OAKLAND, Calif. — Todd Bowles and his team owned it. How could they not?
The Jets are coming up small on the little things that win games in the NFL.
Once again, it was the little things, whether it’s techniques, fundamentals or just staying calm, as the Jets showed they’re not good enough to win. A 45-20 loss to the Raiders on Sunday made them 0-2 for the first time since 2007.
“You just have to do stuff right,” receiver Jermaine Kearse said. “And you know it starts in practice. We have to start there. I understand there’s going to be mistakes and you can’t play a perfect game. But we just have to do stuff right.”
The Jets’ defense struggled again, giving up 410 yards. It has allowed 818 yards this season, 370 on the ground. The Raiders’ Michael Crabtree caught three touchdown passes from Derek Carr, who completed 23 of 28 for 230 yards, and Oakland (2-0) ran for 180.
Josh McCown connected with Kearse for the Jets’ two touchdowns.
After the 13-point underdogs cut a 14-0 deficit to 14-10 late in the first half, the Jets’ youthfulness was apparent. Oakland went three-and-out, but the Jets’ Kalif Raymond muffed a punt with 1:50 left. Oakland’s Johnny Holton recovered the ball at the 4, and very quickly, the momentum the Jets had gained was gone.
“I just took it for granted, man,” said Raymond, who muffed two punts last week against the Bills but recovered them. “I think that was one of the easier punts of the game. I just have to make sure I stay focused out there.”
The turnover led to a score, of course. Marshawn Lynch ran 2 yards for his first touchdown since his one-year retirement, giving Oakland a 21-10 lead with 21 seconds left in the half. So the Jets went into halftime trying to figure out what happened to a game they thought they were in.
“I felt like that was a big boost for them,” cornerback Morris Claiborne said. “As a defense, you try to shake that off. Even when you get short fields and stuff like that, it’s your job to go out there no matter the circumstance and try to get a stop. I feel like that muffed punt really shook the momentum. It’s crazy, the stadium got crazy after that, and we weren’t able to stop them and limit them to three when that happened.”
The Jets opened the second half with a strong drive, and a 40-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro made it 21-13 with 7:14 left. Then cornerbacks Juston Burris and Buster Skrine made two poor plays.
On the ensuing possession, the Raiders faced a second-and-10 from their 32. Carr completed a short pass to DeAndre Washington and Skrine was penalized for unnecessary roughness for a helmet-to-helmet hit, moving the ball to the Raiders’ 48.
Three plays later, speedy receiver Cordarrelle Patterson took an inside pitch and went 43 yards for a touchdown and a 28-13 lead. Patterson almost was stopped, but Burris, a second-year corner, took a bad angle trying to make the tackle.
“Oh, we missed tackles,” Bowles said. “It should have been a 4-yard gain, but we missed a tackle and it went for six.”
The Jets gave up five plays of at least 25 yards, including Jalen Richard’s 52-yard touchdown run. Carr was hardly touched as the Jets failed to record a sack or a hurry. It’s one thing to get rid of the ball quickly, which Carr does, but it’s another to fail to move him around the pocket.
“There were five plays where we caused ourselves to lose the game. That’s two weeks straight,” defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson said. “Critical plays where we’re having miscommunication, or whatever the case may be. It’s on our hands, it’s our fault, and we got to do better than that and we have to execute better.”
And to make matters worse, there was Lynch dancing by himself in the middle of the sideline early in the fourth quarter, which irked several Jets.
“He’s home, and if the scoreboard looked like that on our end, I’d be dancing, too,” Claiborne said. “It is what it is.”