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Jets blow lead against Packers, lose in overtime

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers struggled during the first

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers struggled during the first half but torched the Jets in the second half and overtime. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Jets’ last home game of the season — and likely the last at MetLife Stadium for Todd Bowles as their coach — ended like so many under his leadership. A blown lead, lack of discipline and composure, and an inability to finish led to a 44-38 overtime loss to the Packers.

When Aaron Rodgers rifled a 16-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams with 6:23 left in OT, safety Jamal Adams took off his helmet and threw it. The Jets were furious at the result but more upset with the officials than with themselves after letting a 35-20 fourth-quarter lead disappear. They were called for three penalties on the final drive, including a 33-yard pass interference against Trumaine Johnson.

If one thing was surprising about this game, it’s how Bowles reacted — by uncharacteristically blasting the officials.

“I thought we were playing two teams,” said the coach, who knows he’ll be fined. “I thought we were playing the Packers and the striped shirts.”

The lack of discipline and composure that has haunted the Jets in recent years did so again in this game. They were called for 16 penalties for 172 yards, including eight for 101 yards in the fourth quarter and OT. (Some of the calls were questionable, and on many, Bowles said he “saw it differently.”)  Defensive end Leonard Williams also was ejected in the first half for throwing a punch at Bryan Bulaga.

“They pay to go out there and stop offenses,” Jamal Adams said. “We’ve got to go out there and execute.”  The Jets didn’t. The Packers, who had been 0-7 on the road, totaled 540 yards. They won the coin toss in OT and the Jets never got the ball.

The latest meltdown led to the fifth straight home loss for the Jets (4-11), who will close out the season next week at New England.

Rodgers completed 37 of 55 for 442 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for two scores and a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter, when he personally outscored the Jets 14-3.

Jets rookie Sam Darnold had one of his best games — 24-for-35 for a career-high 341 yards, three TDs and no picks. Elijah McGuire had a rushing touchdown and a receiving TD, and Robby Anderson had nine catches for 140 yards and a score.

Leading 35-30, the Jets had a chance to seal the win but stalled after converting a first down on a fake punt with about 4 1⁄2 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Rodgers made the Jets pay after getting the ball at his 17 with 3:12 left. His 23-yard run brought the ball to the 1, and on fourth-and-goal with 1:12 to go, he leaped and stuck the ball over the plane. Neville Hewitt slapped it away, but it was ruled a TD. Bowles didn’t agree.

The Packers then went for two. Darryl Roberts picked off Rodgers and returned it all the way, which would have been worth two points and given the Jets the lead, but he was called for holding. Rodgers ran it in on the second try to make it 38-35.

Andre Roberts, who had a 99-yard kickoff return for a TD, returned the kickoff 51 yards to the 38. Jason Myers’ 33-yard field goal tied it with 17 seconds left.

In OT, on third-and-10 from the Packers’ 40, Johnson was called for interference on a sideline throw that Rodgers, under pressure, just lofted up.

Buster Skrine was called for defensive holding at the 6. After Rodgers’ TD run on first-and-goal was negated by a penalty, he found Davante Adams to end it.

“It’s frustrating not being able to put them away,” Bowles said. “We had our chances to put them away. Taking no credit from them, but we can’t play two teams.”

New York Sports