Here are three things Jets fans can be thankful for:
1. They still play in a league that includes the Detroit Lions, and despite all efforts to give the Steelers their first victory Sunday, the Lions politely declined and settled for a tie. As long as the Lions are in the league, the Jets aren’t the worst football team on the planet.
2. Archival footage of Super Bowl III still exists. That really happened.
3. The Jets have not traded, waived or released Zach Wilson for the last two weeks, as he recalled Mike White’s jersey remaining in the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, as he reminded us throughout the 60 dreadful minutes of MetLife. Football Sunday, is their future quarterback. We can slam the trunk in any quarterback dispute.
Yes, Wilson was the only person on the Jets’ staff to have a good day on Sunday, and when the Bills wiped out the home team 45-17, the 28-point spread didn’t come close to representing Buffalo dominance. A week after being humbled by the Jaguars, there was nothing humble about the way the Bills dropped 53 tire tracks on 53 players. It was rough. It was a complete boat ride in the modern blow-out language.
White came back down to earth, threw four interceptions, collected a gaggle of dirty imperfections, and then was eventually chased out of the game after taking a hard shot on a sack late in the fourth. If a great game does not cement his immortality, then a bad game should not make him unplayable. But it seems everyone can take a deep breath about him now.
“You hope you can learn from it and not let it happen again,” White said. “You have to be able to make adjustments. This is the NFL. The boys are good. ”
Moreover, White was not alone in his grief. Poverty was everywhere. The defense was miserable and, once again, allowed the offense of bills that could not be trucked against Jacksonville. The game still fell in the competitive zone after a Corey Davis catch at the end of the half and a big gain pulled the Jets into the field-goal range.
“We’re just trying to make things right,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “Obviously it’s not good enough. It starts with me. We have eight games left and we have to figure that out.
Please credit Saleh for this: He does not speak happily through these endless Sundays. He is from the defensive side of the ball, and he has coached great defenses and so he is looking at these Jets defenses on a week-to-week basis. But they understand that players can only absorb the blame.
“In our system, ideally, we will get better as the year goes on,” he said, “but clearly that’s not happening.”
The quarterback problem is always a fun problem, a chatty problem, a water cooler and a salon and drive-time talk radio dominates. The grim truth is that Wilson and White (along with Josh Johnson, for Sunday’s garbage time scoring drive, special guest star Joe Flacco) are all channel 1984 Don Marino and it doesn’t matter much. To the intellect:
Now, those numbers could be Mickey Mantle or Ken Griffey Jr. or Jimmy Fox’s top four home-run years. Then those four numbers – an average of 43.8 – are happy numbers. These are not happy numbers. These are the points the Jets have allowed in their last four games to New England, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Buffalo.
In some ways, this free fall came from somewhere; The Jets allowed enough yardage in the first five games of the season but only surrendered 27 points in one game. The defense had an elasticity and code, and the offense (led by Wilson) seemed to be proud to keep the Jets in the game even when they tried to fire every game.
No solution is available now. If the offense is upsetting – and “quarrel” is the most merciful term you can find to describe Sunday – the defense is now a complete co-conspirator to the ugly. Not only are they bad, they are not competitive. This is a tough capsule for any coach to punch, especially one who made his bones on that side of the ball.
“We’ve shown we can be a good football team,” White insisted.
He also showed the other side of the coin. Enough. Too many times. The whole day is Sunday.