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In the pantheon of terrible, disgraceful, putrid and unforgivable Jets losses—and there are many of them—the loss to the Bills on Sunday will go down as one of the most terrible, disgraceful, putrid and unforgivable in team history.
The game will likely cost coach Todd Bowles his job. It should.
Moreover, the Jets’ 41-10 loss to the Bills should prompt the organization to take a hard look at everything it does. If you think this is solely a coaching issue, it’s not.
To get a sense of how bad Sunday was for Bowles and Co., consider that Buffalo started a quarterback—Matt Barkley—who hadn’t played a regular-season game since Jan. 1, 2017. Amid a rash of injuries and poor quarterback play, Barkley, in fact, was the Bills’ fourth different starting quarterback in their last five games. And yet he was able to complete 15 of 25 passes for 232 yards and throw two touchdowns without a turnover.
Truth be told, it wouldn’t have mattered if it was Charles Barkley at quarterback for the Bills; the Jets still would have lost.
Hell, the Bills even got off a touchdown pass to 320-pound offensive lineman Dion Dawkins. He’s now second on the team in receiving touchdowns.
The Jets should sign him.
Buffalo had not scored more than 13 points in any of its previous six games. The Bills may be a joke, but the Jets are a punchline.
It’s not a phrase to be used lightly, but in this case, it’s accurate: The Jets quit. At least the players did Sunday. The only thing missing was an Expedia vacation promo code.
Bowles should pay the price for this performance. It’s the kind of defining coaching moment that almost always leads to a firing. I’m not rooting for it; it’s just a fact.
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Buffalo entered this game averaging a league-low 10.7 points a game. This was the type of matchup Bowles should win in his sleep. The fact Jets players didn’t care was a clear statement about what they think of their head coach.
But as mentioned above, this isn’t solely Bowles’ fault.
The Jets roster is average at best. Look at how they’ve drafted compared to another constant dreg, the Browns. Cleveland drafted quarterback Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, Nick Chubb and linebacker Genard Avery this year alone.
The Jets, who drafted Sam Darnold this year, have some additional talent in safety Jamal Adams and linebacker Avery Williamson, but that’s basically it.
More important, the Browns recognized their team—and Mayfield, in particular—was not progressing under Hue Jackson. So they decided they needed to make a change. A potential franchise quarterback is just too valuable in this league to let him suffer under a coaching regime that isn’t helping, that doesn’t have the players’ support. The Browns saw that and made a move, even if the other half of the move (hiring a new full-time head coach) likely will need to wait until the offseason.
The Jets need to figure that out, too. And they need to understand, like the Browns did last season, that sometimes the problem reaches into the executive offices, as well. Cleveland hired John Dorsey and is starting to enjoy the benefits of an overhauled roster. It’s probably time for the Jets to follow suit and remake their front office.
For now, for right now, the issue is Bowles. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY reported Jets CEO Christopher Johnson declined to speak with reporters about Bowles’ future.
When you don’t even get a phony pledge of support from Johnson, well, we can see where this is going.
So can the players. As cornerback Morris Claiborne said:
Ralph Vacchiano @RVacchianoSNY
Jets CB Mo Claiborne: “We laid down. … I can’t believe it. I wish I had an answer for you.”
This was bad. Really bad.
Even for the Jets.