The Jets came out flat in a must-win situation, falling into an early 14-point hole as their playoff hopes were extinguished with a disappointing 23-6 loss at the Seattle Seahawks. Former Jets quarterback Geno Smith threw two first-half touchdown passes to his backup tight ends, and that proved enough to outpace the Jets and the returning Mike White.
White, who suffered broken ribs three weeks ago, moved the team quite well in the first half but couldn’t get them in the end zone and then struggled to get anything going at all in the second half until garbage time. He also threw two bad interceptions.
In an increasingly disappointing end to the season, the Jets have now lost five in a row and face a meaningless game in Miami next week. Although Robert Saleh’s team battled well to remain competitive after losing some key players to injury early in the season, they’ve looked overmatched throughout the last month and will now have to turn their attention back to how they can regroup in the offseason.
Here are the key takeaways...
- Not for the first time this season, the Jets got off to a terrible start. Kenneth Walker’s 60-yard run on the first offensive snap of the game set up a Smith touchdown pass two plays later. Lamarcus Joyner was beaten for the touchdown after Quincy Williams over-pursued to set up the big run.
- Already being 7-0 down when first taking the field was hardly the ideal situation for White to be facing in his return, especially in a stadium renowned for their distracting crowd noise. A White completion and a Ty Johnson run got the Jets into field goal range on their first possession but then White threw into double coverage and was intercepted.
- Seattle’s next drive quickly moved inside the 10-yard line but stalled there, forcing the Seahawks to settle for a field goal and an early 10-point lead. This was the 10th game this season in which the Jets have trailed by double digits. They even won three of these, albeit that they were all before the bye week.
- White completed a couple of passes on the next Jets drive as they got on the board on a Greg Zuerlein field goal. However, he also missed a couple of opportunities. The lead was then extended to 17-3 on Seattle’s next drive as an improvised pitch from Smith to DeeJay Dallas gained 41 yards and then Smith threw his second touchdown pass.
The Jets’ running game has really struggled over the past few weeks and starting right guard Nate Herbig being ruled out prior to the game didn’t help matters. However, with Laurent Duvernay-Tardif seeing his first offensive snaps of the year in Herbig’s place, they had some good early success. With Zonovan Knight and Michael Carter having struggled recently, Johnson got the start and provided a spark with 46 yards in the first half.
- Once again, the Jets drove into scoring range in the second quarter, but a Duane Brown penalty put them behind the sticks and then George Fant got beaten badly for a third down sack, so they had to settle for another field goal. They got inside the 40 one other time in the first half but turned the ball over on downs as neither team was able to add to the 17-6 score.
- After their early struggles, the Jets defense settled down somewhat, registering three sacks on Smith in the second quarter. Sauce Gardner also broke up two passes. However, they failed to force a turnover once again, despite the fact that Seattle had previously turned the ball over at least once in every game this season.
- With the Jets getting the ball first in the second half, there was a fleeting hope that they could get back into the game if they drove down for a score. However, despite a Tyler Conklin catch and run to get into Seahawks territory, the drive again stalled and Zuerlein missed a long field goal to further demoralize them. Apart from that Conklin catch, the Jets gained just seven yards in the third quarter as White struggled to find any rhythm.
- In a halftime interview, Saleh stated that the Jets needed to run the ball better in the second half. Unfortunately for him, they ran the ball just four times in the second half, losing one yard.
- Jason Myers missed a field goal in the fourth quarter, but White’s second interception set up another attempt which Myers made this time to make it a three-possession game with under six minutes to go and essentially put an end to the Jets’ hopes.
The Jets (7-9) close out the season against the Dolphins (8-8) next Sunday in Miami. A kickoff time is to be determined.