FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- If the New York Jets' season continues to crumble, they may look back at the Week 3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs as the turning point. It was the start of their current losing streak and the beginning of Ryan Fitzpatrick's collapse. And the frustration of that defeat erupted in the post-game locker room.
Brandon Marshall and Sheldon Richardson, two of the team's biggest stars, engaged in a heated verbal altercation after the game, ESPN.com has learned. It wasn't physical, according to coach Todd Bowles and Marshall, but it evidently concerned Bowles in the moment because he discussed it immediately with the team.
"I took care of it right there," Bowles told ESPN.com on Thursday. "I addressed the team and I addressed the two guys. It will not happen again."
Bowles said of the dispute, "I was right there, I heard it. It was loud. Yell down there, yell down here. It was no more than a normal training-camp deal. It wasn't anything significant."
The coach said, "There were a bunch of people who had words because everybody was pissed off."
This will be one of the team's challenges as they play out the season. The Jets (1-5) have lost four straight and tensions will rise if the losses continue to mount. It happens often in losing locker rooms.
Marshall downplayed the incident, saying it was just a disagreement between "two Alpha males ... two bulls." He said he cleared the air the next day with Richardson. Bowles noted that Richardson was the first player to congratulate Marshall when he scored the following week.
"It was problem solving, starting off the season really bad," Marshall told ESPN.com. "You guys understand how emotional and how intense the game is. When you come in the locker room after a loss like that and you’re looking at each other, trying to problem-solve, it may not always be the right time. Sometimes you have to give it a day or so for everyone to calm down and cool off and say, 'OK, what do we need to do to solve it?"
The defense played reasonably well in the 24-3 loss to the Chiefs, but the Jets were undermined by Fitzpatrick's turnovers. He threw six interceptions, including a pick-6. Fitzpatrick never recovered from the nightmarish performance and was benched this week in favor of Geno Smith.
The genesis of the altercation wasn't an offense versus defense situation, according to Marshall, who said it was rooted in general frustration.
"Obviously, we had high expectations coming into this year. We still do," Marshall said. "It was not only a frustrating game, but a frustrating start for us. There are moments in teams where you push each other and there’s tension and the best teams find a way through it. You look at Seattle and Richard Sherman this weekend. It's part of the game, the frustration – wanting to win and figuring out a way how to win and communicating with each other the right way."
Marshall was referring to Sherman's sideline tirade with teammates and coaches in the Seahawks' win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Richardson couldn't be reached for comment. He wasn't at the facility on Thursday, as he was excused for a personal reason.
"There were no residual effects, no physicality," Bowles said of the Marshall-Richardson argument. "After the game, everybody was pissed off and you throw stuff. They should be pissed off, but not at each other. It was just one of those things."
Maybe so, but they've yet to win a game since.