Late pick thwarts Jaguars’ comeback attempt in loss to Jets
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Gus Bradley preaches "consistent never-ending improvement" to his young Jacksonville Jaguars.
The third-year coach saw glimpses of that, even though the New York Jets pulled out a messy 28-23 win over his team Sunday.
But in the end, the Jaguars were done in again by critical errors in their 13th straight road loss, the longest active streak in the NFL.
"We just didn’t finish it," Bradley said. "You look back on it, a lot of these were self-inflicted, the turnovers and the penalties at inopportune times. We did it to ourselves."
Blake Bortles was 24 of 40 for 381 yards and two touchdowns, including a 20-yard pass to Bryan Walters with 2:16 left for Jacksonville (2-6), which was coming off a bye-week break. But Marcus Williams came up with his second interception of the game on Jacksonville’s next possession.
"I think we put up a ton of yards, did a lot of good stuff," Bortles said. "It’s the plays you missed out on that you think about at night."
Chris Ivory’s 1-yard touchdown run with 2:02 left in the third quarter gave the Jets a 21-13 lead after Jacksonville had cut New York’s advantage to one point.
The Jaguars were driving in the fourth quarter after a 27-yard catch by Marcedes Lewis and a 45-yard run by T.J. Yeldon brought the ball to the Jets 10. But after a holding call on Jacksonville, Calvin Pace had a strip-sack of Bortles and recovered the fumble.
"I’ve got to get rid of the ball or take off and run or do something," Bortles said of the turnover. "It’s the kind of play that lingers."
The Jets (5-3) couldn’t do anything on the ensuing possession and were forced to punt — but Jacksonville’s Nick Marshall fumbled it and Kellen Davis recovered, giving New York the ball at the 25.
"I took my eyes off the ball," Marshall said. "It’s a simple thing. Fundamentals, you’ve got to be fully signed on, and I wasn’t on that play."
Three plays later, Brandon Marshall made a diving grab in the back of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown that made it 28-16 with 2:41 left.
"I’d like to be up telling you we can learn lessons from wins," Bradley said. "We’ve got to learn these lessons from losses as well."
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes while playing with a torn ligament in his left thumb and Ivory ran for two scores as New York ended a two-game skid in a ragged performance by both sides.
"We won," Jets coach Todd Bowles said. "That’s the biggest thing. Obviously, there were some sloppy things that we’ve got to clean up."
The banged-up Jets have a quick turnaround to prepare for former coach Rex Ryan’s Buffalo Bills at home on Thursday night.
Fitzpatrick appeared to have no issues with his thumb, which was injured last week at Oakland. He finished 21 of 34 for 272 yards, including touchdowns to Marshall and Eric Decker.
But the Jets are dealing with some new key injuries. Kicker Nick Folk was lost to a strained right quadriceps during pregame warmups and was replaced on kickoffs and field goals by punter Ryan Quigley, who made all four of his extra-point attempts. Folk will have an MRI on Monday.
Not having Folk might have come into play on a fourth-and-3 for the Jets from the Jaguars 25 in the first quarter, when New York went for it rather than try for a field goal. Decker caught a 15-yard pass, setting up the first of Ivory’s two TD runs — with this one putting the Jets up 14-3 with 43 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Center Nick Mangold left with a neck injury, cornerback Antonio Cromartie had a thigh injury and safety Dion Bailey has an ankle injury.
With time winding down before halftime, New York curiously ran on three straight plays and then got just a 31-yard punt from Quigley that put the ball at the 50 for the Jaguars with 26 seconds left.
Bortles hit Allen Hurns for 20 yards and then found him again streaking away from Cromartie for a 30-yard touchdown that made it 14-10 with 14 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
With the play, Hurns increased his franchise record to six straight games with a TD reception.
Jason Myers made it a one-point game at 14-13 late in the third quarter with a 39-yard field goal.
NOTES: The Jaguars’ previous road win came on Dec. 1, 2013, at Cleveland — the longest active skid in the NFL. … Hurns had five catches for 122 yards and Allen Robinson caught six passes for 121 yards. … Jaguars DT Michael Bennett left with a strained hamstring.