Marshall says Jets sticking by Fitzpatrick despite struggles
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Brandon Marshall was downright frustrated - by another tough loss and increasing questions about his struggling quarterback.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three more interceptions, giving him nine in the last two games, and the New York Jets couldn't get much going on offense in a 27-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
''I am shocked,'' a dejected Marshall said. ''I expect more out of our offense. Every year is different. It's a little deflating, man. You think you're really close and right when you think it's going to be easy, whether in sport or life, you get slapped in the face and humbled. It's disappointing, but that's just the story of life. It's never easy.
''This is hard, football is hard. It's not for the weary.''
With all the turnovers the past few weeks, it's easy to point fingers at the quarterback first.
Marshall, however, insisted that his confidence in Fitzpatrick has not wavered, even with the Jets 1-3 and staring at the season possibly spiraling with road games up next against Pittsburgh and Arizona.
''I'm standing in the ship with him,'' Marshall said of Fitzpatrick. ''Obviously, right now, we're all looking each other in the eyes and holding each other accountable and pushing each other. At the end of the day, I'm going down with the ship with him. I don't like how any of us are playing. Him, myself, all the starters. We've got to pick it up and play better.''
Marshall, who had four catches for 89 yards and his first touchdown of the season , bristled when he was asked if the Jets need to assess the quarterback spot. New York also has former starter Geno Smith on the roster, along with 2015 fourth-rounder Bryce Petty, who's recovering from a shoulder injury, and Christian Hackenberg, the Jets' second-rounder this year.
''I am. Going down. In a boat. With Ryan Fitzpatrick. OK? You got it?'' said Marshall, measuring his words. ''So can you not ask me any more questions about that? I am. Going down. In a boat. With No. 14.''
Fitzpatrick was re-signed just before training camp opened in July to a one-year, $12 million deal after a contract stalemate between the quarterback and the team dragged for months.
While he threw 31 touchdown passes to set a franchise record last season, critics of Fitzpatrick also pointed to his up-and-down tendencies - and the fact he has never made it to the postseason in his 11-plus NFL seasons.
He and the Jets' offense will need to get better in a hurry if they have any plans on playing in the playoffs this season.
''I'm still confident in our guys, and I'm still confident in our offense and the things that we can do,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''We just didn't put it together in the second half, and that was unfortunate because we did have a little bit of momentum in the first half.''
The Jets trailed 14-10 after two quarters, helped by Fitzpatrick's 17-yard TD toss to Marshall with 13 seconds left. They had 229 yards of total offense at halftime, but gained just 76 the rest of the game.
''I think we're out of sync right now,'' said Matt Forte, who was held to just 27 yards on 14 carries. ''We're not really hitting on all cylinders, so to speak.''
Fitzpatrick threw three fourth-quarter interceptions against the Seahawks. The second came on a throw intended for Robby Anderson that was picked off by Earl Thomas and led to a 53-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka that put Seattle up 27-10.
On the next drive, Fitzpatrick was sacked by Cliff Avril and fumbled, but rookie wide receiver Charone Peake picked up the ball and ran it in for a 42-yard touchdown on a fluke play that cut the Jets' deficit to 27-17.
New York got the ball back with 1:41 and had a chance to get closer, but the comeback attempt was short-circuited when Fitzpatrick's deep pass intended for Marshall was intercepted by Richard Sherman, who had two on the day.
''I don't worry about questions about his play,'' Bowles said of Fitzpatrick. ''I just worry about turnovers. He knows he can't have turnovers. Some of them are unfortunate and not the quarterback's fault, but nevertheless, the quarterback runs the offense, so he can't turn the ball over.''
Then, Bowles was asked about his confidence level in Fitzpatrick.
''No different,'' the coach said, ''than when the season started.''
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL