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Adam Gase, Sam Darnold each take blame for T.J. Watt's strip-sack

T.J. Watt of the Steelers sacks Sam Darnold

T.J. Watt of the Steelers sacks Sam Darnold and knocks the ball loose in the second quarter during the Jets' 16-10 victory on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, at MetLife Stadium. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Adam Gase said it was his fault. Sam Darnold said he messed up.

That difference of opinion was over the T.J. Watt strip-sack of Darnold that led to the Steelers’ only touchdown in the Jets’ 16-10 victory on Sunday.

That was the Jets’ only turnover, and Gase believes he put Darnold in a bad position because of the play he called.

“That whole play, going back and looking at it, I hate the call that I had, I hate the personnel grouping that I had. I put us in a bad spot,” Gase said. “He was waiting on a route, which was 100 percent on me.

“I wish I would have stayed with a different personnel grouping, which would have helped him in that situation to get the ball out quicker. It was a bad call by me that forced him to hold on to the ball.”

Darnold said the call was right but that he executed it poorly.

“It was a perfect play call,” he said. “There was a guy open. I just got to throw it to him, get the ball out of my hands, not hold it so long back there.”

Gase was extremely happy with the way Darnold played. He was 16-for-26 for 183 yards, managed the game well, didn’t throw an interception against a ball-hawking defense and was sacked only twice.

“He played that game exactly the way that we talked about it on Wednesday,” Gase said. “Sam did a great job of understanding, especially at the end of the game when there was about eight minutes left of huddling, using the clock, finding a way to get first downs, just making sure all those little details were right.”

Guard down

Another Jets guard is banged up.

Left guard Alex Lewis suffered an ankle injury Sunday but finished the game.

“He really gritted it out,” Gase said.

Lewis’ status for Sunday’s finale in Buffalo is unclear at this point. Conor McDermott started at right guard Sunday for Tom Compton, who was out with a calf injury.

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