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Patriots thump Jets in Todd Bowles' final game as head coach

Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets

Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets loses the football as he is tackled by Deatrich Wise Jr. #91 of the New England Patriots during the third quarter of a game at Gillette Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  Photo Credit: Getty Images/Maddie Meyer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Todd Bowles’ four-year run as Jets coach is over.

Bowles was fired Sunday night after the Jets’ season ended with a 38-3 loss to the Patriots.

The Jets were a disappointing 4-12 this season and 24-40 overall under Bowles.

They missed the playoffs each season Bowles was the coach and had a winning record only once. The Jets went 10-6 in 2015, his first season, but with a playoff berth on the line in the final game of the season, they lost to former Jets coach Rex Ryan’s Buffalo Bills.

In the last three seasons, the Jets went 14-34. Bowles was the first coach in Jets history to lose at least 11 games for three consecutive years. A six-game losing streak, which included a 31-point home loss to Buffalo, sealed his fate.

The Patriots, who won the AFC East title for the 10th consecutive year, clinched a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs with the win.

The Jets didn’t put up much of a fight in their season finale. The end for the Jets, and Bowles, was demoralizing.

“It’s embarrassing,” said Sam Darnold, who faced the Patriots for the first time.

After the game and before the announcement that he had been fired, Bowles said, “I don’t talk about my job. That’s been consistent since I’ve been here. I don’t talk about my job.”

When asked about his emotions, Bowles said, “The same as the record — 4 and 12, not very good.”

Bowles’ players had plenty to say about him, though.

Safety Jamal Adams continued to show support for Bowles and said the Jets need more talent to win games. He put the onus on general manager Mike Maccagnan to get the “big-time players” who can turn around the Jets.

Adams collected his thoughts and started to get emotional when talking about Bowles.

“Well, damn,” he said. “Todd Bowles is my favorite coach since I’ve played this game. I hate to see him go down like that . . . You live and learn, man. This world is crazy.  At the end of the day, I know T-Bowles is going to do phenomenal wherever he ends up. I always believe in karma, I always do.”

To his credit — and detriment — Bowles didn’t change his demeanor or approach as the season drew to a close.

On Sunday, he deactivated cornerback Trumaine Johnson, whom the Jets signed to a five-year, $72.5-million deal last offseason. He called it a “coach’s decision.”

Johnson admitted he showed up late for practice. Defensive back Daryl Roberts also didn’t play because he reportedly was late for meetings.

The Patriots took advantage of the depleted secondary as Tom Brady was 24-for-33 for 250 yards and four touchdowns. They led 21-3 at halftime.

Darnold showed great improvement of late, but he didn’t have a strong game against Bill Belichick’s defense.  The rookie went 16-for-28 for 167 yards and committed a fumble that Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy returned for a 46-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Darnold finished his first NFL season with 17 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions.

Darnold didn’t have regular targets Quincy Enunwa and Jermaine Kearse, and the Patriots neutralized Robby Anderson, whose touchdown streak ended at three games. The Jets got in the red zone twice but didn’t score either time.  Darnold gives the Jets some hope for the future, but it was another season in which they produced many head-scratching performances and losses. Their inability to finish games or play disciplined football were continuous themes.  In the last five weeks, the Jets lost three games that they led with less than three minutes remaining.

Among the candidates to replace Bowles include former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, Rams quarterback coach Zac Taylor, Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Saints tight ends coach Dan Campbell.

College coaches Jim Harbaugh of Michigan and Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma also have been linked to the Jets, but both have said they plan to stay in college.

All the rumblings about Bowles’ job have been ongoing since the loss to the Bills. But he said it hasn’t been difficult and that he must improve.

“I think I got better as a coach each year I have been here,” Bowles said, “and I will continue to do so.”

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