Heading into last week's matchup against the Patriots at Gillette, the New York Jets were 4-1 and riding a high after their 34-20 demolition of the Washington Redskins.
They weren't as boisterous and rowdy as Rex Ryan's Jets, but they were confident and carrying a sense of poise coming into the game. And it worked. The Jets played the Pats tough (as they often do) and they frustrated Tom Brady and the offense for the better part of three quarters, and they held a 20-16 lead in the fourth quarter.
But then Brady was Brady, and he orchestrated two 10-play touchdown drives to pull ahead, and save for a late gasp with seconds on the clock, the Jets came up short.
Fast-forward to yesterday, and the Jets ran into yet another roadblock, this time in the form of the Oakland Raiders Football Club.
The Jets were swallowed up in the Black Hole, losing a 34-20 game and both of their quarterbacks, and rather quickly the mood down in New York has gone very, very sour. Ryan Fitzpatrick tore ligaments in his left thumb, and backup Geno Smith suffered a left-shoulder bruise soon thereafter, leaving third-string rookie Bryce Petty as the only healthy QB currently on New York's roster.
Both Fitzpatrick and Smith are listed as day-to-day, and although reports detail that Fitzpatrick will attempt to play through the injury, he will need surgery to repair the damage at some point. And Geno Smith with a bruised left shoulder isn't all that different from Geno Smith with two healthy shoulders.
The Jets are scouring the market for a QB to bring in, and where they are today is worlds apart from where they were in the third quarter against the Patriots. And it's not just the offense that's crumbled in the blink of an eye, but it's also their vaunted defense.
Darrelle Revis and Co. yielded 333 yards through the air and four touchdowns to Derek Carr (and 451 yards total) a week after giving up 337 passing yards to Brady (353 total). Overall, New York's D ranks 12th in the NFL in points per game (19.9). For comparison's sake, New England ranks 9th in the league at 19/game even.
Through it all, the Jets still own the 6th and final playoff spot in the AFC. And their upcoming schedule isn't exactly murderer's row: vs. Jaguars, vs. Bills, at Houston, vs. Dolphins.
Still, the Jets will be left to fight for their lives week-in, week-out for the remainder of the season, and they'll have to do so with a banged-up Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the way.
Good luck with that.
Photo Credit: SFBay.ca