Picking up pieces after loss
Jets, quarterback Fitzpatrick look to quickly turn the page after their ugly performance in 24-3 defeat to Kansas City
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. » Ryan Fitzpatrick tried to quickly move on from one of the ugliest performances of his career.
Throwing six interceptions certainly stings. It still did a day after a 24-3 loss at Kansas City.
“It’s a hard day for me to come in today after, pretty much, we lost that game because of my performance,” Fitzpatrick said. “We don’t really need to pin it or try to put it on anything else. I think that was pretty evident.
“To walk in today and have to face the guys, it’s not an easy thing to do, but at the same time, I’ve got to be the same guy every day as a leader, as a player, and just come in.”
The veteran quarterback was one of a very few players in the locker room during media availability. He shouldered the blame for the defeat, as he did after the game, but also insisted he wasn’t going to dwell on it anymore.
Not when the Jets have a matchup at home with Seattle to prepare for.
“I think they’re all easy to get over when you have a game the next week coming up,” he said. “But it was so bad, and there were so many poor things on my part that happened in that game that you want to put it behind you as fast as you can.”
Fitzpatrick finished 20 of 44 for 188 yards and tied a franchise record — shared by Joe Namath, who did it three times — with his sixpack of interceptions.
One of the picks was returned for a touchdown, and he had three redzone throws intercepted in a span
of five passes.
“I had the two forced balls in the red area, and that can’t happen,” Fitzpatrick said. “But we did some good things up front that maybe were overshadowed by all the turnovers.
“But obviously the lesson from that game is you can’t turn the ball over, especially that many times, and expect to win games in the NFL.”
Fitzpatrick and the Jets (1-2) know they’ve got to turn things around quickly with the Seahawks coming to town, even with Russell Wilson’s availability uncertain with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
The combined record of New York’s next four opponents is 8-4 — Seattle (21), Pittsburgh (2-1), Arizona (1-2), Baltimore (3-0) — so things could spiral quickly, long before the Jets even get to their bye in Week 11.
“I think we KNOW who we are,” coach Todd Bowles said. “We just have to BE who we are.”
Things were looking way up for the Jets last week after a 37-31 win at Buffalo in which Fitzpatrick threw for 374 yards and was selected the AFC’s offensive player of the week.
That seemed so long ago after the clunker in Kansas City, with some fans and media wondering if the Jets’ confidence in Fitzpatrick was shaken.
“It’s the NFL and I’m a pro, and I’ve played with some good quarterbacks and some not-so-good quarterbacks, and you’ve just got to move on,” said left tackle Ryan Clady, in his first season with New York after eight in Denver. “You’ve just got to move on and try to get better the next week.
“I’ve got his back, so I’ll still be out there blocking and trying to make sure nobody hits him.”
Fitzpatrick didn’t address the team as a whole, but said there were “plenty of side discussions” with different players trying to work through the loss.
“Any time you lose like that,” Bowles said, “you have to have a ‘Come-toJesus’ meeting.”
Bowles made his displeasure clear after the game when he repeatedly used a vulgar word to describe the team’s performance. When asked what his message was to the team when it met, Bowles laughed before saying he mentioned accountability and where the Jets need to be, and what to do to get better.
When asked what made him chuckle, Bowles gave a sly grin and said: “You don’t want to know.”
Whatever Bowles said to his players made an impact. So much so, that Fitzpatrick thinks it’s something the Jets could build on moving forward.
“I thought the way that he delivered the message today was great,” the quarterback said. “I thought it was something that was necessary, and potentially a turning point in the season in terms of the focus that hopefully we come with after this game.”
Clady said Bowles wasn’t necessarily fiery, but “very direct,” adding that the coach isn’t really “a yeller.
“The biggest thing with him, I think, in the locker room is he’s really respected and his message really rings true with the veteran guys,” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s a guy that’s played the game, that’s been through a lot of adverse situations, as a player and coach.
“So for him being able to speak from experience on both sides of it, I think is really helpful for the players to respect him and to listen to it.”
Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, left, and Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith talk after New York’s loss on Sunday.