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Jags’ Marrone appears to send message to Jets with late TD

October 1, 2018
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Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone, left, and New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles shake hands after an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone insists he was following the strategy chart, calling for a 2-point conversion after a fourth-down touchdown run in the final seconds of a lopsided game.

Yeah, right.

Marrone’s message to the New York Jets — the team that snubbed him for its head coaching job in January 2015 — was loud and clear Sunday.

“He doesn’t like those guys,” Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson said following the 31-12 victory . “I don’t know what they did to him, but he doesn’t like them.”

Marrone said he had no hidden agenda or extra motivation, which was hard to believe considering he took a subtle shot at Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson in late August.

What Marrone did to the Jets (1-3) seemed somewhat similar.

“I think it’s really disrespectful,” Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams said. “The game’s already over. They already have the game in the bag. All they could have done is run the clock out at that point. At the same time, I think it’s up to us to gain that respect from other teams.

“If teams are disrespecting us, it must say something about us. I took it really personal. And I didn’t like it at all.”

The Jaguars (3-1) led 25-12 with about 30 seconds remaining when Marrone called for the offense to stay on the field for a fourth-and-1 play at the goal line. Jacksonville could have taken a knee or kicked a field goal.

Instead, T.J. Yeldon got the ball and scored .

Up 19 points, Marrone then opted for a 2-point conversion try.

“We had a lot of guys banged up for the PAT/field goal, and on the chart it just said 19, you know what I’m saying?” Marrone said. “On the chart, it says go for two. I’m one of those guys I never try to take anything for granted in an NFL game. Try to keep working those mechanics and doing it, so just went for two.”

Sure you weren’t sending a message, coach?

“We’re not good enough to send a message right now,” Marrone said.

The Jets said all the right things afterward.

“That’s just what they felt they wanted to do,” linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. “Whether it’s a statement or not, we’ll never know. But we won’t forget.”

The Jaguars outgained the Jets 503-178, the second time in quarterback Blake Bortles’ five-year career they topped 500 yards.

The defense finished with three sacks and nearly had three interceptions against rookie Sam Darnold. The unit also allowed a combined 26 yards rushing to New York’s 1-2 punch of Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell.

It was a dominant performance all around.

It wasn’t good enough for Marrone apparently.

“I just work here,” Bortles said when asked if he was surprised to see the Jags go for two.

Some believed Marrone was getting payback for safety Jamal Adams slamming receiver Dede Westbrook to the ground late in the game. Adams was flagged for unnecessary roughness.

“It kind of upset me because, at the end of the day, the whistle blew,” Westbrook said. “That’s not cool. I’ve got a family to feed just as well as you do. And anything that’s done after the whistle, it’s unnecessary. Of course I wasn’t happy with that.”

But others thought it was all about Marrone’s harsh feelings toward the Jets, who interviewed him to replace Rex Ryan and then decided to hire Todd Bowles. Marrone had reportedly left his head coaching job with Buffalo to join the Jets.

Marrone landed in Jacksonville as the team’s offensive coordinator, spent two years in that role and then got the head coaching job to replace Gus Bradley.

Marrone improved to 15-8 with Jacksonville.

Bowles fell to 21-31 with the Jets, who might now have something to carry with them into their next game against Jacksonville.

“It’s football,” Jenkins said. “When you’re up, you can do what you want with the ball.”

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