NEW YORK (AP) — More than 24 hours later, Josh McCown still didn’t quite understand why the New York Jets had a touchdown — and then, just as suddenly, didn’t.
“It’s really the same response as yesterday,” the quarterback said Monday, “I don’t know.”
The Jets watched Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ 4-yard touchdown-turned-fumble and touchback numerous times, and the controversial call by officials was debated and dissected by Monday morning quarterbacks all over social media and sports talk shows.
“We’re not going to cry about it all week,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “We have to go play Miami.”
Al Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, said during a conference call that it was “clear and obvious” that Seferian-Jenkins fumbled in the fourth quarter of the Jets’ 24-17 loss to New England on Sunday. Riveron was responsible for changing the call from the league’s replay center in New York.
Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse said it was “a B.S. call” after the game , and many Jets fans — and even non-Jets fans — agreed. Confusion still seemed to remain on Monday, even after referee Tony Corrente explained the reversal on Sunday and Riveron detailed his decision.
“The ball was put out of bounds by the offensive player across the goal line and went out of bounds in the end zone,” Riveron said. “So, by rule, that is a touchback. New England gets the ball, first-and-10 from the 20-yard line going out.”
Dean Blandino and Mike Pereira — both of whom used to hold Riveron’s job — said they thought Seferian-Jenkins had either regained control of the ball in time or that it was too close to overturn.
“Obviously, when it doesn’t go your way, there’s a human element that is very frustrated,” McCown said.
“But unless you can show me a precedent where they’ve gone back and changed the score of a game, for us moving forward, it really doesn’t do any good. It’s gone, it’s over with, and it’s frustrating and we’ll hate it and all that stuff, but for us to continue talking about it just does no good.”
That appeared to be the overwhelming message around the Jets: Sure, they’re not happy, but they’re on to preparing for their next game against the Dolphins in Miami next Sunday.
“They’re not changing the call,” Bowles said. “We’re not winning the ballgame. We’ve moved on. I don’t really give two shakes about it.”
Added defensive end Leonard Williams: “It’s pointless to keep watching it and keep watching it.”
Bowles pointed out that the overturned touchdown, which kept it a 10-point deficit for New York instead of just three, wasn’t the only reason the Jets lost to the Patriots in what was an early season battle for first place in the AFC East.
The Jets started fast, scoring on their opening possession for the first time this season and raced out to a 14-0 lead. But the offense couldn’t maintain its efficiency and didn’t reach the end zone again.
A miscommunication between McCown and Robby Anderson resulted in a momentum-shifting interception with 35 seconds left in the first half that Tom Brady turned into a tying touchdown just moments later. The Jets also ran for just 74 yards on 24 carries against the 32nd-ranked defense.
“We opened up and we went down the field and scored for the first time without going three-and-out, and they gave us some opportunities to try and do some things,” Bowles said. “It was a good game plan, but we still need to run the ball more.”
New York’s run defense remains an issue and ranks 28th in the NFL. The Jets’ pass rush has been virtually non-existent, with just seven sacks this season — and none from their defensive linemen.
“If we stop the run a little better, we can rush the passer a little more,” Bowles said. “Right now, we have some spurts where we did and then had some spurts where we didn’t, so we just have to be more consistent at it and the pass rush will be there.”
The Jets have been one of the league’s early surprises, starting 3-3 in a season when many outside the facility believed New York would have trouble winning any games after a massive roster reconstruction.
With a .500 record, the Jets are certainly in the playoff mix in the AFC. They believe they’ll continue to be there even late in the season.
“Oh, yeah, without a doubt,” Williams said. “Our energy and the way we fight through adversity, like that controversial call with the ref and the touchdown, our defense was still able to go right back out there and get a three-and-out against a great offense. It’s little things like that where I’m looking at my team very proud.”
The Jets have a chance to rebound with a game against a team they’ve already defeated. New York beat Miami 20-6 in Week 3, but the Dolphins are now 3-2 and are coming off an impressive 20-17 comeback victory over Atlanta.
“In order to be a playoff team,” nose tackle Steve McLendon said, “we have to beat Miami.”