This was the man’s 39th loss in 63 games, and it will be his last loss at home. So he can blame the officiating all he wants for the kind of choke that epitomizes the Todd Bowles Era.
“I thought we were playing two teams. I thought we were playing the Packers and the striped shirts,” Bowles said.
Throw the flag on the coach after Packers 44, Jets 38 in overtime.
Yes, the Jets were playing the great Aaron Rodgers, and yes, the men in the striped shirts occasionally might have reminded you of Moe, Larry and Curly calling 16 penalties against your team for 172 yards, but you cannot cry foul when your team displays absolutely no killer instinct and surrenders a 35-20 lead at home, even if an army of cheeseheads was chanting “Go Pack Go” in crunch time.
In truth, more than anything, they were playing the Jets, and all they did was beat themselves.
And so we get the loser’s lament of a coach who has not taught his undisciplined team how to finish or how to win after four years of trying.
It was 35-20 to start the fourth quarter and Sam Darnold, already with three touchdown passes, had the ball, staring down the great Rodgers. And here came … wait for it … Same Old Jets.
“It’s our fault — it’s the players’ fault,” Darnold said. “We just gotta go out there and finish. We had a chance there to finish the game, and we didn’t.”
He was referring to the sequence after Rontez Miles had executed a successful fake punt on fourth-and-1 at the Jets’ 31. Rodgers — aided by two pass-interference penalties against the Jets — had brought the Packers to within 35-30 when he barely extended the ball over the goal line from the 1 before Neville Hewitt punched it out of his hands.
And the fake punt gave the Jets a chance to seal things. But on third-and-19 from his 41, Darnold panicked, throwing the ball into the ground on a screen for Chris Herndon, when taking a sack would have kept the clock running after the Packers has burned their final timeout with 3:24 remaining.
Rodgers got the ball and toyed with the Jets defense — Leonard Williams had been ejected in the first half for punching Bryan Bulaga. The quarterback’s 1-yard TD run and two-point conversion — after a pass interference in the end zone on Darryl Roberts — gave the Packers a 38-35 lead.
Todd Bowles erupts at refs after Jets' choke job to Packers
Todd Bowles didn’t go quietly in what is likely his…
Darnold had 1:05 and one timeout to drive the final 38 yards to glory following Andre Roberts’ 51-yard punt return.
He found Herndon for 9 yards, then Herndon for 14 more. He should have clocked the ball, but the Jets called their final timeout instead with 36 seconds left.
Fifteen yards from snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, Darnold threw the ball away on first down, then missed Deontay Burnett in the right corner of the end zone on second down.
“I had my chance late in the fourth quarter, and I just missed Tay by a little bit,” Darnold said.
Packers win toss.
The call that seemed to drive Bowles mad was a 33-yard pass interference call on Trumaine Johnson against Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
“It was one of those games. I haven’t seen one like that in my 18, 19 years in the league,” Bowles said.
Apparently neither had Johnson, the $72 million free-agent cornerback, who rushed out in silence instead of putting his mouth where his money is.
Rodgers’ 16-yard TD strike to Davante Adams against Mo Claiborne ended it.
“I understand [the referees’] job is tough, you have to see all that stuff, catch all that stuff fast and react to it, I understand that,” Claiborne said, “but you gotta get it right.”
Miles was asked if he believed that perhaps the great Rodgers gets the iffy calls.
“I plead the Fifth,” he said, and managed a smile.
Bowles will wish he had pleaded the Fifth when he receives his league fine.
“It’s an offensive league, fantasy football, all that,” Claiborne said.
Well then the Jets need better fantasy players, on both sides of the ball, and a better coach.
And no excuses.
“We had an opportunity early in the fourth to close the game out, we had our opportunity 35-20 to have a long drive and make it a game that was somewhat out of reach in the fourth quarter and we didn’t do so,” Kelvin Beachum said.
That’s the sad truth, and so is this: There is no crying in football.