio Castillo's difficult day of placekicking wasn't the reason for the Jets' 40-3 loss at Seattle. But it was one of the first-half symptoms for why the Jets slowly lost their grip on being able to play a competitive game against the dangerous Seahawks.
Castillo didn't alibi his day, in which he made his first field goal from 45 yards but then missed three in a row in the second quarter, from 37, 41 and 43 yards.
"Mentally, I was cool, I was calm, I was collected. It was just one of those days where I didn't do my job," Castillo said. "Every kick attempt I go out there, I feel confident, ready to go. I'm excited to play this game where we don't get that many opportunities. So like I said, I have to do better."
It was a stand-up comment on his bumpy ride in the Pacific Northwest. His first field goal gave the Jets their only lead of the game. His second try could have cut Seattle's lead to 17-6 but veered wide right. The score was the same with his third try, which hooked wide left.
His fourth try would have cut the Jets' deficit to 23-6 going into the Lumen Field visitors' locker room at halftime. It, too, sailed left.
Thus Castillo became the first Jets kicker to miss three field goal attempts in a game since Nick Folk in overtime at Cleveland in 2010, and he became the only other Jets K to miss three tries in a quarter besides Jim Turner, who missed five of six for the game and all three in the fourth quarter at Buffalo in 1970.
"At the end of the day, I always want to make any contribution I can to the team, whether it's an extra point or a field goal," Castillo said. "The whole first half, I'll take fault. I'll face the cameras after a good game, I'll face the cameras if I have a bad game. It's very frustrating because there's a very small margin of error playing against this team, and I'm trying my best to make the most of it."
Missed opportunities were a Green & White postgame topic. The Jets had only one giveaway on the day, and it was a rarity, Frank Gore's first fumble since 2018 and his first lost fumble since 2016. It came after Corey Ballentine's decent kickoff return to the Jets 30 and set the hosts up for ex-Jets K Jason Myers' 41-yard field goal and the 17-3 lead.
So Ballentine did it again, only more than half a field better, stumbling and rumbling 66 yards with the ensuing kickoff to the Hawks 30 early in the second quarter. That set the stage for Castillo's first miss.
"We didn't take advantage of any opportunity we had," head coach Adam Gase said, adding about any fallout from last week's 31-28 loss to the Raiders, "I thought the guys did a good job of bouncing back. They came to practice, they did a lot right as far as execution goes. Traveling to the West Coast, I thought they went about things the right way.
"We just can't allow ... when good things happen, we have to capitalize. We can't have nothing come out of those drives."
It's hard to say what lies ahead for Castillo, the journeyman kicker who went from Falcons in 2014 to the CFL to the Alliance of American Football to the CFL to the XFL to the CFL to the Jets when Sam Ficken went down with a groin injury. His heartwarming story got better as he missed only one placement in three games before Ficken returned for a game.
The last three games haven't been as inspirational. Gase was asked if he'd be looking for a new kicker for next week's West Coast return to play the Los Angeles Rams.
"That's hard for me to answer right now," the coach said. "When we go through our personnel meetings, I'm sure we'll discuss that."
Castillo's been around several blocks several times. He was eloquent in describing what a game like Seattle can mean for him.
"I've just got to control what I can control," he said. "That's part of being a pro. That's the beauty of life. There's always going to be ups and downs, and there are no diamonds without any pressure. So we've just got to keep working to get better."
See Best Images from the Week 14 in Seattle