The New York Jets talked all week about flushing away their season-opening loss and showing signs of progress.
It took just one play against the San Francisco 49ers to send all that optimism down the tubes. Afterward, coach Adam Gase's salty language summed up the state of his team, which looked inept in a 31-13 defeat Sunday.
“I’m pissed right now,” Gase said. "That (expletive) is no fun going out there and getting your ass beat. We need to get better fast.”
New York is 0-2 and already looking like a team in big trouble.
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The Jets were not competitive in a 27-17 loss at Buffalo last week. It was much the same against San Francisco, who got an 80-yard touchdown run by Raheem Mostert on its first play from scrimmage.
“We’ve got to find a way to improve really fast,” Gase said of his message to the players. “That’s the No. 1 thing: We have to go find a way to win one football game.”
That might be easier said than done. The Jets are at Indianapolis next Sunday, followed by a Thursday night game at home against Denver. Then they host Arizona.
Things could get a lot more desperate in a hurry.
“It's either we're going to keep getting embarrassed, or we're going to respond,” linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. “That’s what it comes down to. We've got to just get it right.
“This has got to stop.”
This loss was made even worse by the fact the 49ers lost quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, and defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas to injuries.
The Jets are short-handed, too, particularly at wide receiver — Breshad Perriman hurt his left ankle to join the already sidelined Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims — but Sam Darnold and the offense weren't able to do anything against San Francisco's banged-up defense.
“We were just trying to execute, no matter who was out there,” said Darnold, who was 21 of 32 for 179 yards and a touchdown.
New York managed just 277 yards and went 0 for 2 on scoring touchdowns in the red zone.
With the Jets trailing 24-3 late in the third quarter, Darnold found Chris Herndon in the end zone on third-and goal from the 7 — but the tight end dropped what should have been a touchdown. Instead of going for it on fourth down, Gase opted for a 26-yard field goal by Sam Ficken.
“There aren't a ton of great plays on fourth-and-7 when you’re playing that defense,” Gase said. “We thought we had a good play the play before and that’s a low-percentage play. We had our opportunity to score there. Just try to get points, try to get something going. Get some positive juices flowing with our guys.”
Instead, the Jets still trailed by three possessions.
Their lone TD came with 1:23 left on Darnold's 30-yard pass to Braxton Berrios with the game out of reach.
“I feel like we got a good rhythm moving the ball,” Darnold said. “It's just about finishing in the red zone. And it's about having consistent plays on second and third down.”
The defense, expected to be a strength this season, was gouged early and gave up 359 yards — including 182 on the ground.
“We haven't shown progress,” Jenkins said. “It's been rinse and repeat the last two games.”
Earlier in the week, Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said that was the key for him to see this season to evaluate Gase and the rest of the team. While he won't issue a playoff mandate, he wants to see the team look better in all aspects.
The way things are going right now, Gase and the Jets have a long way to go.
“We did not play the game we needed to play,” Gase said. “We didn't do enough as a team to really do anything against these guys.”
The Jets need to prevent pointing fingers, which Darnold doesn't see happening even as the frustration grows among them — and the fans who are clamoring for change.
“We just lost a football game, so no one's jumping around and screaming," the quarterback said. "It sucks. No one's yelling at each other. We understand that we've got to stay together. It's only our second game of the season.
"Obviously, we didn't envision these two games going like this, but we've just got to keep our heads down and go to work and get ready for a tough Indy team.”