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Sam Darnold: 'So many ifs' in Jets' loss to Ravens

The 42-21 final score won't convey the reality that the New York Jets had a chance to keep Thursday night's bout with the Baltimore Ravens close. In the end, they blew that chance, letting Lamar Jackson gallop away with the blowout.

"Especially in the first half, we had a chance," quarterback Sam Darnold said, via the team's official website. "It just got away from us. If we executed better ... so many ifs ... if we just played better, if I had back some throws that I missed, it could've been a whole different game."

The Jets are a team of 'ifs' wrapped in a season of 'ifs' cloaked in decades of 'ifs.' Thursday night was no different.

In the first half, Gang Green actually moved the ball, giving them multiple chances to keep the game close. After the Ravens opened the scoring with a TD, Sam Ficken had a 49-yard field goal attempt tipped for a miss. Baltimore then took a 13-0 lead. After the teams traded scores to make it 21-7, New York then marched on a nearly eight-minute drive but couldn't find the end zone, turning it over at the 7-yard-line. Opportunity wasted.

"I mean, whenever we get in the red zone and we don't come away with points, especially if I turn the ball over, it's never good." Darnold said. "Especially against a team like that."

The Jets would have one more chance for points before the half ended, getting down to the Ravens' 25-yard-line, but a brutal Darnold INT squandered another chance before the half.

The defense did its job early in the third quarter forcing two quick Baltimore punts, but the offense couldn't get grooving, totaling 20 total yards and one first down on three third-quarter drives. Ball game.

"We knew coming into this game how we had to play," coach Adam Gase said. "We knew we had to be great in time of possession, great ball security, and when we got the ball in the red zone, we had to score touchdowns. We just didn't do it. We didn't finish that one drive and then threw the interception at the end of the half."

Le'Veon Bell had his best night in a Jets jersey, totaling 87 rushing yards on 21 carries -- it likely helped slightly that he was one player who hadn't played four days prior, missing Sunday's game due to the flu. But for the most part, the Jets offense looked sick.

Darnold's performance was a microcosm of his season: up and down with high-wave moments but far too many lows. Darnold finished 18 of 32 for 218 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. The 18 completions marked his fewest since Week 7 versus New England and he threw his fewest passing yards (218) since Week 8 at Jacksonville. Since the Jets' three-game win streak, Darnold has struggled to move the ball, as the Jets have averaged just 16.3 points per game in their last three tilts, losing two.

"Yeah, whenever you lose a game, especially in the fashion we did," Darnold said, "every man in here should be sad, frustrated, unhappy, all those words."

The Jets have been all those negative words for far too long. In another lost season, Thursday night was yet the latest indication of how far they are from flipping those frustrated, unhappy feelings into positives.

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