NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Jets were only half as bad as they were a week earlier, but that wasn't nearly good enough.
"Ten penalties,'' coach Rex Ryan said disgustedly after a 38-13 loss to the Titans on Sunday. "Obviously, we've got to do a heck of a lot better job than that.''
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The fact that 10 penalties -- for 66 yards -- represented a huge statistical improvement illustrated the depths of the problem in a victory over the Bills on Sept. 22: a team-record 20 penalties that prompted a week of corrective measures.
The plan included punitive push-ups after penalties in practice that covered every team employee on site, including owner Woody Johnson and general manager John Idzik -- everyone other than the person who committed the penalty.
It made for a cute story line, especially given that the Jets had won despite the plethora of penalties. But there was nothing funny about Sunday's Flag Day sequel at LP Field.
"Apparently I was wrong on the penalties; at least that's going to take longer than I thought,'' Ryan said when he was asked about correcting mistakes. "But it's going to get fixed. Hell or high water, it's going to get fixed.''
Given the magnitude of the Titans' victory, it is difficult to isolate any one Jets penalty and argue that it might have affected the outcome. But there was one particularly deflating moment before the game got out of hand for the visitors.
Trailing 17-3 in the second quarter, the Jets had driven deep into Tennessee territory when Geno Smith completed a third-and-6 pass to Kellen Winslow that would have given them a first down at the Titans' 9-yard line.
Oops. Guard Willie Colon was called for illegal use of hands. Make that third-and-16.
Did Colon think the call was fair?
"I don't think any call on me is fair, so that's the bottom line,'' he said. "It was a b.s. call. It is what it is. I have to eat it and move on from it.''
After the penalty, Smith completed a shorter pass, but that one was erased by an illegal-shift penalty. Make that third-and-21.
The Jets ended up settling for a field goal on the drive and never did score a touchdown until the outcome had been decided.
Even though he did not agree with the call against him, Colon readily agreed that the Jets will not see many more victories unless they stop seeing so much yellow.
"Without a doubt,'' he said, "because what's hurting us is us hurting ourselves. Good teams don't hurt themselves. Right now, that's one of our biggest things: the penalties, the turnovers and not being efficient when we needed to.''
Receiver Ben Obomanu alone was penalized three times.
"You have to focus in on what you're doing,'' cornerback Antonio Cromartie said. "Just focus in on what you're doing, do your job and don't try to do it too fast.
"Rex was harping on us on the penalties. We can't have penalties. You have to take more pride in that, and that starts in practice.''
So will the push-ups, presumably. At this rate, come January, the Jets might not be in the playoffs but they'll certainly be among the fittest teams in the NFL.