The Jets are wrapping up one of the worst seasons in franchise history — and that’s saying a lot. But before they can back up the U-Haul trucks, endure “trash bag” day and evaluate the roster, they need to try to end the season on a positive.
They owe it to the faithful masochists who can pay as little as $8 for seats in what could be a final send-off for head coach Todd Bowles, and certainly half of the roster.
New York needs to provide a good showing for the tortured fan base, especially after Saturday’s depressing 41-3 loss to the New England Patriots (13-2). That effort was about as low as it’s been for Gang Green (4-11), as nothing went right for them from the onset. New England capitalized on early New York miscues and never took the foot off the gas. Quarterback Bryce Petty was injured in the first quarter, following an effort to make a tackle after running back Khiry Robinson fumbled. That allowed Jets fans to ride the Ryan Fitzpatrick freefall for at least one more time this season, and he didn’t disappoint. Fitzpatrick, of course, threw two more picks and finished 8-of-21 for 136 yards. Petty wasn’t afforded the luxury to match that futility, as he only went 0-of-3 with an interception before bowing out with the shoulder injury.
But to be perfectly honest with themselves, it really wouldn’t have mattered who was under center for Gang Green. The Jets have now lost eight-straight regular season games at New England, and whether it was a healthy Petty or the 2015 version of Fitzpatrick, the result would’ve likely been the same. Simply put, the Jets just aren’t good enough this season to beat most teams. Losers of six of its last seven games would back up that theory.
Wideout Brandon Marshall rejects that claim, but it’s difficult to see otherwise.
“When it rains it pours,” said Marshall, who left the Patriots game in the third quarter with a left hip injury. “It doesn’t mean there’s no talent. It doesn’t mean the players are terrible. It’s just not our season.”
The tough early-season schedule and injuries were definitely complicit, but the main culprit — regardless of what Marshall claimed — was the lack of talent on this roster. Sure, there are big names on this team, like Marshall, former All-Pro center Nick Mangold and future Hall of Fame cornerback Darrelle Revis, but all are past their primes and have dealt with injuries throughout.
That 17-point spread in favor of New England proved to be quite a generous show of respect towards a Jets squad that has had the looks of a team mailing it in for weeks. The talent gap is as wide as it’s ever been in this series since the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady tag team took the division and league by storm. New York is simply playing at a great disadvantage every time they take the field against New England. That tight 22-17 defeat to the Patriots in Week 12 now seems like an anomaly.
The word embarrassed was immediately bandied around following Saturday’s loss. Fitzpatrick, who’s seen his fair share this season, addressed that fact.
“To get embarrassed like we did is never fun … as a player and as a man,” he noted, adding he still thinks the team will fight hard to end the season on a positive. “We got embarrassed … but there aren't any quitters in this locker room.”
Whether some in the locker room have already quit is up for debate. But what can’t be disputed is the fact that the 2016 Jets just aren’t good enough.
Gang Green notes:
- Petty hasn’t had very much time to showcase himself and plead his case to be the starter next season, but what little time he’s gotten hasn’t been glowing. So far, he’s tossed just three touchdowns to seven interceptions.
- Regarding the hospitalization of Bowles the night before the game, he said he was dealing with kidney and gall stones, as well as a gall bladder issue. He didn’t pass the stones and noted he’ll have a procedure once the season ends.