Let’s not even try to get fancy here: The New York Jets put up the worst effort of the season to date on Sunday against the previously winless Miami Dolphins. There’s not enough applewood-smoked bacon and Sriracha aioli in the world to cover up the taste of that crap sandwich.
Give Jets head coach Adam Gase credit, he tried. Asked after the game if he felt embarrassed by the 26-18 loss, he snapped, “It’s the NFL, man. You can’t be embarrassed by this s---.”
The implication, apparently, was that these things happen, that on Any Given Sunday, Any Given Team Can Win. You know, the standard retinue of cliches that coaches throw up like smoke bombs to cloud the air while they run for the bus.
But there’s losing, and there’s being a loser. You can’t look at the record of this Jets team — 15 total wins in the past 3 1/2 seasons, three straight fourth-of-four division finishes — and conclude anything other than this is a loser organization.
The question of how much this sorry state stems from the players and how much from management will consume the Jets-centric media this week. This is an organization in freefall, one where nobody seems to like or even respect each other very much, and that’s the kind of shaky hierarchy that leads directly to the kind of miserable effort we saw Sunday.
For now, though, let’s focus there, dragging the last of the filthy dirty laundry of this game into the light.
How did this happen? How did the Jets lose to the previously winless Dolphins, a team which — if not actively tanking — sure seems to be spending this season putting in a last-week-of-school effort? How did they let former Jet Ryan Fitzpatrick — the last cat to lead them to 10 wins, by the way — beat them? How do they keep finding new and distinctive ways to disembowel their own fans?
The only way the Jets avoided their sixth double-digit loss of the year — bear in mind, they’re 1-7 — was the fact that Gase kicked a field goal in the final 19 seconds of the game. The Jets, who have now won exactly two of their past 18 games, had 10 penalties on the afternoon and looked as lost and aimless as any team we’ve seen this year ... and we’ve watched Cincinnati and Atlanta.
Le’Veon Bell was ineffective — 66 yards on 17 carries, zero touchdowns — and Sam Darnold was irrelevant, with one touchdown and one interception on 260 yards and an 85.4 rating. The entire offense watched as a misfired snap bobbled out of the end zone for a safety. The defense let Fitzpatrick ball out for 288 yards and three touchdowns, which is not unlike getting smoked on the basketball court by a middle-aged flat-footed set shooter wearing Dolphin shorts and wristbands. You just hope nobody’s watching.
There’s time for the Jets to recover some shreds of dignity. Starting with their next game, against the Giants, the Jets play four of five games against teams with a combined total of four wins. The Jets ought to take at least a couple of those games. If not, they might not be in their jobs long enough to wait for an Uber, much less reach the end of the season.
So yes, Coach Gase. You can, in fact, be embarrassed by this s---. Matter of fact, everyone drawing a paycheck from the Jets ought to be embarrassed by this s---.
You know who shouldn’t be embarrassed? Jets fans. This isn’t their fault. If you know one, have a little sympathy. Drop ‘em a hang-in-there text. Buy ‘em a drink. They could use all the good news they can get these days. After all, they’re only halfway through this march through hell.
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