Isaiah Crowell offers explanation for butt-wiping TD celebration

CLEVELAND — The pity was, to that moment, the Jets had been playing an almost perfect game. The defense was sharp. The offense, though a little on the conservative side, was making gains running the ball. The two-headed tandem of Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell was making the poets smile.

Then Crowell scored his second TD of the night, a 2-yard run, with just over 7 ½ minutes remaining in the first half. As he had when he scored the first time, he chucked the ball into the stands — something officials now allow without a flag.

What isn’t allowed is what he did before the toss, when he used the football to simulate a hygienic act. That drew a flag. That cost 15 yards.

And in an instant, the whole tenor of the game changed.

A furious Todd Bowles approached him after and told him, sternly, “I understand your passion, but you can’t be selfish!”

A few hours later, as Crowell and the rest of the Jets were absorbing the quiet postgame of a 21-17 loss to the Browns, he shook his head and concurred.

“I agree,” he said. “I can’t do my teammates like that.”

Crowell is a former Brown, and he was playing his first game against the team for which he gained 3,118 yards and scored 22 touchdowns after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Alabama State in 2014. So there were plenty of emotions swirling inside him.

He insists he hadn’t given any thought to making such a statement if given a chance. But he made it anyway.

“It was spur of the moment,” Crowell said. “My passion came out.”

Bowles certainly saw it differently. So did most Jets fans, who have seen enough moments just like this one to be able to identify a potential game-changer in real time.

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