Clear eyes… full hearts… can’t win.
The Jets’ 34-28 loss to the Chargers Sunday had the same is-this-train-wreck-season-over-yet vibe as all the rest of the defeats during this darkest of dark chapters in franchise history.
Although every loss brings Gang Green closer to landing Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence next year, watching this slop week after week is quite painful.
Sure, the Jets (0-10) made things interesting with a second-half offensive performance that materializes as often as Haley’s Comet. But raise your hand if you actually believed that Adam Gase’s team had a chance to win when they made it a one-possession game in the final few minutes.
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
No, this was just a different path to reach the same destination.
These Jets have historical B.O.
For the record, the 2020 Jets were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, as if there were any of us on the edge of our seat.
So, it’s been 10 seasons since Gang Green was grounding-and-pounding its way to the playoffs. It’s been a forgettable stretch punctuated by the single worst season in the franchise’s star-crossed 61-year history.
Some perspective: Adam Gase has won one game between last Christmas and this Thanksgiving. And that was a close call against the Bills’ jay-vee squad.
“One of these days,” said quarterback Joe Flacco, who went 15-for 30 for 205 yards and three second-half touchdowns, “We’ll look up at the scoreboard and we’ll have a victory at the end of four quarters.”
Don’t hold your breath, Joe.
Gase, who fell to 7-19 as the HC of the NYJ with a 2-11 record on the road, witnessed some horrific play in the first half that helped dig a 24-6 halftime hole to a 2-7 opponent.
The Jets’ offensive plan hovered between maddening and inept.
The Jets scored a touchdown on their first drive thanks to a blocked punt that set up a short field before unfurling a plan devoid of logic. One game after Flacco was in attack mode in a white-knuckler loss to the Patriots, the veteran was at the helm of a passive, conservative offense that predictably flopped.
A couple weeks after Gase and general manager Joe Douglas made sure anyone within earshot knew that their laughingstock offense would be different with their top three wide receivers playing together, the Jets oddly didn’t get any of their best pass catchers involved in the first half. Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims and Breshad Perriman combined for a grand total of zero catches on two targets before halftime.
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and Gase created a plan that should be Fed-Exed to Canton. Such a terrible script should be under glass for eternity.
The Jets managed 82 total yards and 3.6 yards per play before intermission. Meanwhile, the defense had no answers for Justin Herbert, who shredded the underwhelming unit in the first half. The Chargers rookie quarterback threw for 277 of his 366 yards with two touchdowns before the break.
Herbert, who recorded his fifth game with at least three touchdown passes, picked on a depleted secondary that included two rookie cornerbacks with a grand total of one career start.
Five minutes into the second quarter, the Chargers had run 20 more plays than their sorry opponents. The fat lady was warming up her vocal cords.
But the Jets took a different path that led to a familiar ending. Flacco & Co. came alive in the second half with three touchdowns on their first three possessions. The Jets actually looked like a professional offense for a change.
Sure, the Chargers were the first team in NFL history to blow leads of at least 16 points in four consecutive games, but I digress. There’s no need to steal Gang Green’s joy.
Although the Jets managed three sacks after recording just 11 in the first nine games and held L.A.’s rushing attack in check, they were simply couldn’t keep up with Keenan Allen (16 catches on 19 targets for 145 yards and a touchdown) and Mike Williams (four catches for 72 yards and a touchdown).
Sure, the Jets gave the Tank for Trevor crowd reason to watch the final three minutes of regulation when they started a drive on their own 46-yard line down by eight points.
Was there any Flacco Magic left? Would the Jets no longer be the only winless team in the league?
God, their fans sure hoped not.
Why ruin a perfectly good tank?
The one-win Jaguars didn’t do them any favors by getting trounced by the Steelers earlier in the day. So, it was up to Gase & Co. to take care of business and remain in pole position for Lawrence’s services.
Most Jets fans had faith that their boys wouldn’t let them down.
“We got to get one,” said 37-year-old Frank Gore, who had nearly twice as many carries (15) as anyone else for a winless team for no apparent reason. “You don’t want to go 0-16… especially since this might be my last year. I can’t go out like that.”
Oh, he most certainly can go out like that.
Clear eyes… full hearts… can’t win.
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