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Jets’ dismal season ends with 1 last snap of shame

December 31, 2018
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles, left, and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick shake hands at midfield after an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Long after the outcome of the game was in any doubt and the season had been drained of any meaningful suspense, the New York Jets added one last dollop of disgrace.

Trailing their five-time Super Bowl-winning rivals by five touchdowns in the final minute of the season finale, the Jets got the ball back after New England was unable to kneel out the clock. But De’Angelo Henderson fumbled it right back on the very first play — and the Jets’ final snap of the season.

“It’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing to go out here and lose 38-3,” said quarterback Sam Darnold, who finished his rookie season with 2,698 yards passing and 17 touchdowns with 15 interceptions after the Jets lost their season-finale to the Patriots 38-3 on Sunday.

“I’m really proud of the way we fought, the way we competed, it just wasn’t enough,” he said.

Now, the question is: Who will be the coach for the team’s QB of the future? Todd Bowles was fired after the team returned to its facility in Florham Park, New Jersey, going 24-40 in four seasons that included no playoff appearances.

“He just said that he’s proud of us and proud of the way we fought,” Darnold said after the game.

The Jets (4-12) fell behind 21-3 early in the second quarter and never threatened the AFC East champs.

Coming off three solid games since returning from a foot injury, Darnold completed 16 of 28 passes for 167 yards with no interceptions. He did fumble once — when Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy scooped it up and ran 46 yards for a score that made it 28-3 early in the third.

It was a dismal ending to a rough year for the Jets and Bowles, who remained consistent and didn’t want to talk about his future when asked three times after the loss — New York’s ninth in its last 10 games.

Asked about his emotions following the end of the season, Bowles said: “Probably the same as the record — 4-12, that’s not very good.”

Bowles said it was a “coach’s decision” not to play star cornerback Trumaine Johnson.

Johnson didn’t play after he was late to the facility Wednesday and held out of practice. He also apologized to his teammates.

“Why was I late?” Johnson said. “I woke up late.”

Johnson said during the week he expected to play, but Bowles decided during the pregame that he would be inactive.

“I was upset, but I couldn’t do nothing about it,” Johnson said.

Many of the Jets players were asked about playing for Bowles and his future in the locker room after the game.

“Coach Bowles is a good person, a good coach and he leads by example, but his wins didn’t add up to where he probably wanted them to be,” said corner Buster Skrine, who replaced Johnson in the lineup.

“One thing about Coach Bowles, he’s a professional and he understands the business,” Skrine said. “If there is a decision, if he’s going or he stays, it’s not the first time he’s been a head coach or a coach in the NFL, or at any level.”

Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams appeared resigned to the fact that Bowles will be fired — something he didn’t agree with.

“Todd Bowles is my favorite coach since I’ve played this game and I hate to see him go down like that, which - it’s probably happening,” Adams said. “But, man, you live and you learn. Man, this world is crazy.”

Linebacker Tarell Basham credited Bowles with his development but didn’t talk about the rumors.

“At the end of the day, as a player, I can’t control that,” he said. “All I can do I go out there and play. I feel like I got to develop as a player, became a better player and came out of my shell.”

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