EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Josh McCown went toe-to-toe with Tom Brady for 2 quarters. It was thumb to forget, because both quarterbacks bloodied their throwing thumbs Sunday in what might have seemed in MetLife Stadium.

Yes, McCown and the New York Jets really showed a pulse from the New England Patriots before reminding everybody of who they are — a deeply flawed team that lacks direction and confidence.

The end result was one that left them numb, a loss.

They are playing the string out under the cloud of doom for his training staff and Bowles. It is the worst of times for a losing team in the NFL, but it is hardly a new reality for the Jets, who’ll miss the playoff for the eighth consecutive season. The reduction almost ensures their third losing season.

“It’s losing one game, (let alone) five,” Bowles said of the losing streak.

The Jets have lost 17 of the 22 games under Bowles, who squeezed a decent half from his team. It was 10-10 at halftime, but did anybody think that Bill Belichick wouldn’t even figure out a way to ruin it? Of course not.

It was body blow after body blow. The Jets’ underperforming shield allowed three scoring drives to start the second half, making Brady look like Matt Barkley. (Gallows humor, folks.) The disappearing defense enabled 498 yards, such as 215 on the ground, and failed to create a turnover for its fifth consecutive game — a franchise record.

“Plenty of times the very same problems are recurring,” stated Leonard Williams, insisting they’re nonetheless “a legit defense. ”

They’re not.

Simply put, the Jets have no playmakers on defense. Jamal Adams played a great game, but one security can not change an entire defense. Their deficiencies on offense also were glaring. McCown, starting for the injured Sam Darnold, threw a touchdown into Jermaine Kearse and played with a John Elway-like helicopter onto a third-down scramble. He did a few Josh items, playing with heart that is pure, but the reality is that he had no opportunity.

Where are the playmakers on offense? Where’s the strategy? The Patriots’ run defense was dreadful from the Tennessee Titans, and yet offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates dialed up pass after pass, putting too much strain on his 39-year-old quarterback.

“Yeah, it stinks,” McCown said of the losing. “Obviously, it’s not perfect. It tests who you are. ”

Bowles, also, deserves his share of scrutiny after accepting. The Patriots were called for pass interference in the first quarter. Rather than decreasing the penalty, making it fourth-and-2 from the Jets’ 24, the penalty to make it third-and-12 from the 34 was accepted by Bowles.

Brady made them pay, firing a 34-yard touchdown into Rob Gronkowski to make it 7-7. When you tug on Superman’s cape… well, you know what happens. Bowles trusted his third-down defense, which ranked No. 2 in the NFL during 11 weeks. But let’s take a closer look: In third-and-12-plus situations, they’d allowed five conversions in 25 attempts (20 percent), ranked 28th, based on ESPN Stats & Information.

Bowles played with t gone for it & rsquo; the proportions, presuming Belichick would.

“Third-and-12 are much better odds than fourth-and-2, and we knew they were going to go for it because they generally perform on fourth-and-2,&rdquo. “We had a opportunity in third-and-12. ”

Even if the reasoning was sound, the implementation was poor. Such is life for teams. Brace yourselves for a December.