It would be foolish to describe the Jets loss to the Patriots in Week 7 as anything other than an unmitigated disaster. Losing 54-13, the team had a performance reminiscent of the abysmal Adam Gase era. The team mustered a total of 251 yards in the passing game while their leading rusher only managed 37 yards. In addition, the Jets defense collapsed against a lackluster offense; Mac Jones threw for over 300 yards while three different Patriots running backs found the end zone. New England accounted for 551 total yards of offense, coasting to an easy victory.
To lose this game, this way, coming off a bye week only makes the loss more miserable. After touting their “adjustments” and promising an “energetic effort” against New England they simply came out flat. They fell back on the same play calls and personnel that has not worked for weeks. Mike LaFluer started Zach Wilson’s first series with a two runs and a pass, resulting in a three and out. LaFluer did design some touches for Elijah Moore, but he still limited the playing time of Denzel Mims and relied on Ryan Griffen too much. Overall it looked like the same inept offense with the same uninspiring game plan.
On the defensive side, the Jets did not rely on the gameplan that limited Mac Jones in the Week 2 matchup. They allowed Jones to complete easy passes to his RBs and did almost nothing to stop Damien Harris on the ground. From the looks of it, the Jets were unprepared for what the Patriots offered on the offensive end.
To make matter worse, Zach Wilson suffered a sprained MCL in the game that will leave him sidelined for 2-4 weeks. It is a crushing blow to a team that desperately needs their quarterbacks to take as many reps as possible.With the Jets losing their quarterback and looking overmatched in every phase of the game, the coaching staff must now search for answers. Robert Saleh said that the team’s performance “starts with coaching” first.
“Obviously we’ve got to be better. They punched us in the freakin mouth and scored points, so credit to them. That’s it,” said Saleh. “I always look at me first, look in the mirror, see what we can do. Did we chase something. I always look inward. I’m going to challenge everybody to look inward. Look at yourself first before you start pointing the finger and searching for reasons why… It’s about individual fortitude and individual reflection, trying to find a way to get things fixed.”
Morgan Moses said that the team needs to find a way to “execute” on the offensive end of the field. “It can’t be ten people and it can’t be nine people, it has to be all eleven. It takes all eleven and that is why we have eleven people on the field at one time. To be able to make sure we have everything covered, and I don’t think it is an effort thing,” said Moses. Sheldon Rankins echoed the same sentiment for the defense saying, “We have to own that tape. We have to own the fact that we have the opportunity this week to correct those mistakes and come back next week and put out a better showing.”
Despite Saleh looking inward for improvements, he still has faith in the players and their abilities. “I know we got the right men in that locker room. I know we got the right people in that locker room. I know we’ll come back strong. But we’ve got to get it going,” said Saleh.
For all of the Jets’ massive struggles this year, it’s important that Saleh and his players are still focused on the process of improving week to week. They are not dwelling on previous mistakes and losses, but rather on the optimism that the next game brings. Yet, it is approaching a point in the season where the optimism needs to turn into results.
With all of this being said, it is very important to not completely overreact to the coaching staff’s struggles. Saleh and LaFluer were both highly sought after candidates, and only have six games under their belt. Struggles were to be expected for both, and they must be given more than a season to develop. If the Jets continue to look like that the rest of the year and fail to show true improvement, the questioning of their coaching staff’s ability will be deafening. Time will tell what will happen for Saleh and Co, but the debacle against New England showed how far away the Jets are from being a good team.