On Sunday the New York Jets hosted the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium in a must win for the home team.
This was just the seventh all-time meeting between both franchises, with each team winning three games.
Like most of their games this season, the New York Jets were in a position to win, but ultimately penalties and mistakes cost them another win. Such is the case for a young team trying to find itself.
The New York Jets outgained the Panthers by almost 100 yards and defensively held the top rated team on third down conversions to just 3-14 on the day, but two non-offensive TD was their downfall. Five times the New York Jets forced the Panthers to a three and out.
The New York Jets have now been outscored 113-47 in the fourth quarter this season.
Here is how the game went. Events happen in real time.
The Panthers got on the scoreboard first as Graham Gano kicked a 40-yard field goal to give Carolina a 3-0 lead. Their drive consisted of 12 plays for 48 yards and included a fourth-down and three conversion.
On the New York Jets first drive of the game, they countered the Panthers with a field goal of their own. Josh McCown led the offense on a 10-play drive that covered 55 yards and ended with a 31-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro. It looked like the New York Jets would take the lead, but Austin Sefarian-Jenkins dropped a third down pass in the end zone.
The New York Jets defense came up big on the Panthers next drive, sacking Cam Newton twice.
The Panthers defense responded in kind, shutting the Jets offense down after just four plays as the first quarter ended.
Carolina’s offense was back on track on their next drive, going 86 yards in eight plays, culminating with a one yard TD run by Cam Newton. Graham Gano missed the extra point to keep the lead at 9-3.
The New York Jets went three and out for the first time in the game on their next drive, gaining just three yards.
The Panthers offense followed with their own three and out.
The New York Jets offense again went three and out on their next possession.
The Panthers offense got back on track on their next drive, going 34 yards on five plays, culminating with a 33-yard field goal by Gano.
The New York Jets offense continued to struggle on their next possession with their third straight three and out.
Despite their offensive struggles, the New York Jets defense forced another three and out to set the offense up with a first down at the Jets 35.
It looked like the Jets offense would get started on the right track, but a holding call nullified a nice first down run by Bilal Powell as the two-minute warning hit.
Josh McCown was finally able to get the offense going as he rallied from the holding call to connect with Robby Anderson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins to put the Jets into field goal range. Robby Anderson then made one of the best plays of the season for the New York Jets, when he gathered in a pass against double-coverage for a 33-yard TD reception. It was the fifth consecutive game with a TD reception for Anderson.
The Jets defense then held the Panthers as the first half ended.
Both teams exchanged three and outs on their first possession of the second half.
Penalties hurt the New York Jets on their next drive, as two holding calls negated some positive plays.
The New York Jets defense once again forced Newton and the Panthers out on three straight plays, including a sack by Mohammad Wilkerson.
On their next possession, the Robby Anderson experience made his second big play of the game. Josh McCown turned a scramble into a 54-yard TD pass to give the Jets a 17-12 lead. Anderson’s seven TD receptions have averaged 37.8 yards.
The Panthers grabbed the lead right back on their next drive, as Cam Newton finally woke up. After completing just 1 of his previous 11 passes, Newton connected with Devin Funchess to convert a big third down. Jordan Jenkins then helped the Panthers by jumping offsides on fourth and two, extending a drive that ended with a two-yard TD run by Jonathan Stewart. The Jets defense was able to stop the Panthers on their two-point conversion.
On the New York Jets next drive, they drove down to the one yard line where they had a first and goal. However, another dropped pass by Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, nullified a TD after instant replay determined he did not maintain possession. The Jets had to settle for a field goal after throwing three straight incompletions at the one-yard line. Chandler Catanzaro’s 19-yard field goal gave the New York Jets a 20-18 lead.
The Panthers offense went back into stall mode on their next possession, as they went three and out again.
Despite their ability to stay close in games, the New York Jets still can’t help being the Jets. That is what happened in the play that turned the game around. Josh McCown was sacked and lost the ball, which Luke Kuechly picked up and ran back 34 yards for a TD. The two point conversion by a Cam Newton scramble, gave the Panthers a 26-20 lead.
How did the New York Jets respond to that devastating fumble? With a three and out. To make matters worse on the Jets, their ensuing punt was returned 60 yards for a TD by Cameron Clay to give the Panthers a 32-20 lead. In two minutes, the New York Jets went from being up two, to being down 12. Typical Jets.
For the Panthers, it was the first time since Week 15 of 2013 that they scored a non-offensive TD in the fourth quarter.
Needing a TD to stay in the game. Josh McCown and the New York Jets offense responded. McCown drove the New York Jets 75 yards in eight plays, culminating with a three-yard TD reception to Jermaine Kearse to cut the Panthers lead to 32-27.
On the Panthers next drive, it looked like the Jets had stopped them on third down. However, Mike Fennell was flagged for a late hit, extending the Panthers drive and thus ending the New York Jets chance at a victory.
The New York Jets continued to fight valiantly, but in the end, their mistakes cost them. That is the difference between playoff teams and non-playoff teams.
Final Score: Panthers 35, Jets 27
Cam Newton: 11-28, 168 yards
Josh McCown: 19-36, 307 yards, 3 TD
Third Down Conversions:
Play of the Game:
Luke Kuechly’s 33-yard fumble return for a TD.
The New York Jets face the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium on December 3rd.
Mark Kelly covers the New York Jets for ProFootballSpot.com. You can follow him on twitter @CkmagicSports. Looking for more Jets news and features? Like our Jets Facebook page and also follow @spot_jets on Twitter.