Seeing Yellow: Jets’ Bowles blasts officials for penalties
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Todd Bowles simply couldn’t believe his eyes.
The yellow flags kept flying all game, and his New York Jets were being called for penalties at crucial moments against the Packers. There were a whopping 16 in all for a team-record 172 yards, according to ESPN Stats & Info, during Green Bay’s 44-38 overtime victory Sunday.
“I thought we were playing two teams,” a noticeably angry Bowles said. “I thought we were playing the Packers — and the striped shirts.”
That would be the officials, who received some rare criticism from the normally reserved Jets coach.
“I can explain some of them,” Bowles said of the penalties. “I can’t explain them all. That’s a question you have to ask them.”
When a reporter pointed out that that it was uncharacteristic of him to question the officials, Bowles said simply: “That’s how bad it was.”
On the Packers’ winning drive — and the only possession of overtime — Green Bay faced a third-and-10 from its 40 when Aaron Rodgers’ pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling hung in the air and fell incomplete — but Trumaine Johnson was called for pass interference, putting the ball at the Jets 27.
“I felt it was a bad call, as I did quite a few other calls,” Bowles said. “It was one of those games. I haven’t seen one like that in my 18 or 19 years in the league.”
Two plays later, the Jets were called for having too many men on the field, offsetting a call on the Packers for an illegal shift. Bowles and his defense were seeing yellow again moments later when a pass interference call on Buster Skrine gave the Packers the ball at the 6.
Rodgers ran it in, but right tackle Bryan Bulaga was called for holding. On the next play, Rodgers found Davante Adams in the back of the end zone for the victory.
A clearly irritated Johnson left the locker room after the game without speaking to reporters. Fellow cornerback Morris Claiborne used an expletive when describing the officiating.
The 16 penalties were six more than the Packers were called for, and Bowles was asked to point out the ones he thought were most egregious.
“I’m sure I’m getting fined already, so I care not to say anymore,” he said. “But something has to be done about that. That’s ridiculous.”
In what was likely Bowles’ final home game as coach with the expectation being that he’ll be fired after next Sunday’s game at New England, the penalties weren’t the only thing that did in the Jets.
New York blew a 15-point fourth-quarter lead and gave up 540 total yards to Rodgers and the Packers, the most since they allowed 557 yards to San Francisco 20 years ago. Green Bay also had eight plays of 20 yards or longer against the Jets, including four plays of 23 or more in the fourth quarter.
“They pay us to go out there and stop offenses,” safety Jamal Adams said. “So, we’ve got to go out there and execute it.”
It also was the most points the Jets have scored in a home loss.
“It’s frustrating not being able to put them away,” Bowles said. “We had our chances to put them away. Taking no credit from them, but we can’t play two teams.”
The Jets nearly had an impressive goal-line stand in the closing moments of regulation, when Rodgers had a 23-yard run to get down to the 1.
After two incompletions, Jamaal Williams was met up the middle by Frankie Luvu for no gain. On fourth-and-goal, Rodgers went over a pile and reached past the goal line for a go-ahead touchdown that Green Bay its first lead of the game with 1:13 left.
“It’s a game of inches,” Adams said. “I believe he had the inch on us, so, good call.”
Rodgers’ initial 2-point conversion try was intercepted by Darryl Roberts — but Roberts was called for defensive holding. Rodgers then ran it in to make it 38-35.
New York was without defensive end Leonard Williams for a big chunk of the game after he was ejected for throwing a punch at Bulaga late in the first half. The two were pushing and shoving during a pass play and Williams lost his cool.
“I fully regret it,” Williams said. “I wish I could’ve been there for my teammates, especially in this good game — it was a close game. ... There’s no excuses for what I did. I just overreacted.”
The Jets finished their home schedule 2-6, and need a win next week against the Patriots to even match their 5-11 overall mark of the last two seasons. That’ll be a tall task, considering New England could clinch a first-round playoff bye with a victory.
“I feel bad for everybody in here because I know how hard these guys work,” Claiborne said. “I work with them and I know how hard it is for them, and I know how hard it is for me because we put so much into it and it doesn’t go your way and you don’t know what the hell to do.
“But we just have to keep working and see our way through the storm.”