With under two minutes left in overtime of yesterday’s Jaguars-Jets rock fight, the Jags were pinned deep and forced to punt. Jets return man Jeremy Kerley brought it back to the Jags’ 40, and though they were in a tough position, Jacksonville’s defense had been good enough that they could have credibly held strong and forced a tie. But veteran linebacker Paul Posluszny picked up a devastating 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting, which moved the Jets into field goal range and essentially cost Jacksonville the game.
The penalty moved the Jets up to the 25, where they dilly-dallied around and ran out the clock before Chandler Catanzaro won it with 28 seconds left from 41 yards out. The Jets managed to win despite racking up 27 yards in overtime.
It was a tough break for Jacksonville and particularly Posluszny, who took a cheap shot on the return from Dylan Donahue, before the taunting penalty.
Picking up a flag for retaliation after getting taken out by an illegal hit must be frustrating as hell, and even if Posluszny maybe should have been aware that the second man always gets penalized, the Jaguars didn’t exactly deserve to lose the game because he was mad about getting decked out of nowhere. Posluszny has played in the NFL for 11 seasons and yesterday’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was the first of his career. After the game, he blamed his “stupidity” for the loss and owned up to it, but he and his coach, Doug Marrone, were still steamed about the call:
“I got drilled,” Posluszny said. “That’s why I reacted the way I did. I’m interested to see what it looks like on film. I don’t see how I get cleaned up like that and then I get called for unsportsmanlike conduct. They have taken that play out of the game, you know what I mean? That’s what I’m confused about right now. I know I got cleaned up.”
“For taunting, he told me on the sideline,” Marrone said. “That’s way out of character. I even said something to Gene afterward, ‘You realize that was on 51 . . . on Poz? That might be the first one he’s ever had in his life.”
Of course, the Jags would never have been in a position to lose a heartbreaker in overtime had they not given up touchdown runs of 75 and 69 yards. Even if he got penalized at the most critical juncture of the game, Posluszny wasn’t on the field for either of the Jets’ big runs, and he also didn’t go 15-for-35 for 140 yards like Blake Bortles did, so he doesn’t deserve all the blame.