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Jets inch closer to 0-16 as comeback bid vs. Chargers falls short

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Joe Burrow injured, Taysom Hill proves he can play QB

SportsPulse: Week 11 early games were filled with surprises. From Joe Burrow’s season-ending injury, to the Saints dominant performance, to the Titans overtime defeat of the Ravens.

The New York Jets have reached a new milestone in their quest for unwanted NFL history: 10 straight losses to start the season.

The Jets’ comeback fell short as they lost to the Chargers, 34-28 on Sunday at SoFi Stadium. The Jets are 0-10 for the first time in franchise history. The Jets are now within striking distance of joining the 2008 Lions and 2017 Browns as the only 0-16 teams in NFL history.

This was probably the best of all worlds for Jets fans. They saw their team fight back from an early hole and some of their rookies played a key part in it.

Wide receiver Denzel Mims had a team high three catches for 71 yards. And after a rough first half, cornerback Bryce Hall made some big plays that helped the Jets get back in the game.

But they continued losing, which puts them on pace, ahead of the one-loss Jaguars, to get the top pick in next year’s NFL draft.

Despite falling behind 31-13 with five minutes left in the third quarter, the Jets stormed back and had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Some of that can be pinned on the Chargers, who have proven to be untrustworthy with a lead — they’ve blown two 17-point advantages to lose this season.

But the Jets were also much more aggressive and effective on offense after halftime, which helped them get back in the game.

With 2:48 to play, the Jets had the ball on their own 47 down 34-26. They made it to the Chargers 32, but the drive stalled there. Flacco’s deep pass to Mims fell harmlessly to the turf with 1:46 left, and the Jets turned the ball over to the Chargers.

The Jets are now 0-10 over the past three seasons when quarterback Sam Darnold doesn’t start. Flacco finished 15-of-30 for 3205 yards, two touchdowns and a brutal interception.

The Jets’ defense struggled, especially through the first three quarters. Chargers rookie Justin Herbert completed 37 of 49 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns, and receiver Keenan Allen had 16 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown.

The Jets showed some fight with their impressive rally, but they didn’t get the win. And in the end, that was probably best for their long-term future.

Mims impresses again

Very good news for the Jets: Mims continues to impress.

The Jets marched down the field for a touchdown late in the third quarter to stay within striking distance. And they did it again late in the fourth quarter to pull within a single score, and Mims was a big reason why.

The rookie had a phenomenal catch in the third quarter, reaching over his head on the run to haul in a 27-yard pass down the sideline in tight coverage. And then he got the Jets into the red zone by drawing a pass interference penalty on another deep pass.

Mims had two more big plays during the drive in the fourth quarter that allowed them to narrow the gap to 34-26 with four minutes to play.

On fourth-and-5 with the Jets at their own 30, Mims caught a 25-yard pass to keep their hopes alive. And then on third-and-7 from the Chargers 42, Mims hauled in another pass near the sideline, making a tough catch while falling out of bounds.

That one was questionable, as Mims appeared to be jugging the ball when he went to the ground. But the Jets quickly ran a play and it never got reviewed.

The Jets could not ask for much more from Mims early in his career. He has shown great hands, remarkable intensity, especially as a blocker, and great savvy for a player with such little experience and no on-field preparation before he took the field a few weeks ago.

Fast start squandered

The Jets got off to their best start of the season, impressing in all three phases of the game.

Their defense stopped the Chargers on the opening drive. Special teams gave them great field position when Henry Anderson beat his man and blocked the Chargers punt with ease, giving the ball to the Jets on the Chargers 29.

And then the offense validated it. Running back Frank Gore carried three times for 24 yards to get the Jets down to the Chargers’ five-yard line, and rookie La’Mical Perine proved elusive, dancing through the defense for a five-yard touchdown run — the second touchdown of his career — the give the Jets a 6-0 lead.

The defense made another big play on the next Chargers drive, when Marcus Maye forced a fumble near the goal line and the Jets recovered. But it all went wrong on one play.

On first down, Flacco stared down receiver Jamison Crowder and lofted a pass in his direction near the sideline.

Chargers defensive back Tevaughn Campbell, who spent time with the Jets in training camp in 2019, read it the whole way. He picked it off and walked into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. It was a shocking mistake by Flacco, who played so well against the Patriots, on his first pass of the game.

And it was the start of 24 consecutive Chargers points that put the Jets in a huge hole.

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