A low-impact day for a makeshift receiving corps concluded with a frustrated Robby Anderson hurling a football in the direction of an official after a non-call in the end zone.
The only flag thrown on the play was against Anderson, who was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for the no-no gesture, putting a fitting bow on the Jets’ 37-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
“It was just frustration. I hate losing. Who likes to lose? It wasn’t anything intended to the ref. I apologize for that to the league and to the refs,” Anderson said. “It was just frustration, wanting to make a play and us losing a pretty tough game . . . It was just a reaction. It wasn’t nothing malicious at all.”
There was plenty of frustration to go around throughout the Jets’ receiving corps, which played without leading receiver Quincy Enunwa (sprained ankle) and Terrelle Pryor, who was released Saturday with a groin injury.
Receiver Jermaine Kearse, who caught nine passes for 94 yards in last week’s win over Indianapolis, was targeted only twice and was shut out for the game.
“It can be frustrating. I just try to focus on controlling what I control, and that’s something that I can’t,” Kearse said. “Just be ready for my opportunity when it comes . . . Ultimately, that’s the goal. When you get your opportunities, make the most of them.”
Outside of two rookies — running back Trenton Cannon (69 yards on four receptions) and tight end Chris Herndon (four catches for 42 yards and a touchdown) — the Jets received little production from the passing game until late in the blowout. Sam Darnold actually had negative passing yardage (minus-1) from late in the first quarter until early in the fourth. He finished the game with a career-high three interceptions and a 34.4 quarterback rating.
Jets coach Todd Bowles expressed confidence in his tattered receiving corps, saying, “I thought we had guys capable of doing the job.”
Rookie Deontay Burnett, a teammate of Darnold’s at USC, was promoted from the practice squad to replace Pryor on the roster and had one catch for 9 yards. The Jets could seek to add reinforcements at the position ahead of next week’s game at Chicago.
“When guys go down, you gotta step,” Anderson said. “I’m not the GM, but I think we have a good group. We just had a tough game, a tough loss. We can’t sit here and act like we need to go make all these decisions or answers off one loss. Just last week, everything was just fine.”
Anderson was targeted 10 times Sunday but caught only three passes for 44 yards. In the second quarter, he had a deep ball ripped out of his hands by Minnesota safety Harrison Smith before he could complete the catch. On another throw down the left sideline, the ball was tipped by cornerback Xavier Rhodes and picked off by Smith. Anderson also thought he was interfered with by Rhodes in the third quarter, but no penalty was called.
“Sometimes that’s how it goes,” Anderson said. “I don’t get paid to make calls. I get paid to make plays.”
That didn’t prevent the frustration from boiling over after Anderson couldn’t make a play and didn’t get a call on a pass in the end zone that was broken up by Holton Hill with 1:26 left in the game.
“I didn’t get a chance to [on the field], so I’m doing it now,” Anderson reiterated. “I apologize to the league and the refs.”