That was ugly.
The New York Jets were embarrassed on Monday Night Football against the Cleveland Browns in a 23-3 loss as the absence of Sam Darnold was felt in full force.
The franchise quarterback is out indefinitely with mono, though he admitted earlier this week that he was feeling better and — in a best-case scenario — could be back by Week 5.
He can’t come back fast enough for the Jets.
Backup Trevor Siemian lasted until the second quarter when he was leveled by Browns defensive end Myles Garrett and suffered an ankle injury in the process.
Luke Falk, New York’s sixth-round pick out of Washington State last year performed admirably enough in relief, completing 20-of-25 passes for 198 yards. But he was constantly stalked by a relentless Browns pass rush that broke Adam Gase’s offense.
It was downright putrid. Especially with an offensive line that was as rigid as a piece of paper.
Cleveland recorded four sacks on the night — Garrett with three of them — while the Jets were outgained 376-262.
If it wasn’t for Le’Veon Bell, it would have somehow been much, much worse.
The star running back accounted for 129 total yards in Week 2 (68 rushing, 61 receiving) where it felt as though he was left on an island to evade the Browns defense all on his own.
He did a few times, willing the Jets to their lone scoring drive of the game late in the second quarter.
But the Jets offense without Darnold lacks zero playmakers outside of Bell, which is a big problem for Gase. All the opposition needs to do — as it does similarly against the Giants and Saquon Barkley — is take the ball out of Bell’s hands.
Then, watch the Jets implode.
The defense, which was undermanned, can only hold for so long when they are constantly thrown back onto the field by an offense that could garner little momentum.
With a short week, the Jets’ offense is left scrambling with a daunting schedule ahead.
They head to Foxborough on Sunday to meet the red-hot New England Patriots, who have made mincemeat of their opening schedule.
Tom Brady and Co. have outscored their opponents 76-3. That trend is likely to continue against the punchless Jets.
The following week brings sanctuary in the form of a bye, but if Darnold isn’t right by Week 5, things will only get uglier.
New York meets a pair of NFC East favorites, traveling to Philadelphia to face the Eagles before hosting the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6.
Based on the team’s performance on Monday night, that upcoming schedule without Darnold could very well result in an 0-5 start for the Jets.