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Jets outclassed by Jaguars in third straight loss

Sam Darnold walks off the field after Jets'

Sam Darnold walks off the field after Jets' loss in Jacksonville.  Credit: Getty Images/Scott Halleran

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jets had more than a week to recover from their loss to the Browns and get ready for the Jaguars, but they didn’t look very prepared.

They put forth an awful performance on both sides of the ball and were dominated by Jacksonville, 31-12, on Sunday afternoon at TIAA Bank Field.

“I thought we took a step back today,” Todd Bowles said.

It was the type of performance that reflects poorly on the entire coaching staff.

The Jaguars led 18-0 and 25-3. The Jets’ defense looked slow. Everyone said they knew what Jacksonville would run, but the Jets couldn’t stop the Jaguars’ short routes underneath.

The Jets (1-3) gave up 503 yards of offense, their most since allowing 511 to the Patriots 10 years ago. Blake Bortles completed his first 11 passes and was 29-for-38 for a career-best 388 yards and two touchdowns.

The Jets’ offense sputtered as Sam Darnold at times looked like the rookie he is. Overall, the Jets were overmatched and lost for the third straight game.

“You can’t ever allow 500 yards as a defense,” linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. “That was [horrible] by us and we can’t let that happen again.”

Some of the play-calling was head-scratching. The Jets threw three times on either third- or fourth-and-1 instead of running the ball and didn’t get the first down. Bowles also decided to go for a field goal when the Jets trailed by 22 points early in the fourth quarter and punted on fourth down late in the game.

Darnold finished 17-for-34 for 167 yards and one touchdown. He threw no interceptions against this ball-hawking defense, but the Jaguars (3-1) had one nullified by a defensive penalty and two would-be picks popped right out of their hands. Darnold overthrew a couple of receivers at critical times.

The Jets also had a couple of penalties negate long completions. They totaled 178 yards, only 34 on the ground.

“We had a really good game plan, I thought,” Darnold said. “It was just about executing it.”

The Jaguars, who lost Leonard Fournette in the first half with the hamstring issue that kept him out of the previous two games, had no trouble executing. They scored on their first four possessions and took a 16-0 halftime lead.

“I wish I could sit here and explain it,” Bowles said. “We didn’t look very good, especially on the defensive side of the ball. We never gave the offense a chance in the first half. We gave up way too many yards on way too many things we see every day. It was not very good.

We didn’t give ourselves a chance.”

When the Jets finally got a stop on the first series of the second half, Jacksonville’s punt pinned them at their 2. On the first play, Isaiah Crowell was tackled in the end zone for a safety.

“We had negative plays, just down the line,” receiver Quincy Enunwa said. “Good teams don’t do what we did out there. We just have to be a smarter football team.”

The Jaguars took a 25-3 lead after Bortles and Donte Moncrief connected on a 67-yard touchdown. Trumaine Johnson was burned badly on that play, but he made up for it later.

With the Jets down 25-6, linebacker Avery Williamson knocked the ball out of T.J. Yeldon’s hands. Johnson picked it up and ran 20 yards to the Jaguars’ 5. The Jets turned it into six points as Darnold found Jordan Leggett in the back of the end zone for a 2-yard TD to make it 25-12.

They couldn’t convert the two-point conversion pass, though.

“We had opportunities to get back in the game,” Enunwa said.

“Everybody’s going to count us out,” Jamal Adams said. “That’s fine. Everybody’s been counting us out. There’s still a lot of football to played. We’re not the only team that’s 1-3. Let’s get that straight .  .  .   

We’re hungry. We just got to put it all together. We’re facing adversity right now, but we’re going to bounce back.”

Blake Bortles recorded a career-high yardage total while Sam Darnold’s struggles continued on Sunday. Comparing the two QBs:

COMP./ATT. PCT. AVG. TDs INTs RTG

BORTLES 29/38 76.3 10.2 2 1 114.8

DARNOLD 17/34 50.0 4.9 1 0 74.0

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