EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — After the New York Jets' second straight clunker in prime time, Todd Bowles pointed the finger solely at himself.
There were plenty of mistakes, bad decisions and poorly executed plays to go around in a 34-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Saturday night. But the head coach insisted on shouldering the blame.
"You don't explain it," Bowles said after his team dropped to 4-10. "It's all on me. I did a terrible job, as far as getting these guys ready to play. We were ready to play in the first half, but the second half, me being the head coach of this team and us not looking very good right now, it's all a direct reflection on me.
"I take full responsibility."
This latest embarrassing defeat came in front of a stadium that was half-filled, and with plenty of Dolphins fans decked out in aqua, orange and white. And, it came 12 days after the Jets were blown out at home by Indianapolis 41-10 in a Monday night game that had many wondering if the players had quit on Bowles.
That doesn't appear to be the case with New York, which was simply outclassed in the second half by a Miami team with its sights set on making the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Meanwhile, Woody Johnson's Jets haven't been to the postseason in six years.
"They were prepared, but when we play like that, it all falls on me," Bowles said. "It starts at the top. I've got to do a better job, and they've got to do a better job. But it starts with me."
Both losses were on national TV, too.
The Jets actually started quickly in this one, something they talked all week about doing after being dismal in the first half of their last two games.
On the Jets' first possession, Petty guided them 75 yards in seven plays for a 7-0 lead, connecting with Robby Anderson for a 40-yard touchdown. New York trailed 13-10 at halftime, but outgained Miami 225 yards to 129, giving the Jets some hope they could win consecutive games for only the second time this season.
Then came the third quarter, and it all went downhill in a hurry.
"It just started to snowball," left tackle Ben Ijalana said.
After rookie Juston Burris' first career interception ended Miami's first possession of the second half, New York's drive stalled after four plays. Lachlan Edwards had his punt attempt blocked by Walt Aikens, who then pounced on the ball and ran it in 11 yards for a touchdown.
"It started the swing," Bowles said. "There were about four or five minutes of bad football played in that span."
On the Jets' next play from scrimmage, Petty's pass for Anderson was picked off by Tony Lippett. Five plays later, Matt Moore hit Dion Sims for a 1-yard touchdown that made it 27-10.
After New York went three-and-out, Moore put the game away with his career-high fourth TD throw, a 66-yard pass that sent many of the remaining Jets fans for the exits — and it was still only the third quarter.
"We went down 20 points in about four minutes," defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson said. "We could never get in a groove."
Petty, making his third NFL start, showed flashes on a few throws, such as the TD to Anderson. But he also hung a handful of throws, and was victimized at times by drops from several receivers before leaving in the fourth quarter with a chest injury.
"I'm not going to sit up here and give Bryce an assessment," said wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who had one of those drops. "None of us have played well this season. That's what I'd say. We've only won four games, so we've lost — stunk it up."
The Jets have two games left in this dismal season, and will have plenty of questions in the offseason. Bowles' job situation might be the biggest — especially as the heat continues to get turned up with each bad loss.
"It's everybody," Wilkerson said. "As coaches, you want to take the blame, but it's the coaches and the players. They're coaching, but we're out there playing. We have to do a better job of executing."
Running back Bilal Powell was one of the few bright spots for the Jets, rushing for 84 yards on 16 carries and catching 11 passes for 78 yards.
"No one wants to be 4-10," he said. "You look around and we have a talented team. Hopefully we can just finish the season out strong."