MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The ball sailed over Sam Darnold’s head and into the end zone. The New York Jets’ quarterback, the 22-year-old this team is resting all its future hope on, turned around and looked at the ball but made no effort to run after it. He then stared back at the line of scrimmage in disbelief as defenders ran past him.
A moment later, offensive lineman, Brian Winters was yelling at Darnold, who apparently had missed the signal that the ball was supposed to be snapped.
The Jets suffered one of their worst losses in franchise history Sunday, falling 26-15 to the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.
Miami is widely regarded as the worst team in the NFL, but the Jets proved everyone wrong. And everyone involved should be embarrassed
The Jets spent their offseason constructing a team built to win now. The Dolphins were gutted in the hopes of losing and rebuilding with a high draft pick. They were the more talented team. They had every reason to be motivated to win, including Adam Gase returning to Miami for the first time since the Dolphins fired him in December.
It didn’t matter. The Jets still lost. Convincingly.
There’s plenty of blame to go around after this humiliation. And everything should be questioned.
Midway through his first season as Jets’ coach, it’s fair to start wondering if Gase’s coaching methods are working. The Jets just got completely outplayed by a lesser opponent in a game they had to have. Sure, the Jets have experienced just about every bad break in the book this season, but there’s no excuse for what we saw Sunday. Gase was out-coached, and the team with the worst point differential in football — they lost their first seven games by an average of 23 points combined — controlled the game against the Jets.
Darnold had his third straight bad game. He finished 27 of 39 for 260 yards a touchdown and an interception. The numbers don’t look so bad, but his decision making was horrible.
Late in the first half, the very next play after a touchdown had been overturned, Darnold rolled to his left on second-and-goal from the 2.
No one was open, but he forced a pass while running anyway. It was intercepted by linebacker Raekwon McMillan. It was the type of mistake that Darnold, a young quarterback, is not supposed to keep repeating. But it’s the third straight week that he’s continued to force the ball when there was nothing there, rather than taking a sack or throwing it away and living to fight another down.
The defense was a disaster, allowing the Dolphins to convert on six of their first eight third downs as they built a 21-12 halftime.
The Dolphins scored only nine touchdowns all season, but they scored three in the first half against the Jets. There was a miscommunication on the first touchdown between Jamal Adams and Darryl Roberts. And Fitzpatrick carved apart the Jets’ coverage on the other two. Yes, the Jets are missing their top five middle linebackers, which makes the defense’s job tougher, but that’s no excuse for this kind of performance.