It should have produced more points, but there were four three-and-outs, three questionable pass plays called on first-and-goal from the 1, and a critical fumble by Josh McCown that turned the game around. Austin Seferian-Jenkins dropped a touchdown pass in the end zone and had another one overturned by replay. The Jets did stick to the running game, with 26 attempts for 109 yards, and Robby Anderson had six catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns. And while McCown did throw for 307 yards and three TDs, he missed too many receivers and connected on only 19 of 36 passes.
Maybe Cam Newton’s right thumb was bothering him, but the Jets deserve credit anyway. They harassed him most of the game, with eight hits and three sacks. The return of cornerback Morris Claiborne (sore foot) helped, and Buster Skrine had one of his better games of the season with two pass breakups. But costly penalties, an offside on Jordan Jenkins on a fourth down and a roughing-the-passer call on Mike Pennel kept alive drives that produced points.
Special teams: F
JoJo Natson returned two punts for negative yards and had a a 1.8 average on four. It won’t be a surprise if Natson is replaced by Lucky Whitehead, who’s on the practice squad. The Jets allowed a game-clinching 60-yard punt return by Kaelin Clay, who slipped past two tackles and put Carolina up 32-20 with 9:54 left in the game.
Jets can’t finish games, and they blew a fourth-quarter lead for the third time this season. Is that on the players? Coaches? The defensive game plan was strong, keeping Newton in the pocket and blitzing to make him hurry throws. Offensively, there were too many questions.