Maybe the Jets were never going to win this game anyway. Maybe in the end they weren’t even going to be close. But the truth is their defense gave them a fighting chance to stand up to the defending Super Bowl champions and hang with them for most of the game.
But their offense was just incapable of taking advantage of it.
Yes, it’s the story of the season, but it was really evident on Sunday in the Jets’ 35-9 loss in Kansas City. The Chiefs took a very quick 14-3 lead, but the Jets’ defense held it’s own for a long time after that. And what did the offense do with that? Three field goals and another one blocked.
And even in the third quarter, when the Jets’ defense was holding the Chiefs’ lead at 21-9, the Jets’ offense opened the half with three straight three and outs. In the entire second half, in fact, they had five three-and-outs, one drive that ended with a fumble on the fourth play, and 63 total yards.
This will sound familiar, but the Jets’ problem goes far deeper than who’s calling the plays. They are just bad offensively. Sam Darnold has no weapons (Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman missed this game) and the pass blocking in front of him is often times terrible. They are capable of flashes of decent offense, but that’s not nearly enough in what for everyone else has become a very offensive era.
Again, the Chiefs were going to win this game anyway. The defense wasn’t going to hold down Patrick Mahomes and all those offensive weapons any longer than they did. But given an opportunity to make it interesting, to salvage something out of this miserable season, the offense did what it’s done all season long.
Here are some more takeaways from Loss No. 8:
- In case you’re still paying attention and keeping track, the Jets are 0-8 for the first time since the infamous 1996 Rich Kotite team that went 1-15. That team won its Week 9 game. Up next for these Jets: The New England Patriots next Monday night.
- The Jets’ two worst offensive games have come last week in the two games in which offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains has called the plays. They had 191 yards last week against the Buffalo Bills and 221 on Sunday. And the second halves have been absolute disasters. They had 63 second-half yards against the Chiefs, one week after having just four – Four! – against the Bills. Truly awful.
- More on “How bad is it?”: Patrick Mahomes (31-of-42, 416 yards) threw for five touchdown passes against the Jets. The Jets have thrown for just four touchdown passes all season. In eight games.
- Adam Gase is right: It’s really impossible to judge Sam Darnold given the lack of protection. He is getting hammered particularly from the inside, where center Connor McGovern has been a bit of a disappointment. Darnold was only sacked once in this game, but he was under a ton of pressure. He finished 18-of-30 for 133 yards. That’s a few notches below “game manager” on the quarterback scale.
- The Jets ran the ball reasonably well, especially in the first half before the game got out of hand. Frank Gore and La’Mical Perine combined for 45 yards on 13 carries in the first half. The Jets knew the Chiefs’ run defense was suspect (30th overall) so they came in with the clear intent to run it, even lining up a lot in two tight end sets. It even tilted the time of possession in the Jets’ favor as they held the ball for 17:44 of the first half. Of course, the Chiefs don’t need a lot of time to score.
- Has there been a bigger disappointment this season anywhere in the NFL than Jets tight end Chris Herndon? So much hype, so many expectations, and so much nothing ever since. The Jets threw his direction once in the first half. Then, in the fourth quarter when he made his first catch, he immediately fumbled it away. It seems like a safe bet the Jets will be tight end shopping this offseason.
- So much for Le’Veon Bell’s revenge. He was basically a non-factor against the Jets, carrying six times for seven yards and catching three passes for 31 yards.
- Rookie Jets WR Denzel Mims didn’t do a whole lot (two catches, 42 yards) in his first game as the Jets’ No. 1 receiver, but he did show a flash of why they like him so much on a nice, falling, 27-yard catch in the first half.
- The Jets offense is so bad it’s hard to decipher any trends in Loggains’ play calling. But it does seem like he is far too married to short passes -- although to be fair he doesn’t really have the weapons to let Darnold throw consistently downfield. He also really, really loves wide receiver screens and he stubbornly sticks with them. The Jets ran one on 3rd and 12 in the first quarter that went for one yard. They’re not good at it, so why would the play-caller of a winless team ever throw a pass behind the line of scrimmage on 3rd and 12? They really need to be more aggressive. It couldn’t work worse at this point.
- Rookie safety Ashtyn Davis really struggled early for the Jets, making the start for injured veteran Bradley McDougald. He had several rough moments in the first quarter, including when he got completely turned around and stumbled on a big Tyreek Hill touchdown catch. He got turned around in coverage and trying to make tackles on a few second-half plays, too.
- The Jets believe that Perine (eight carries, 27 yards) has what it takes to be their workhorse running back of the future. He flashed his moves and speed all summer long, but he’s really more known for being a tough, inside runner. That was on display in the second quarter. First, on a failed 3rd and 3 run, he picked up two yards, all with second effort. He just kept going even though the blocking wasn’t there. And he got close enough to allow the Jets to go for it on 4th and 1, and he plowed ahead for two yards and a first down.
- The Jets are going to have a decision to make once kicker Sam Ficken’s groin feels better. Sergio Castillo, who was signed to the active roster so he no longer has to do the practice squad shuttle, connected from 39, 55 and 48 yards. Yes, he had one blocked, too. But he’s got a strong leg and has been pretty reliable. The Jets aren’t going to have an in-season kicking competition, so they’ll have to make a decision on which one they like best pretty quickly.
- It didn’t matter much in the end, but TE Ryan Griffin made an incredible, touchdown-saving play just before halftime. With the Chiefs up 21-6, Castillo’s 47-yard field goal attempt was blocked and the ball was picked up by Chiefs receiver Mecole Hardman. After spinning away from a would-be tackler, Hardman had a clear path to the end zone, but Griffin grabbed his jersey and held on long enough for others to bring him down. If he lets go of the jersey, it would’ve been a 28-6 halftime deficit.