Can't win if you cannot convert

If a team fails to keep the chains moving on offense, they simply will not win many football games.<p>

For the third consecutive week the Jets lost, and for the third consecutive week, they scored only one touchdown.

"We have to get into the end zone," said Jets coach Herman Edwards. "I'm not saying you are going to score every time. But if you're down there (deep in opponents territory) you would like to be at least 50/50. You don't want to be one score, and three field goals every time. That catches up with you, it just does. You know you have to score touchdowns."

A big reason for the team's offensive woes is their ineffectiveness on third downs.

That inability to convert on third downs was on display Sunday afternoon in New England, a game where the Jets could only muster one first down off a third down attempt. They finished the contest with an unimaginable 1 for 13 third down conversion rate.

Sunday was a microcosm of the 2003 season, a year where Gang Green is 11-39 converting third down attempts, for 28.2 percent.

It goes without saying that is not a good ratio.

"We try to be about 50 % or above on third downs, and we are just falling short," said Jets wide receiver Santana Moss. "I can't give you an answer on it [what is wrong]. We are trying our hardest to get it done."

This offensive ineptitude is one of the main reasons why the Jets find themselves owners of a three game losing streak, and in sole possession of last place in the AFC East.

Five times on Sunday, the Jets were in good position to score a touchdown, three times they had to settle for field goals, and twice they walked away empty handed.

Their first opportunity came in the first quarter, on a third and two from New England's 24-yard line. The Jets handed the ball off to Curtis Martin; he gained one yard, forcing a 41-yard field goal.

With 10:32 remaining in the second quarter, the Jets found themselves in a third and seven at the New England 21, Testaverde fired a pass to Curtis Conway to New England's 16, leaving the Jets with a fourth and two. Rather than attempting a field goal, they tried a fake, a pass from punter Dan Stryzinski to Kevin Mawae, the ball bounced off Mawae's hand, New York scored no points on this possession.

On their next drive, the Jets had a third and 14, on the New England 30, Testaverde found Chrebet for 9. They kicked a 39-yard field goal.

Then in the third quarter, a strip by Chester McGlockton, forced a fumble on the Patriots 29, James Reed picked it up and ran it to the 13. The Jets could not muster one first down. On third down Testaverde threw a perfect pass that Curtis Conway could not come down with, but there was a question on whether there was pass interference on the play.

If Conway held on, it would have been a touchdown. New York settled again for three.

Once again with the game hanging in the balance the Jets found themselves deep in New England Territory with 7:17 left in the contest, this time New York had a third and three from the New England 24, Testaverde threw incomplete to Santana Moss. New York attempted, and was unsuccessful on a 42-yard field goal.

To put this in a different perspective, New York had the ball on New England's 23, 16, 21, 12, and 24 yard lines, all on different drives, and Gang Green could only come up with nine points from all five of these possessions.

Edwards has a team that is simply not taking advantage of golden opportunities to score touchdowns.

"We missed on some opportunities to cash in on some things that were there to take," said Edwards. "We have to execute correctly, and if we do that, we are going to win games. Because games are to close. We have played in two close games.

"You have to take advantage of the opportunity, you really do. I keep saying that because that's what I see when I watch us play. The team doesn't lack effort, they are playing hard. But when you don't make plays that are staring you in the face then it is very hard to win games."

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