The script was a little different in the Jets' 24-17 loss to the Dolphins at MetLife Stadium today.
Make no mistake, head coach Robert Saleh wasn't seeing any moral victories in a game in which the Jets took a 14-all tie into the final 15 minutes.
"I tell you all the time, whether you lose by one or 50, it doesn't fricking matter," Saleh told reporters.
But the difference was that the Jets didn't get crushed as they had been at New England, at Indianapolis or against Buffalo. This time they shot themselves in the foot. Several times.
"Ninety percent of the games in this league are lost, not won, and this one was lost," the coach said.
The costly mistakes seemed to come in pairs.
■ In the third quarter, the home team used two timeouts in a 22-second span of the same offensive drive that they then didn't have down the stretch.
"They were really just some personnel issues," QB Joe Flacco said. "We were calling some stuff and didn't have the right guys to do it on the field. All of a sudden the clock gets away from us."
Said Saleh: "That was coaching. We have to get that fixed."
■ Two fourth-quarter defensive penalties were brutal. On third-and-4 from the Jets 5, Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa threw an incompletion but was pushed after the throw by DL John Franklin-Myers. First-and-goal from the 2 leading to the Dolphins' TD for a 21-14 lead. Next drive: third-and-3 at the Jets 31, Tagovailoa sacked for the first time in the game ... except he wasn't sacked because rookie CB Jason Pinnock was flagged for defensive holding. First down at the 26 moving toward Jason Sanders' FG to make it 24-14.
"The Pinnock one, he was being aggressive with a big tight end. I'll never fault being aggressive," Saleh said. "JFM, that was unacceptable."
■ K Matt Ammendola missed two long field goals. His 55-yarder in the second quarter, which would've given the Jets a 10-7 lead, bounced off the outside of the left upright, and his 40-yarder in the third frame, which would've cut their deficit to 14-10, missed further left. The misses led Saleh to send Ammendola out for a 56-yarder earlier in the third, then said "I changed my mind" about the long kick, take the delay and punt.
Saleh did have some silver linings to comment on. Offensively he praised his rookies, WR Elijah Moore, RB Michael Carter, LG Alijah Vera-Tucker, and the rest of his young group that he and the Jets are counting on in the coming weeks and years. The defense, he assessed, "still could've been better, but I felt they played their butts off."
But he came back to the one point that stood out like a sore thumb today, and that was not being able to stay in the game for 60 minutes against a team having its own problems, one they needed to beat at home to take a big step forward, and as Saleh said, "This one we lost."
"They're getting there. They're learning," the coach said about his players. "You've got to learn how not to lose first, then you've got to learn how to win, then you've got to learn how to close games. Today was clearly one of those learning moments of how not to lose."