The Jets just got shut out by a California team that hung 30+ points on them. The Jets, led by the embattled quarterback who is likely getting his last chance to prove he can be a competent starter in this league, put up less then 160 yards in total offense. The once proud defense is absolutely mauled on the ground. The team is hampered by injuries to the #1 cornerback and #1 receiver, and is stuck with guys like Jeff Cumberland playing major roles in the passing game. An undrafted free agent is stuck playing major minutes at cornerback. Receivers who have no business making an NFL roster are thrust into major roles with a team that has failed to field any depth at all in the position past the injured #1 and the diminutive Jeremy Kerley. The roster looks poorly conceived with little depth. The team has been plagued by turnovers, coughing up the ball 8 times in the first 4 games. The quarterback is a turnover machine. Jets fans are calling for his replacement, for the replacement of the head coach, for the replacement of the GM. The next two opponents are two of the leading playoff contenders in the AFC. Sound familiar?
It should. But it's not October 2014. It's October 2012, and the Jets have just been destroyed by the 49ers, 34-0. It's the last time the Jets were shut out prior to last Sunday. The wheels seemed to be falling off for a team that would eventually finish 6-10 on the year. The next three opponents would be the Texans, the Colts and the Patriots, teams that would all go on to make the playoffs and would finish 12-4, 11-5 and 12-4, respectively. Perfect recipe for utter disaster, right? Well, not so much. The Jets went on to nearly defeat the Texans, then crushed the Colts 35-9, before taking the Patriots into overtime in Foxboro, then succumbing 29-26. The moral of the story? I'm not sure there is one, except that it's never as bad as it seems after a blowout loss, and it's never as good as it seems after a blowout win. The wheels eventually did fall off for that 2012 team, but not right away. The immediate aftermath of the dismal 49ers game was a surprisingly effective, determined, competitive football team giving the best teams in the AFC all they could handle. Will it happen again? Who knows? As they say in the mutual fund industry, past returns are not indicative of future performance. Nonetheless, in this bleakest of times, it might help a bit to remember that time not so long ago when the Jets found themselves in a very similar situation, with similarly poor talent (remember the days of Chaz Schilens and Clyde Gates getting serious snaps at WR?), and managed to look like a contender the next three weeks of the season. Even if the season is already lost, there will surely be some games the rest of the way that shock the NFL and give Jets fans some reasons, perhaps illusory, to hope. It happened in 2012 against the AFC's best. It may be unlikely, but it is far from impossible it could happen again, starting as soon as this Sunday. Here's to deja vu and all that it implies.