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The New York Jets, once hopeful contenders, have found themselves in a familiar, disheartening predicament. The door to the playoffs has slammed shut, marking the thirteenth consecutive year they’ll be on the sidelines during the postseason. The crushing defeat at the hands of the Miami Dolphins sealed their fate, extinguishing the last flicker of hope for a playoff berth.
A Crushing Defeat
Taking the field at Hard Rock Stadium, the Jets were underprepared and outmatched. Their performance was nothing short of disastrous, with the Dolphins asserting their dominance from start to finish. The final score, a grim 30-0, reflected their inability to hold the line.
The Jets’ offensive line, which saw its 11th different combination this season, was the weakest link. They were consistently beaten at the line of scrimmage, giving up six sacks and 14 quarterback hits. This culminated in starting quarterback Zach Wilson being sidelined with a concussion.
“Whenever you get beat up front, it doesn’t feel good,” Jets coach Robert Saleh admitted.
A Season to Forget
The Jets’ offense, which mustered a meager 103 total yards and a paltry 23 yards rushing, was stifled by the Dolphins’ defense. This was their lowest rushing total in over a decade, dating back to 2005.
Leading the defense for the Dolphins was Bradley Chubb, who was a constant thorn in the Jets’ side. He racked up three sacks, forced two fumbles, and recovered a fumble. Lined up against Mekhi Becton for most of the day, Chubb showed why he’s one of football’s top players.
“I’m sure there’s a couple of plays that Mekhi wants back,” Saleh said.
Becton, on his part, attributed their struggle to communication issues.
“We’ve got to communicate better as a whole, as an O line, we gotta get the cadence right,” Becton stressed.
The mood in the Jets’ locker room was somber, with players expressing their frustrations at their dismal performance and their elimination from playoff contention.
Cornerback Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed echoed similar sentiments, bemoaning their elimination and the team’s lackluster performance. They acknowledged the human side of the game, the frustrations and the disappointment, but also the need to persevere and finish the season strong.
Wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard also expressed their disappointment, with Lazard bluntly stating that the Jets were “out-schemed” and “out-efforted” by the Dolphins. Wilson, on his part, stressed the need to adapt and improve, acknowledging the difficulties in finding open space against a well-drilled Dolphins’ defense.
An Uphill Task
It’s no secret that this season has been a struggle for the Jets. With Aaron Rodgers out, their offense has sputtered, struggling to put points on the board consistently. The blame, however, doesn’t fall solely on the quarterbacks. The entire offense, from the playmakers to the play-callers, has underperformed.
As the Jets look ahead, they face the daunting task of rebuilding their offense. They need new playmakers, a revamped offensive line, and perhaps a new quarterback. But arguably the most crucial change needs to come at the play-calling position.
A pivotal offseason awaits for the Jets once again. Anything less than sweeping personnel changes will be disappointing, as the Jets’ offense needs a complete facelift to elevate the team to actual contender status.
The Jets’ journey to the 2023 playoffs may have ended in disappointment, but the real work, the work of rebuilding and improving, starts now. The road to the 2024 playoffs begins today.