The Jets went on a wild ride on Sunday -- they were up, down, up and ultimately down.
The Jets scored 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter against the visiting Las Vegas Raiders. It still wasn't enough because Las Vegas scored last, in the game's waning seconds, sending the Jets to the crushing, 31-28, loss.
Derek Carr's late pass to Henry Ruggs gave the Raiders (7-5) the victory, ending a two-game losing streak and sending the Jets to their 12th straight loss, which ties a franchise record that spanned the 1995 and '96 seasons.
"When you're in this league long enough you see games like this and you don't want to be a part of them, I know that," Head Coach Adam Gase said.
Darnold started the game strong, as the Jets scored points on their opening drive for the sixth straight game. The QB threw a pair of TD passes to Jamison Crowder. Darnold then stumbled -- throwing an interception and suffering two strip-sack fumbles. But he showed resilience, finishing the game 14 of 23 for 186 yards and a 97.4 quarterback rating.
"The turnovers hurt us, I have to take better care of the ball when I feel pressure and get away from it and get the ball out of my hands," Darnold said.
Still, the pain and the disappointment were obvious on Darnold's face after the game.
"We're just upset," Darnold said. "Some guys are at a loss how to feel. There are a lot of emotions going around the locker room. We will let this one sting today and tonight, look at the tape tomorrow and move on to the next game [next week at Seattle].
"We should have won. We've had a few games this year where we haven't had a chance. But to have a game like this, to have it won at the end ... these definitely hurt more than any."
Darnold brought the Jets back from a precarious place, trailing 24-13 midway through the third quarter. Darnold drove the team 96 yards in 9 plays taking 5 minutes off the clock. The drive ended with Darnold crashing over from 4 yards out. The two-point conversion (on the second attempt after a Raiders penalty), a strike to Denzel Mims, got the Jets within 3 points, 24-21.
A turnover on the next possession -- Ruggs' fumble was recovered by Marcus Maye -- gave the Jets another quick opportunity. Six plays later Ty Johnson blasted in from 1-yard out and the Jets had the lead, 28-24
"He did some good stuff," Gase said of Darnold's 2 TD performance. The scores were Darnold's first TD passes since Week 3. "We can clean some things up. Those two sack fumbles were tough, the pick. But we had a good drive to get in the end zone late when we were down. We've just got to finish the game."
The wild drive left Darnold searching for the words to describe his feelings and the feelings of his teammates.
"For a lot of guys it's hard to fathom losing a game like that," Darnold said. "We have no choice. We have to move on and continue to get better. I feel that this group is getting better as the season goes on."
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