Revenge is a dish best served cold, and Doug Marrone got out a frozen slice of bologna for the Jets on Sunday when he decided to go for two against them late in a blowout Jacksonville win.
Let's set the stage here: down 25-12 with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter, with the ball on his own 20-yard line, Jets coach Todd Bowles decided to punt the ball back to the Jaguars. It was a white flag moment. Marrone clearly didn't take it that way. The Jaguars marched down the field, helped by a questionable unnecessary roughness call -- as play-by-play man Dan Hellie noted, things got "chippy" out there -- that gave the Jaguars first-and-goal with the Jets holding no timeouts.
So naturally the Jaguars had T.J. Yeldon run a few direct snap plays, including one on fourth down with 27 seconds left and a running clock. Former Rams coach Jeff Fisher, serving as the color man for the broadcast, noted he would kick in that situation. Marrone had Bortles hand off to Yeldon, who ran up the middle untouched for a touchdown.
And then he went for two.
The play was an incomplete pass from Bortles to Dede Westbrook, but the message was clear: Marrone had no problem putting up some extra points on the Jets.
Let's set the stage further: following the 2014 NFL season, , giving himself a nice little payday (there was a weird structure) and putting him on the open market. He was ; within a few days of the offseason, . And then everything fell apart, perhaps not in small part to Woody Johnson, then the acting owner of the team, reading this cannon blast from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tearing apart Marrone.
Is Doug Marrone the first coach to run up the score on an opposing beat writer?— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) September 30, 2018
Marrone would end up landing the job as offensive line coach for the Jaguars, get promoted to interim coach when Gus Bradley was fired and land the main gig once Tom Coughlin came in and took over the following season. It worked out fine, but suffice to say, he is probably not a fan of the Jets organization.
So was this an intentional running up of the score on a team that spurned him? A spite play late in a blowout game just to rub it in the Jets faces? Hellie and Fisher certainly seemed to think so during the final few moments.
"Well, the, um, chart says go for two," Fisher remarked.
"Are you always following the chart, Jeff?" Hellie asked.
"I would have probably put the chart away and feel pretty good about this game being in hand," Fisher remarked in a knowing fashion.
Marrone himself was asked about the decision to try and pile up points and said his two-point conversion chart told him to go for two in that situation, adding that the Jaguars aren't "good enough to send a message."
However, it was pretty clear that some players felt a little differently. Asked about Marrone's feelings towards the Jets, defensive tackle Malik Jackson said Marrone is not a fan of the team, without knowing what happened between the two parties.
"He doesn't like those guys," Jackson said, via ESPN's Michael DiRocco. "I don't know what they did to him, but he doesn't like them."
Blake Bortles jokingly (?) said "I just work here" when asked about Marrone inflating the final total near the end of the game.
It didn't sound as if many Jets players were bothered by the situation, either, and Bowles -- the man hired when Marrone was passed over -- gave a typical coach-speak answer indicating he was fine with the move.
"I don't tell another guy how to coach his team," Bowles said. "If they run it, we have to defend it."
The Jaguars couldn't have run out the clock, but Bowles had already sort of said "let's get out of town" with his actions earlier in the game. Marrone could have had Bortles take a knee, turn the ball over to the Jets and let them either do the same thing or try and go 99 yards in 27 seconds to make it a one-score game.
Marrone won't admit he had a little extra juice against the Jets, but all signs point to the Jags putting up as many points as possible on the team that declined to hire him several years ago. Keep that in mind the next time these two teams play.