Jets eliminated from playoff contention — ‘It’s gut-wrenching’

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SEATTLE — New York Jets quarterback Mike White sat motionless in his locker for several minutes, staring at the playsheet at his feet. Eventually, he reached out his hand to pick up the papers and tear them methodically into small shards, a metaphor for the Jets’ once-promising season.

Sunday’s 23-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field was the Jets’ fifth straight loss, eliminating them from playoff contention and delivering an epic collapse. That extended the postseason drought to 12 straight years, the longest active streak in the NFL and now the longest slump in franchise history. It also closed the season with seven straight losses.

“Stab,” said White. “It’s hard. It’s heartbreaking. All of the above. You can use any adjective.”

The Jets are 7-4 after beating the Chicago Bears 31-10 on November 27. Weakened by a cold offense and quarterback instability, they are in the midst of perhaps the worst late-season plummet in team history. It was his infamous 1-15 season in 1996 that they had such a losing streak after his 10th game.

“No one in the locker room is hurting as much as I am,” coach Robert Saleh said. “At the same time, I know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there’s a lot of really cool stuff this season. But it hurts so much right now.”

With a 4-13 record in Saleh’s first season, the Jets (7-9) were not expected to be strong contenders in the 2022 playoffs, but an early start gave them the biggest surprise. became one. Expectations were high, but everything fell apart.

Tight end Tyler Conklin said: “No one is happy about that. I feel for the fans, I feel for everyone. We wanted this too, but we didn’t play enough and it hurts. It sucks. I know you don’t get… If you have the chance to change that until next season, it will be even more s—tier.”

Saleh said, “Of course, start with me and look at everything from top to bottom.” Crime gets the most scrutiny. They failed to score a touchdown in two straight games. The Jets averaged only 12 points per game while losing five straight games.

“Shocking,” White said of the slump — eight quarters without a touchdown.

The Jets hoped White’s return to the lineup would provide the spark they needed to win the final two games, possibly sneaking into the playoffs. was awarded a wild card entry. But after missing his two games with a broken rib, White was rusty and looked uncomfortable under pressure on Sunday.

In his fourth start since replacing Zach Wilson on the bench, White completed only 23 of 46 passes for 240 yards and two interceptions. He was sacked four times in his career, and he went 3-for-15 in forced interceptions, according to an ESPN Stats & Information study.

He didn’t deny that his ribs could have been a factor in his performance.

“I was cleared to play by the doctor,” he said. I knew, I got clearance from my doctor and practiced all week.I didn’t meet that standard today.”

Same result with another quarterback.

In the last four games (two against Wilson and two against White), the Jets have scored 12, 17, 3 and 6. It shines a light on his offensive coordinator Mike Lafleur, who in 33 games he has scored over 30 points only five times. Conklin said they were sometimes “flat” on Sundays.

Rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson said of the team as a whole, “I feel like we just blew the season.” “We wanted a chance in the playoffs, which I’m pretty sure of.” [loss] It means not going. After all, that’s what we wanted to do and had the opportunity to prove ourselves beyond that. ”

The Jets were out of the game from the start after the defense allowed three straight scoring drives, trailing 17-3. They never really threatened after that, as LaFleur walked away from the ground game and White continued to dub. He went 17 for 40 when he targeted a receiver not named Conklin.

After some fortuitous results last weekend, the Jets received an unexpected shot in the playoffs – “a blessing from the football gods,” said cornerback DJ Reed. I wasted my chance.

Special Teams captain Justin Hardy said: “We had high expectations throughout the season and we weren’t able to live up to those expectations.” I will do it, and I will be embarrassed for a long time.”

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