At the start of the day I doubt many people would have been surprised if they learned in advance that the Jets would lose to the Falcons 13-8.
The Jets defense played an outstanding game. Atlanta didn’t have a drive that netted more than 51 yards all game. The only Falcons touchdown came on a series where a Jets fumble gifted them the ball 47 yards from the end zone. The defense held the Falcons to 3 yards per play and even put points on the board with an early safety that gave the Jets a 2-0 lead that lasted into the second quarter.
It says a lot about the Jets offense that I seriously wondered at that point whether the Jets’ best chance to win was by a 2-0 final score. Of course that would be an unrealistic thing to expect from any defense. I guess it also says a lot about this Jets team that it needs unrealistic things from its defense to win games. Losing with a defensive performance like that should be unfathomable. Yet in this game it was expected.
It doesn’t matter what the Jets defense does. The offense will not do enough to win football games.
While Zach Wilson was starting games for this team earlier in the season, I was adamant that he wasn’t the only problem. I’m not saying he was playing particularly well, but it was clear that pulling him from the lineup was not going to fix this offense.
On some level the Jets season really ended four plays in, even if we were provided with enough to hope otherwise until a few weeks back. Still, it shouldn’t be this bad.
Tim Boyle is a good microcosm of this. Expectations should be low when the third string quarterback steps into the lineup. But even a number three signal caller shouldn’t be this bad. Boyle doesn’t look like he’s even capable of running a scaled back version of any offense. He can’t make reads, and the few times he is willing to push the ball down the field are ill-advised. I’m struggling to figure out how anybody scouting him thought he was a player worthy of a roster spot in the NFL. I understand less how he got a second start after an uncompetitive debut against the Miami Dolphins.
This ultimately speaks to a broader problem with the offense. You can’t expect much with this team. The quarterback situation is a mess. So is the offensive line situation. So is the wide receiver situation. Still, it shouldn’t be THIS bad. I’ve seen plenty of hopeless situations personnel-wise (many of them with past Jets teams), and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything reach the depths of this current Jets offense. It’s a personnel failure. It’s a scouting failure. And it’s a coaching failure because even with this lack of talent, it feels like the Jets are underachieving.
This might be the first time I’ve ever seen the Jets take the ball with less than two minutes in the fourth quarter needing a touchdown to win and thinking there was no chance of it happening. It’s impossible for this team to put together a drive right now.
Maybe that isn’t the worst thing in the world. I don’t know the Jets scoring a touchdown to win the game would have accomplished much other than notch a win against a mediocre opponent. We know this team is fundamentally broken whether or not it puts another victory or two on the board between now and Week 18.
What I do know is Woody Johnson has a history of reading too much into meaningless late season wins and allowing them to influence his decision-making. When the Jets get on a run in December in a lost season, the owner has a way of taking it it as a meaningful sign the team actually isn’t that far off.
There have been years where I’ve been ambivalent about the Jets winning games after falling out of the Playoff race. I get the idea of trying to improve Draft position, but the reality is most years the outcome of dropping a few Draft slots has little tangible difference. If the Jets lose and improve their Draft positioning, cool. If they win, it probably won't hurt them much. I could go either way.
In fact the only time I can remember actively rooting against the Jets late in the season was in 2020 when the prize was Trevor Lawrence. That was a case where the difference between the first and the second pick had an outsized significance.
This situation is looking more and more like the second time for me. My focus isn’t on the Draft pick this time. I simply believe the franchise is in need of a course correction, and I fear wins could lead to retaining coaches and members of the front office who should depart. The Jets are fundamentally broken, and I see less and less of an argument each week that the people running the team are capable of fixing things. After all, their decisions got us to this point.