Two weeks ago, the Jets had one of their most miraculous victories in their franchise with their two-minute triumph in Cleveland.
The tide had turned, and the Jets appeared above the crest of the wave.
That was then, this is now.
On any level, bad teams can play a very good game around a series of bad ones.
Welcome to the New York Jets.
Sunday’s 27-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife can prove the point. Yes, we are three games into the season, but the early signs aren’t good.
Bad pass coverage, bad pass rush, bad penalties, bad pass protection. It all added up to a negative afternoon.
The Jets’ secondary, touted as being rebuilt for the long haul, again was burned for three touchdowns, one in which two of their defenders collided, and the Bengals’ Tyler Boyd sprinted 56 yards for a score. John Franklin-Myers was flagged for a senseless roughing-the -passer penalty that kept the drive alive.
That score made it 14-6 and opened up the game. From there, it was ballgame basically over.
Rookie corner Sauce Gardner held the Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase to 29 yards on six catches, but seven other Bengals’ receivers accounted for 269 yards from quarterback Joe Burrow.
The Jets’ D-line sacked Burrow twice, and this was an offensive line that allowed a league-high 13 sacks coming into the game.
There was the confrontation between Jets’ defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, who isn’t having his projected Pro Bowl season,and line coach Aaron Cotton in a face-to-face shouting match.
Quarterback Joe Flacco didn’t have the same zing he had against Baltimore, and he was the victim of four sacks and nine hits. The result was a 28-for-52, 285-yards, two-interception afternoon. He did account for four turnovers with the interceptions and two lost fumbles.
Why is Flacco throwing over 50 times again? Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur has to open up the running game. Rookie Breece Hall looked good, but he only had eight touches for 39 yards. Yes, I know they were trailing, but the run game has to be more of a consistent option.
Hall was one of the bright spots from the summer, and he and second-year back Michael Carter can be a productive tandem.
The Jets know they have a reliable kicker in Greg Zuerlein, who accounted for all of their points with field goals. He’s made six of seven this season.
Head coach Robert Saleh feels the heat. It’s true the team doesn’t have Zach Wilson at the helm, but they have made costly mental mistakes that have doomed their fate with a 1-2 beginning. The team also looked rather listless for two of the three weeks.
“It’s frustrating as hell,” he said in the postgame.“Our vets made critical mistakes at critical times,” Saleh said. “It’s got to get fixed.”
It does, with or without Wilson. If not, the team will be looking at another three or four– at best -win season.
It’s bad, and it can get worse.