As the NFL deals with its first (still-growing) COVID outbreak, there was something quaintly reassuring about the frank, howling shittiness of last night’s Broncos-Jets game. Thursday Night Football is supposed to be dumb and weird, and watching the two 0-3 teams duking it out in the toilet, on a Thursday, for the right to become the NFL’s first 0-4 team was a spiritually coherent experience. That the Jets came out of it with their status as the league’s most embarrassing team not just intact but beyond dispute made it all the more fitting.
A team looking to get their season on track could not have picked a more favorable opponent than Denver. The Broncos played without their starting QB or his backup, their best receiver, or co-lead running back, and so were led onto the field by an undrafted QB making his first career start, on the road, on a short week of rest. For any normal team, this would be an ideal opportunity for a season-turning victory, or at the very least a good enough performance to inject some hope into an unusually grim season. The Jets are not that kind of team, though, and so humiliated themselves in heretofore unseen ways while allowing the Broncos to nearly double their season point total.
Let us begin with Adam Gase, who started the season off by mismanaging his best player’s injury and losing him for weeks. The victim this week was Jets first rounder Mekhi Becton, who injured his shoulder last week against the Colts. Becton should not have played or even suited up yesterday, yet Gase activated Becton and then threw him into the action after backup left tackle Chuma Edoga hurt himself after four plays. Becton played 17 snaps in clear and obvious pain before he had to pull himself from the game. Both he and his mother seemed pissed at the negligence.
Meanwhile, Gregg Williams’s defense’s abiding commitment to playing dirty could not stop them from surrendering this fantastic touchdown.
It is helpful to know that Brett Rypien’s throw to Jerry Jeudy was set up by a penalty, one of 11 that New York committed on the night. Six of those were personal fouls and two of those were roughing the passer penalties. The whole strategy of ugly, violent hits was classic Gregg Williams bullshit right down to its obvious failure. Denver coach Vic Fangio was pissed enough that he refused to shake hands with the Jets after the win.
NFL Network’s Steve Smith lit up Williams on the postgame show last night, drawing on his experience playing for the Panthers against Williams’s notorious bounty-era Saints. He got into it a bit with Joe Thomas, and correctly said, “Wherever Gregg Williams goes, the nonsense follows. If it smells like a pig, looks like a pig and it’s oinking, it’s a pig.”
On the merits of his team’s performance and his own irresponsibility and incompetence, Gase should by rights be the most fired man in America right now, but somehow, his job is reportedly not in jeopardy. Williams is also probably safe, because these are the damn Jets we’re talking about here, and they fuck up and stand by the wrong people both as a rule and seemingly on principle. Poor Sam Darnold deserves better than these losers.