Todd Bowles has a 24-hour rule for all games, good or bad. After 24 hours, it has to be out of your system. But Thursday night’s loss to the Browns will linger longer.
“It’s going to be a bad weekend for us,” defensive end Leonard Williams said.
The Jets have a long time to digest their 21-17 loss in Cleveland, and all they did wrong in letting a two-touchdown lead float away down Lake Erie. The Browns had been winless in their previous 19 games and the Jets had planned to extend that streak.
Coming off a penalty-, mistake- and turnover-filled home loss to the Dolphins last Sunday, the Jets couldn’t wait to play again. They got their wish four days later and played a penalty-, mistake- and turnover-filled game against the Browns.
When their collapse and meltdown ended Thursday night, the Jets had to face the reality that not only did they lose to the Browns but they had to wait 10 days before they play again next Sunday in Jacksonville.
“It’s definitely disappointing, and not just because we lost to the Browns but because we lost the last one and this was the next one,” Williams said. “We were all pretty excited that this was a Thursday game instead of a Sunday game so we get the bad taste out of our mouth as soon as possible.
“We have a long weekend. It’s going to [stink] because I’m going to have to sit with that bad taste in my mouth for a long time now. I’m already ready to wash this game and get it out of the way and move on to the next one.”
No doubt this one is lingering.
Many of the Jets talked afterward about looking in the mirror and deciding what kind of player and team they wanted to be.
It turns out that how Sam Darnold and the Jets responded to the pick-6 on the opening play of the season won’t be their watershed moment. How they respond to this loss could define their season.
“We have a couple of days off to reflect, watch the film and see where we want to move from this,” Jermaine Kearse said. “I believe in every guy on this team. Every guy has the ability to go out there, make plays and do their job. The biggest thing moving forward is knowing who we are.”
Everyone knew playing three games in 11 days would be difficult and take its toll, but all three were against teams that failed to make the playoffs last season. The Jets came out of it 1-2 after a sloppy three-turnover loss.
The schedule will take a turn next Sunday.
The Jets open a six-game stretch in which they will play teams with a combined record of 9-2. Three are on the road (at Jacksonville, Chicago and Miami) and two are against teams that were in the conference championship games last year (the Jaguars and Vikings). And the Jets have two games against the Patriots after that.
“Each week is a new week,” Quincy Enunwa said. “I’m definitely looking forward to playing a playoff team and showing that we’re not the team that we were last week or this week.”
The Jets need to play smarter and more disciplined football or their season will slip away like so many before this one.
It started with such promise after the Jets played a supremely complete game — the offense, defense and special teams all scored — in a convincing 48-17 victory over the Lions in the season opener in Detroit. In the two games since, the Jets have looked like the teams that have missed the playoffs for seven straight years, including all three under Bowles.
The Browns’ loss in particularly reeked of last season when the Jets’ hallmarks were costly penalties and an inability to finish games.
“I’m not perplexed,” Bowles said. “It’s different things that happen at different times.”
Running back Isaiah Crowell and cornerback Trumaine Johnson were whistled for unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties for taunting. That shouldn’t happen, and Johnson’s on third down really hurt the Jets.
Instead of a three-and-out that would have ended at the Browns’ 26, the extended series concluded at the Jets’ 41. The Browns punted and Darnold took over at his own 9. A three-and-out ensued.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” Enunwa said. “Any time you do that, it’s always going to be a loss. We were doing dumb stuff.”