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Jets' Joe Flacco Says Fourth-Quarter Interception vs. Patriots Is Still Running Through His Mind

The Jets were six minutes away on Monday night from their first victory of the season. 

Getting the ball back after the Patriots cut New York's lead down to seven, the Jets had a chance to stamp out New England's momentum, eat up some clock and put the game out of reach. 

Instead, on the very first play of their next drive, Jets quarterback Joe Flacco threw an interception. A costly one.

Attempting to find rookie speedster Denzel Mims over the top, Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson came away with the pick down field.

"Obviously in hindsight, I don't want to throw that pick," Flacco told reporters in a Zoom call after the game. "It was just one of those looks with the cover two safety on the backside of the field that I felt like I could throw down the hash and Mims could beat the guy to the hash and catch that ball for a post.

"I don't think I would have made a different decision in the moment, but obviously I wish I had that one back."

Patriots quarterback Cam Newton got the ball back and subsequently orchestrated his team's third scoring drive in a row. One three-and-out from Flacco and the Jets later, and the Patriots turned a tie game into a debilitating defeat for New York on a game-winning field goal as time expired.

READ: Jets Clinch Worst Start in Franchise History, Collapse in Fourth Quarter Against Patriots

Unsurprisingly, the fourth-quarter interception (and the 13 unanswered points from the Patriots) stung for Gang Green in the moments after the game ended. Each Jets player addressing the media that night articulated their frustrations with the loss, a game they believed they should've won.

With more time to evaluate the play, those thoughts haven't gone away for Flacco. The decision to go deep in that situation still lives prominently in his mind, long after the fateful toss that changed the game.


"It's one of those that's just kind of twisting and turning in your head and [I'm] thinking would I have done something differently, would I have not," Flacco said on a conference call on Tuesday. "If I did do something differently, what would have happened? All those scenarios are running through your head and it's just one of those games that you didn't win, so therefore you're playing out different scenarios in your head."

Other than the interception, Flacco had plenty to be proud of looking back on Monday night. 

In just his third start of the season, filling in for an injured Sam Darnold, the veteran threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns. He even showcased his impeccable accuracy, pulling off the most improbable touchdown pass in the NFL since 2017.

READ: Jets Opponents Can't Stop Winning Player Of The Week Honors

Nonetheless, the interception casts a shadow on an otherwise formidable performance from the Jets offense, a unit that's now 0-9 on the season.

"There was an opportunity there, I think Joe saw what the safety was doing, and he tried to put the ball where he thought the receiver would be running to," head coach Adam Gase said on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. "You're always hoping for that to possibly be a 50-50 ball, at worst being an incompletion." 

The turnover may have contributed to the Jets fourth-quarter collapse in a big way, but Gase still appreciated the aggressiveness of his quarterback.

"If you want to win games in this game, you've got to be aggressive," Gase explained. "Joe was playing really well. We tried to put the ball in the hands of the guy that was probably playing best out of everyone."

Who knows what would've happened if Flacco checked down in that situation or if a different play had been called on that first and ten. Either way, as New York's bye week begins, that interception will continue to play in Flacco's mind.

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