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Jets Q&A: 3-8 record not Bowles' fault, players say

New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81)

New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) pulls in a touchdown pass over New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler (21) during the second half of a game on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Credit: Lee S. Weissman

Should Todd Bowles be a goner after the season?

According to his players, the answer is no.

With the Jets now 3-8 and mired in a three-game losing streak, fans are demanding changes. But the players came to their coach’s defense after losing to the Patriots, 22-17, on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

“No, no coaching change,” cornerback Buster Skrine said. “Todd Bowles is a great coach . . . We need to finish. Coach can’t go out there and play the game. Obviously, he’s coaching us well enough to get us in situations to win. We just have to make plays at the end of the game.”

Late-game collapses have been a recurring theme with the Jets, who benefited from an easier schedule in 2015 and finished 10-6 in Bowles’ first year. But the team has collectively regressed and some of its biggest stars are shells of their former selves. Even so, the players insisted that parting ways with Bowles isn’t the solution.

“Firing people and bringing in somebody else isn’t always the answer,” defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson said. “ . . . It wasn’t coaching calls. We didn’t execute enough. They won, we lost. Period.”

What did Quincy Enunwa say about his play of the game?

Oddly enough, Enunwa had no idea the ball was coming his way.

“I didn’t really know because I wasn’t expecting the ball. If you watch, I kind of looked up late,” he said of his breathtaking play. “Once I saw the replay, I knew for a fact. There was no doubt in my mind that it was a touchdown.”

Four years after the teams produced one of the most infamous in-game gaffes — Mark Sanchez’s “Butt Fumble” — the Jets were the beneficiaries of some posterior positivity, courtesy of Enunwa. Ryan Fitzpatrick rifled the ball toward Enunwa in the back right corner of the end zone, and the big-bodied receiver made a leaping catch and held on to the ball as he fell backward — landing inbounds, right buttock first. The officials ruled it incomplete, but after a review, “The Butt Tumble” TD stood and gave the Jets a 17-13 lead.

“It was a go, the same one I caught in the beginning of the game. Same route,” said Enunwa, who caught all five passes thrown his way for a single-game career-high 109 yards. “[Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler] was playing off of me. Normally that means he is going to go someplace else. I guess there was a double on Brandon [Marshall], so it was just one-on-one with me and him. Obviously, I can’t see that. I was just running and happened to get behind him. I heard the crowd get a little loud, so that’s when I looked up and the ball happened to be there. I just tried to get up and get it.”

Where were all of the Jets fans?

Most likely at home.

At times, MetLife Stadium sounded more like Gillette Stadium as the cheers of Patriots fans filled the air. In the final minutes of the game, a “Bra-dy! Bra-dy!” chant broke out among the New England fans who made the trip to East Rutherford.

Jets players heard every word of it.

“It’s tough to hear that at our stadium, but he’s one of the best of all time,” Skrine said of Brady. “So I give him the respect he deserves to get chanted ‘Brady’ at the end of the game.”

Brandon Marshall acknowledged that Jets fans “are disappointed,” adding: “They want a winner. We want to deliver, but we haven’t. People are paying a lot of money. They don’t want to pay a lot of money to see us not finish games. It just comes with the territory.”

Was there a chance Nick Mangold could have played?

The center was sidelined for the fourth straight game and missed a matchup with the Patriots for the first time in his 11-year career. Mangold did some pregame warmups, but Bowles said he was never close to suiting up.


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