It’s like Rex never left.
The Jets threw (and fumbled) away Thursday night’s game against the Bills, in a fashion eerily reminiscent of the way they played in 2014 -- Rex Ryan’s last season in the Big Apple.
This time, though, Rex was on the opposing sideline, coaching victorious Buffalo. The only thing worse for Jets fans than their team bumbling to a 22-17 defeat against their former coach was watching it happen while Ryan and his players were adorned like the new Starbucks holiday cups we keep hearing way too much about. No wonder the loss left Gang Green seeing red.
If, as Bill Parcells said, you are what your record says you are, his former team (OK, one of the many) isn’t very good after dropping three of their last four following a very strong start. In fact, at 5-4, they're exactly as good as the not-too-good Bills, although Buffalo’s win gave them the edge on the Jets in the AFC Wild Card race.
The Jets made it easy for the visitors at MetLife Stadium, offsetting an impressive effort by their defense -- which had slipped in the past few games after being the NFL’s best through the first quarter of the season -- with costly turnovers and boneheaded play-calling.
Despite a first half in which it appeared as though Ryan Fitzpatrick might have been better off throwing with his left hand -- injured thumb and all -- than his right, and Chris Ivory continued to run like he was in mud, the home team had a shot at pulling out the win in the closing minutes.
Down by five with five minutes left on the game clock, the Jets got a miracle worthy of the game’s absurd Christmas getups when Buffalo punter Colton Schmidt was unable to get a kick off, surrendering the ball deep in his own team’s territory.
Just 13 yards from the end zone, the Jets began the possession with promise, as Ivory -- who, like Fitzpatrick, came storming back in the second half -- took the ball to the 5-yard line. Then, within spitting distance of a TD and just two yards from a first down, Chan Gailey fumbled mentally.
A second-down run by Ivory got stuffed for a 1-yard loss. A third-down short pass play to Eric Decker went nowhere. OK, somewhere -- another 1-yard loss. Then, on fourth down, Fitzgerald’s throw to Kellen Davis sailed past the tight end, effectively ending the game.
That drive summed up the Jets’ rough night. The Bills didn’t need to do much, because the Jets were all too willing to beat themselves.
A few weeks ago, Gang Green looked like one of the best teams in football. Now, they look like 5-4, whatever uniforms they’re in.