Jets fall to Seahawks

Like many of his New York Jets teammates, Darrelle Revis recognized the importance of Sunday’s game
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell is tripped up by Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday.
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell is tripped up by Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday.

Like many of his New York Jets teammates, Darrelle Revis recognized the importance of Sunday’s game against Seattle, both within the context of expunging the stench from a ghastly loss last week and mitigating the impact of the team’s treacherous schedule.

Except that Revis did not characterize the game as merely important. He called it a “must-win for us,” and there is danger inherent in using such strong language. Because on Sunday, the Jets lost that must-win game 27-17 at MetLife Stadium, hearing chants of “SEA-HAWKS!” throughout the fourth quarter, and now they must deal with the aftermath.

In the short term, that means dissecting the coverage breakdowns that led to two Seattle touchdowns, the game-turning interception thrown by Ryan Fitzpatrick and the overall inconsistency that threatens to wreck the Jets’ season.

In the long term, though, that means preserving harmony within a locker room that endured what coach Todd Bowles called “a come-to-Jesus meeting” after the eight-turnover debacle at Kansas City. Regardless of their difficult schedule, which next sends the Jets to Pittsburgh and then to Arizona after that, the team expected better than a 1-3 record at this stage.

They failed to seize on the opportunity provided by the NFL, whose suspension of Tom Brady gave the Jets — as well as the rest of the AFC East — four games to stick close to New England, and they could not do it. When Brady rejoins the Patriots, he will take over a 3-1 team.

A week after the worst game of his career and one of the worst quarterbacking performances in recent NFL history, Fitzpatrick managed not to throw six interceptions, or even five, or four. But he did throw three, all in the fourth quarter, including one that dashed the Jets’ hopes for a comeback.

Early in the fourth quarter, on the first play after an incomplete back-shoulder toss toward Brandon Marshall coaxed a pass-interference call on Richard Sherman that gave the Jets the ball in Seattle territory, Fitzpatrick tried that throw again. This time, Sherman read the route better than Marshall did and jumped it, grabbing the ball to give the Seahawks possession at their 39-yard line.

Russell Wilson needed four plays, all complete passes, to convert that interception into his third touchdown pass of the afternoon, a 6-yard rollout to Christine Michael that extended Seattle’s lead to

24-10 with 12 minutes, 20 seconds left. Playing with a sprained right ankle and a sprained ligament in his left knee, Wilson completed 23 of 32 passes for 309 yards — 113 of which were by Jimmy Graham, who, like Travis Kelce last week, continued the trend of tight ends tormenting the Jets.

The Jets’ confidence in Fitzpatrick derived from two sources. First, a resilience honed by loads of previous fiascos in his career. As far as the second, well, Bowles said, “You can’t play any worse.” Reinforcing that notion, the offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, in a conversation with Fitzpatrick during the game at Kansas City, compared him to a pitcher who allowed five home runs in three innings. “Forget about that,” Gailey told him, “and go back and do what got you to the major leagues.”

For Fitzpatrick on Sunday, that entailed short throws and plenty of handoffs at first. Four in a row began the game, in a series that consumed 14 plays and 8:33 but that ended with only a field goal by Nick Folk. Facing a rugged defense that entered Sunday having allowed the fewest yards and the second-fewest points in the NFL, the Jets could not afford to sputter again in the red zone.

“You have to kind of be perfect,” running back Matt Forte said last week.

Wilson nearly was in the first half, misfiring on only one pass. Long ago, he had developed a high pain tolerance from tussling with his brother, Harry, who blocked his shots in basketball and pushed him down in football. Before last Sunday, Wilson had never missed a snap, let alone a start. So he slipped on a knee brace and set about dismantling the Jets’ secondary.

Wilson’s diminished mobility hindered his elusiveness but had no bearing on the strength and accuracy of his right arm. His throws are so precise that he could probably hit a Cheerio from 50 yards. Instead, he flipped arcing passes to Graham and back-footed lasers to running back C.J. Spiller and deep balls to receiver Doug Baldwin, all perfect.

The first touchdown capitalized on the Jets’ struggles covering running backs, as Spiller juked David Harris for an 8-yard score. The second capitalized on the Jets’ struggles covering everyone else, as Wilson evaded Sheldon Richardson coming from his right to fling a 42-yard touchdown to Tanner McEvoy, who, after a breakdown in the secondary, was wide open.

That, Wilson’s final pass of the first half, burnished his statistics: 10 of 11 for 191 yards and two touchdowns. It also tested the tenacity of Fitzpatrick and the Jets’ offense, which faced an 11-point deficit — and with Seattle receiving the second-half kickoff, possibly more — unless it could mount a scoring drive.

One way the Jets countered the absence of two top receivers, Eric Decker and Jalin Marshall, both out with shoulder injuries, was by integrating Bilal Powell more into the passing game. Fitzpatrick connected with him twice on short passes that turned into long gains, and then drew the Jets to within 14-10 at halftime by firing a nifty back-shoulder toss to Brandon Marshall, who beat Sherman for the first passing touchdown allowed by

Seattle this season.

Seattle 0 14  3 10 — 27

N.Y. Jets 3  7  0  7 — 17

First Quarter

NYJ—Folk 34 yard field goal, 6:31.

Second Quarter

SEA—Spiller 8 yard pass from R.Wilson (Hauschka kick), 11:34.

SEA—McEvoy 42 yard pass from R.Wilson (Hauschka kick), 3:44.

NYJ—B.Marshall 17 yard pass from Fitzpatrick (Folk kick), 0:13.

Third Quarter

SEA—Hauschka 33 yard field goal, 4:16.

Fourth Quarter

SEA—Michael 6 yard pass from R.Wilson (Hauschka kick), 12:20.

SEA—Hauschka 53 yard field goal, 4:08.

NYJ—Peake 42 yard fumble return/recovery (Folk kick), 2:25.




First Downs 19 17

Total Net Yards 354 305

Rushes-Yds 26-66 20-58

Passing 288 247

Sacked-Yds Lost 2-21 4-14

Comp-Att-Int 23-32-0 23-41-3

Punts 5-40.6 5-40.4

Punt Returns 2-0 0-0

Kickoff Returns 2-0 1-27

Interceptions Ret. 3-6 0-0

Penalties-Yards 7-71 7-60

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0

Time of Poss. 30:45 29:15



RUSHING — SEA, Michael 18-58, Spiller 2-12, A.Collins 1-1, R.Wilson 5-(minus 5). NYJ, Forte 14-27, B.Powell 4-26, Fitzpatrick 2-5.

PASSING — SEA, R.Wilson 23-32-0-309. NYJ, Fitzpatrick 23-41-3-261.

RECEIVING — SEA, J.Graham 6-113, Michael 5-32, Baldwin 4-54, Je.Kearse 3-23, Spiller 2-5, McEvoy 1-42, P.Richardson 1-27, Lockett 1-13. NYJ, Enunwa 6-60, B.Powell 6-54, B.Marshall 4-89, Peake 3-30, Forte 2-16, R.Anderson 2-12.

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