Another season, another year of disappointment for Gang Green fans.
That became official on Sunday afternoon, when the Jets were defeated 23-6 by the Seattle Seahawks. The loss guaranteed that the Jets would miss the playoffs for the 12th consecutive season, a franchise record.
The 2022 season has been a roller coaster for the Jets organisation and players. No one expected the Jets to make the playoffs this year, as this was a season for developing young talent and showing significant improvement from Robert Saleh’s 4-13 first season as coach.
They started the season 1-2, missing starting quarterback Zach Wilson due to a preseason meniscus injury. They did, however, go 4-1 in October.
The Jets were 6-3 entering their bye week and were ecstatic after defeating the Bills, with the team looking like it was on its way to the playoffs. During the second half of the season, the team’s fortunes began to crumble.
Gang Green is 1-6 since the bye, as not only has the offence been a no-show the last two weeks, failing to score a touchdown, but the defence has also slipped.
“We feel like we squandered the season,” said Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson. “We wanted a chance at the playoffs, and this means that we are not going.
“At the end of the day, that’s what we want to do, and we have a chance to prove ourselves beyond that. We didn’t get there, so we’re not happy about it.”
The Jets’ loss to the Seahawks on Sunday left them with more questions than answers as the season comes to an end in a week. After a mediocre rookie season, this was supposed to be the year the Jets discovered Zach Wilson.
Wilson not only did not take the next step in his development, but he also took a step back. Wilson went 5-4 in nine starts this season, but he only passed for 1,688 yards, six touchdowns, and seven interceptions while completing an NFL-low 54.5% of his passes.
Wilson was benched for Mike White twice, the first time after the Patriots’ loss in November. The Jets went back to White for the game against the Seahawks with their playoff lives on the line after Wilson’s poor performance against the Jaguars on Dec. 22 in a 19-3 loss.
Not only did White struggle coming off a two-week absence due to fractured ribs, but he also had his worst game of the season. With a passer rating of 47.4, he completed 23 of 46 passes for 240 yards and two interceptions.
The Jets will now not only miss the playoffs, but they will also face quarterback questions once more. Saleh and the team have stated that they will continue to develop Wilson in the hopes that he will mature into their franchise quarterback. But it’s difficult to imagine the Jets coaching staff going into 2023 with Wilson as their starting quarterback, especially with playoff pressure mounting.
Meanwhile, White had a chance to seize the bull by the horns and demonstrate why he should be the Jets starting quarterback not only for the final two games of the regular season, but also for a playoff game and the 2023 season. However, his performance fell short of expectations, and White will be a free agent at the end of the season.
It didn’t help that Geno Smith, the quarterback the Jets gave up on years ago, outplayed White, going 18 of 29 for 183 yards and two touchdowns.
After speaking to the media at the podium, White sat at his locker with his head down, defeated, as the Jets blew another chance to prove why they belong in the postseason party.
“It stinks,” White said of his team’s loss to the Seahawks with a chance to make the playoffs. “It’s difficult, heartbreaking, and all of the above.
“You can describe it with whatever adjective you want. There are certainly moral victories. In the grand scheme of things, we’re still playing meaningful football at this point in the season.
“But also we are at the point where we don’t care about moral victories, we don’t care if we are playing meaningful games, but we know what we are capable of. I know every single person in this locker room, including myself, will use this game as fuel.
“It stings now.”
The Jets’ only option now is to play spoiler against their division rival Dolphins next weekend. The Dolphins, like the Jets, lost their fifth consecutive game on Sunday, falling 23-21 to the Patriots.
Miami still has a chance to make the playoffs if it beats the Jets and the Patriots lose to the Bills next weekend. The Jets will play for pride and to avoid a six-game losing streak heading into the offseason, which will undoubtedly be filled with changes to the team’s roster and possibly Saleh’s coaching staff.
“I believe we have a fantastic young core,” Saleh said. “I look at the first half of our season fully healthy going into the bye week, we are 6-3, and everything is looking up, and then one thing leads to another.
“These last few games haven’t been playoff-caliber football for us. You lose in the last second to a Minnesota team, in the last second to a Buffalo team, and in the last second to the Lions.
“I know we’re getting close. I know we’ve made great strides in the last two years and will continue to do so.”