Todd Bowles, Jets have 'come-to-Jesus meeting' after loss to Chiefs

ByRich Cimini ESPN logo
Tuesday, September 27, 2016

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- One day after tying a franchise record with six interceptions, New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick admitted it was tough to face his teammates. But he said he's hoping his leadership, and that of coach Todd Bowles, can rally the team from a deflating 24-3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefson Sunday.

In Monday's team meeting, Bowles delivered a speech that was "potentially a turning point in the season," Fitzpatrick said.

Bowles, not known as a fiery speaker, chuckled when asked about his speech.

"Anytime you lose like that, you have to have a come-to-Jesus meeting," he said.

The Jets (1-2) suffered one of the sloppiest losses in their history Sunday, committing eight turnovers, their most since 1976. It ended with Fitzpatrick throwing interceptions on five straight possessions, including three in the red zone.

"It's a hard day for me to come in today," Fitzpatrick said. "We lost that game because of my performance. We don't need to pin it on anything else. That was pretty evident. To walk in today and 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."

Bowles has tried to spread the blame around, but he obviously couldn't make an alibi for a quarterback with six interceptions. He insisted his confidence in Fitzpatrick hasn't wavered, but he added, "I saw what I saw. It wasn't good."

Fitzpatrick signed a one-year, $12 million contract on the eve of training camp, saying he turned down a multiyear offer because he was willing to bet on himself.

In Week 2, he played one of the best games of his career (374 yards in a win). On Sunday, he played one of the worst, setting a career high for interceptions.

"It was so bad, and there were so many poor things on my part that happened in the game that you want to put it behind you as fast as you can," Fitzpatrick said, joking how the Jets were hailed as the "Greatest Show on Turf" after a 37-31 win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 2.

Bowles, so angry after Sunday's game that he dropped several expletives in his news conference, took a calm yet firm approach Monday. His message to the team: Don't let one bad game ruin the season.

"We talked about accountability and just understanding where we are in the season, who we are and what we need to be," Bowles said, adding that he's confident the team "got the message."

Bowles gave a memorable speech last season the day after an ugly loss to the Houston Texans, and the team proceeded to go on a five-game winning streak.

"I think the way he delivered the message today was great," Fitzpatrick said.

Tackle Ryan Clady added, "I wouldn't call it fiery. It was very direct. He's not a yeller type of coach. It was a good message, though."

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