After six straight losses, the New York Jets ended their streak to begin another, a deserved 27-24 road win against the Buffalo Bills Sunday. It’s just one win. It could extend or be their last of this 2018-19 season, but it’s an important win nonetheless.
The Buffalo win shows that there is a buildable foundation. It shows that there is an upside to this 4-win, 9-loss season. How they close out this season on both sides of the scoreboard is an indication of who the Jets are as a team.
Besides facing the Houston Texans Saturday and the Green Bay Packers the following Sunday, both home games, closing out the season on the road against the New England Patriots, their final three games this season pitting them against three of the league’s best quarterbacks, two of the league’s best teams, the Jets face a crossfire of issues that can only be described as complicated.
Much like the president’s claim that Mexico is paying for the construction of his wall is being forgotten. Also forgotten is that the Jets have a rookie quarterback, Sam Darnold, who’s getting pro on the job experience. Even though he was overly successful in Game 1 against the Detroit Lions, a 48-17 win, there have only been three more. But to Darnold’s credit, each of those three wins, 34-16 against the Denver Broncos and 42-34 against the Indianapolis Colts in Weeks 5 and 6, and Sunday’s closing-seconds touchdown to beat the Bills, validates the Jets’ efforts to choose Darnold with the third pick in the draft.
Jets head coach Todd Bowles explained their plan before the start of the season. “Our goal is take one game at a time and get to the playoffs, and win the Super Bowl, and that’s our expectation,” he said. “That’s what it was last year. Going into Week 1. It’s no different for us.”
Taking one game at a time has gotten lost behind Bowles’ words about playoffs and a Super Bowl. Each team says they expect to make it to the postseason, the Super Bowl. Before the season begins and the losses mount, it is possible.
Bowles has become the fall guy, the target for the Jets’ 4-9 record. Pregame and postgame shows discuss his departure. He now takes interviews with media members that are cordial, and then they predict his demise, his end, his impending firing within their summation.
Since his arrival here in 2015, Bowles has guided this Jets team with used and after-market parts. They’ve had serviceable quarterbacks, but not franchise players. Finally, the Jets have one in Darnold who himself had to miss three games in the middle of the season.
The Jets could finally be on their way to being successful, but Bowles, who signed a contract extension earlier this year to the 2020 season, has been put on the hot seat by fans and the media. List of replacements are being published. There has been no announcement by the team or Bowles.
“A coach can have the perfect game plan, and if players aren’t implementing it, at the end of the day, it falls on him,” said Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins. “The coach is ultimately going to be the one to take all the blame.”
Veteran QB Josh McCown who filled in for Darnold believes that the players should take the calls for Bowles’ firing personally.
“We’re all connected in this thing,” stated McCown. “We all go out there and represent the Jets on Sunday. When things don’t go the way you wanted them to, you got to look inside yourself, each man, and figure out what can I do to make a difference and make it better and take responsibility for it.”
Jenkins also understands the connection. “There’s times where we definitely feel like we’re directly tied to coaches’ jobs, whether it’s success or whether it’s failure,” he said.