The Jets have had their fair share of embarrassing moments this season. The 49ers shut them out at home. The Dolphins, also at MetLife Stadium, wiped them out. But last night, last night was their piece de resistance. Honestly, two years of sometimes slow, sometimes rapid Jets degeneration culminated with a nationally televised, Thanksgiving night debacle so complete that it feels like they won't ever be able to duplicate it: It feels like the one we'll remember them for. The Jets, in front of the whole country, achieved the pinnacle of the Jets experience.
The final score was 49-19 Patriots, but this game went far beyond any sort of final score. This game was the night when the Jets were making such football-follies, pratfalling plays that you couldn't make GIFs enough to catch up with them. This game was the night when the Jets allowed three touchdowns in one minute. This game was the night when Mark Sanchez ran into his lineman's posterior and gave up a fumble that the Patriots returned for a touchdown. (Here's that GIF.) The game was the night when the very next play was another fumble for a touchdown. This game was the night it all imploded.
Afterward, coach Rex Ryan -- who, really, you sort of can't blame for all the fumble, though you certainly can hold him accountable for the general sense of chaos -- was staying the course, doing his usual "we're gonna fight and turn this thing around" routine. Meanwhile, Fireman Ed (who, we remind you, is generally despised by the hardcore Jets fans and is rumored to be a former Dolphins fan anyway), was leaving the game early and deleting his Twitter account. The Jets fell to 4-7 last night, but it felt like they lost four times, maybe five.
NBC said the crowd was cheering for Tim Tebow last night, but that sounds like television talk; it's more likely no one was cheering for anything at that stadium last night. (Tebow has two fractured ribs -- surprise! -- so he couldn't have come in anyway.) But the Jets seemed to have less faith in Mark Sanchez than anyone. The Patriots have one of the worst pass defenses in the league, but the Jets rarely challenged it. They played like they didn't believe their quarterback could do anything. Maybe they were right -- that hilarious-GIF-producing fumble was because of a broken play caused by Sanchez -- but even when the Jets were far behind, they called draw play after draw play. It's often baffling what offensive coordinator Tony Sparano is trying to accomplish.
The rest of the season for the Jets, at this point, doesn't really matter. They'd need to win their last five to have a chance at the playoffs, and even then, it's highly unlikely. (And like they're going to win five in a row.) This season is done. But in terms of Jets history, they accomplished all they needed to last night. Last night, the Jets painted their masterpiece. This will indeed be the one we remember them for.