The story has been the same for the New York Jets for most of the 2017 season.
The Jets compete hard in the first three quarters against teams they don’t compare to in terms of talent. Then, the fourth quarter comes along and the Jets morph into the team many expected to go winless in 2017.
The Jets once again squandered any hope of making an improbable run at an embarrassing AFC wild card race in a 35-27 loss to the Panthers at MetLife Stadium.
Here’s what went wrong (there was plenty) for the 4-7 Jets, who are lucky to have four wins.
Referees strike again
I don’t care if this is the right call by the rulebook. It’s an embarrassment on a leaguewide level that Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ fourth quarter touchdown catch was overturned by a ludicrous technicality, again. The Jets tight end made an incredible, lunging catch on a fade pass from Josh McCown. The ball didn’t hit the ground and Seferian-Jenkins landed in bounds.
Yet, the esteemed NFL officials ruled ASJ lost control of the ball during the process of the catch. Thus, they overturned the call. The Jets ultimately settled for a short field goal to take a 20-18 lead, but as we all know that lead didn’t hold up. Here’s the official explanation from the league headquarters.
In #CARvsNYJ as Jets player is going to the ground, the ball is clearly sliding down his body and through his hands. He does not have control when he hits out of bounds. -AL
— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) November 26, 2017
You be the judge. Was it a catch or not?
This was called an incomplete pass. #Jets pic.twitter.com/h4RXXyZyh8
— New York Jet Fuel (@NewYorkJetFuel) November 26, 2017
Stupidity reigns supreme
The Jets are the second-most penalized team in the NFL and that foolishness came up large against Carolina. The Jets were flagged 10 times for 84 yards Sunday.
Mike Pennel threw the game away with an abhorrent roughing the passer penalty on Newton after an incompletion on third down, a result that would’ve given the Jets enough time to stage a game-winning drive. Chad Hansen was also flagged for an inexcusable block in the back penalty after a sizable gain from Bilal Powell on a screen pass. The stupid mistakes kept on coming.
John Morton’s strategy to throw three times for the 1-yard line was horrific, regardless of whether ASJ’s touchdown counted. How many times was JoJo Natson going to run backwards and lose five yards on a punt return? Jordan Jenkins extended a Panthers scoring drive by jumping offsides on 4th and 2. Josh McCown can’t just take a sack and instead serves up a scoop and score for Luke Kuechly that ultimately served as the game-winning score.
Some of this is attributed to being a young, inexperienced team. But simply put: The Jets are a stupid team and aren’t talented enough to be so stupid.
Big plays and a big man
The Jets did a nice job against Carolina’s running game, for the most part. Carolina finished with 145 yards on 33 carries, but 69 of those yards came on two carries. Do the math, and the Panthers had 76 yards on 31 carries. However, those big plays proved pivotal in Carolina’s win.
The Jets also didn’t have an answer for big receiver Devin Funchess when Morris Claiborne wasn’t covering him. Funchess torched the Jets for seven receptions for 108 yards while primarily going up against mercurial corners Buster Skrine and Darryl Roberts.
The Jets did a great job roughing up Cam Newton, who was erratic all afternoon. But a couple of gigantic lapses did the defense in and the statistics prove that.