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Jets’ skid reaches 6 straight after blowing 16-point lead

December 3, 2018
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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) is hit by Tennessee Titans defenders Brian Orakpo (98) and Jayon Brown (55) in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The New York Jets keep finding new ways to lose games, and the latest left coach Todd Bowles furious they wasted a 16-point lead for their sixth straight loss.

So much went right Sunday as Jason Myers kicked five field goals, Trumaine Johnson returned only his second interception this season 31 yards for a touchdown and the Jets blocked both a punt and an extra punt. Yet they wound up losing 26-22 to the Tennessee Titans when they couldn’t finish off a win.

“If I knew the answer to that, honestly, we’d be finishing right now,” said Bowles, whose tenuous job security frays with each loss. “We’re doing the same thing we’ve been doing. At some point, we’ve got to make a play to win a ballgame. We had four penalties in that last drive alone that kept the drive alive. That shouldn’t have happened.”

The Jets (3-9) had plenty of chances to put away the Titans (6-6) early only to settle for field goals on three trips inside the Tennessee 20. That included one drive that started at the Titans 18 after Kevin Pierre-Louis blocked and recovered a punt in the second quarter.

Bowles said he wished he could answer the question on why the Jets are so ineffective in the red zone.

“We haven’t scored in quite some time consistently, and we get stuck every time we get there. Thank goodness for Myers, and that’s not enough to win ballgames. We’ve got to be able to score touchdowns and stop people, and we have not done that, especially today.”

Even when Andre Roberts returned a kickoff 61 yards to open the second half, the Jets went three-and-out after starting a drive at the Titans 42.

“We had plenty of chances to put the game away and put our foot on their throats, and we didn’t do it,” Bowles said.

The Jets went three-and-out five times with rookie quarterback Sam Darnold watching his third straight from the sideline with an injured foot. Veteran Josh McCown started, yet he was just 17 of 30 for 128 yards. His lone interception came with 21 seconds left on the Jets’ last chance to end this skid.

New York wound up winning time of possession, holding the ball for more than 33 minutes. The Titans had the edge in total offense 403-280.

McCown said the Jets will look at what they can do better in the red zone moving forward.

“We just weren’t good enough when we got down there, and guys got to look at what we can do to be better and do our best to get it fixed,” McCown said.

Asked if the issues revolve around playcalling or execution, McCown said he only knows execution as a player. Settling for field goals didn’t help.

“When you get the ball in advantageous positions, you’ve got to go score and get seven (points),” McCown said. “You can’t stack threes up all day. It’s going to come back and get you, and it got us.”

Bowles said Darnold could have played Sunday, but needed more work after missing the previous two games. Bowles wouldn’t say yet if Darnold will play when the Jets visit Buffalo next Sunday.

The Jets also hurt themselves with too many penalties, finishing with 11 for 96. A facemask penalty on Johnson added 15 yards to a 25-yard scramble by Marcus Mariota on the Titans’ winning drive.

Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa said a lack of discipline is what cost the Jets.

“What can a coach do? A hold or anything like that, they can’t control that,” he said. “That’s on us. We have to play smarter. It has kind of been a thing all year. It is pretty frustrating.”

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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