At some point in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s game between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots, I entered the realm of quantum dread. Maybe it was the cost of celebrating narrowly averting an apocalypse over the weekend. Or, maybe, it was the fact that the Patriots were dangerously close to tying the score with just a few minutes left to play. Either way, I couldn’t shake the feeling the universe was unsure which team deserved to suffer more, and as a result all of us could be staring down overtime and another extended stay at the Holiday Inn: Purgatory.
Fortunately, some things remain constant in a cosmos filled with unending chaos:
We have an answer. Patriots 30, Jets 27. Never underestimate the Jets.
This information is worth repeating in non-tweet form: For the first time in this team’s history—a legacy that is not short on futility, butt fumbles, and other failures—the Jets have gone 0-9. They are now on a streak! Of five straight losing seasons. Somehow, this team took a 10-point half-time lead over an equally inept-looking Patriots and closed out the final quarter with four plays for three yards, controlling the ball for a total of 1:24.
You may say that’s an impossibility. I would say that’s the equivalent of not making it to the bathroom in time to avoid vomiting on yourself at your own birthday party. That is the Jets, in particular Adam Gase’s Jets. They make the impossible seem mundane and grotesque, they are the uncle who always can find a new way to fuck things up.
The Patriots came into Monday’s game on the losing end of several failed comebacks this season—a last-second fumble against Buffalo last week, and botched redemption stories against Denver and Seattle before that. Cam Newton played a dialed-down game, yet still slipped up on third-and-1 on a crucial fourth-quarter drive, setting up New England for a field goal. Naturally, that’s when the Jets decided to pick up a penalty for having 12 men on the field during a field-goal attempt, giving the Patriots another shot at the end zone.
Friends, this team is very special. How can you explain them still managing to lose a game in which Joe Flacco threw for 262 yards with three touchdowns, including a slick 50-yard pass to Breshad Perriman?
OK, yes, you could say he’s … Joe Flacco. The same Flacco who fired on all cylinders to take a 28-yard sack from the Dolphins a few weeks ago. The same Joe Flacco who ended his record-setting night—he’s now 20th on the NFL’s all-time passing list, edging past Joe Montana—by tossing an interception and going three and out. It was at this point the universe declared it had seen enough.
Facing such novel and historic depths of losing, it’s likely the Jets wanted to hit the accelerator on their way to the CHUD tunnel and the possibility of rejuvenation through the draft. Given that communal urge to tank, is it possible somewhere in the twisted recesses of Jets Nation there was any belief the Patriots would throw the game just to screw them over? The idea that Newton’s continued erratic play was part of a Bill Belichick scheme designed to steal the most precious thing to the Jets: hope.
That can’t possibly be real, right?
Congratulations, Trevor Lawrence. Gaze upon your future and contemplate another bout with COVID-19 as an alternative. For now, the Gase Face continues unabated, and he’s running out of inspirational quotes. “We’re just not finding ways to win,” he told reporters after the game.
The Jets now ride off into the bye week for contemplation. Maybe this is when Gase will finally be shot into the sun, signaling the rise of the blood moon and the beginning of the Gregg Williams era. Do not doubt this Jets team; anything could happen.