EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Luke McCown said he didn't see this coming.
Jack Del Rio sure didn't, either.
Whatever the expectations, what happened to the Jaguars Sunday fell far, far short, and left a disturbing aftertaste, with McCown – in his second game as the Jaguars' starting quarterback -- throwing four interceptions in a 32-3 loss to the New York Jets in front 78,834 at MetLife Stadium.
It started rough for the Jaguars, and on a picturesque mid-September day on which the defense played well at times, it never got better.
"That was not what anybody envisioned coming up here," Del Rio said.
Particularly not McCown, who after completing 17 of 24 passes in the regular-season opener against Tennessee, never appeared comfortable against one of the NFL's best, most-exotic defenses.
McCown, an eight-year veteran making his ninth career start, completed 6 of 19 passes for 59 yards and threw four interceptions, two in each half.
"It was one of those days where it was honestly nothing they were doing," said McCown, who was replaced by rookie Blaine Gabbert to start the fourth quarter after completing one pass in the third quarter.
"This was on me, and I'll do better."
Gabbert, the No. 10 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, completed 5 of 6 passes for 52 yards and had a passer rating of 102.8.
Del Rio said as of late Sunday afternoon, no long-term decision had been made about the quarterback position.
The Jets had 15 first downs to 11 for the Jaguars and finished with a 283-203 advantage in total yards. The Jaguars stayed close in the first half, mostly because of a defense that limited the Jets and intercepted quarterback Mark Sanchez twice.
The Jaguars' only points came on a 55-yard field goal by kicker Josh Scobee in the first half.
"It was a bad day for us," Jaguars wide receiver Mike Thomas said. "Not much to say about it – just a bad day."
While McCown accepted full blame, teammates said it was far from that simple.
"It's on the offense," Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew said. "One guy is not going to win or lose a game. We have a saying, 'If Luke throws that ball up, we've got to go get it. It's ours.' It was a team effort. On offense, we didn't do our part.
"No matter what happened, we lost the game as an offense."
The Jets dominated the first half, after which the Jaguars trailed by 12 points – 15-3 – and were fortunate to be that close.
Not only did the Jets score on their first drive – a six-play, stunningly quick 65-yard drive that ended with a 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes – they upped the lead to nine points with a safety on the Jaguars' first drive.
The safety came when Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson sacked McCown, grabbing the Jaguars quarterback at the goal line and throwing him into the end zone.
The Jaguars inched to within six, 9-3, when Scobee kicked a 55-yard field goal through a swirling wind with 3:02 remaining in the first quarter, but turnovers kept Jacksonville from getting closer before halftime.
The Jets pushed the lead to 12-3 with a 38-yard field goal by Nick Folk early in the second quarter, then extended it to 15-3 with a 45-yard field goal by Folk 26 seconds before halftime.
McCown threw two second-quarter interceptions. One ended a Jaguars drive at the Jets 3 when Antonio Cromartie intercepted a pass overthrown to Mike Thomas, and the other ended a drive late in the quarter when safety Eric Smith intercepted McCown at the Jaguars 45.
Folk's 45-yard field goal followed shortly thereafter and put the Jaguars in a two-touchdown hole entering the half.
The Jets pushed the lead to 29-3 with a pair of touchdowns 2:10 apart late in the fourth quarter – an 11-yard pass from Sanchez to tight end Dustin Keller and a 1-yard run by Shonn Greene. Greene's touchdown came after Antonio Cromartie returned an interception to the Jaguars 1.
McCown threw his final interception on the ensuing drive, after which Gabbert entered the game.
And while the quarterback will undoubtedly be a topic this week, what the Jaguars focused on afterward was moving forward, something they did often last season. The Jaguars last season lost four games early in the season by 25 or more points, and recovered to move into first place in the AFC South late in the season. Now, they face a similar task.
"Last year, it was the same story, but then it was the defensive playing terrible," Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. "If you don't come to play as a team, this is what will happen. We'll bounce back. Regardless of what we did on defense, we still have work.
"Now, we have to focus on Cam (Newton) and the (Carolina) Panthers."
In other Jaguars news:
*DE Aaron Kampman, out the first two games of the season with a knee injury that forced him to miss the last half of last season, will not return against Carolina next week, Del Rio said.
*The Jaguars also played Sunday without CB Derek Cox (chest), TE Marcedes Lewis (calf) and wide receiver Jason Hill (hip). Del Rio said more will be known about the status of those players later this week.
*RT Eben Britton, who missed the regular-season opener with a back injury, returned and played about 10-to-15 plays as a tight end. Del Rio said while he was able to play, he was not yet ready in terms of conditioning to play a full game. Del Rio said that could change by next week.