The Jets (4-7) didn't just lose on Thanksgiving night; they were embarrassed on national television against their archrival en route to an ugly 30-point loss that virtually ended any realistic chance they had at stealing a playoff spot.
It was the exclamation point on a brutal season for the Jets, who have plummeted into last place in the AFC East.
The Jets stared down an opportunity to make a statement in front of the football world and uplift themselves into a position to make a late-season push for the postseason.
Instead, they inched closer to a premium draft pick.
The Jets definitely made a statement in prime time, but not the type that head coach Rex Ryan had envisioned.
The Patriots (8-3) hung a nasty total of 35 points on the Jets in the second quarter to put the game to bed in the first half, scoring three touchdowns in a span of 52 seconds at one point.
The Jets carelessly committed five turnovers against a team that boasts the most potent offense in the NFL. There are no teams in the NFL that can rebound from five giveaways against the Patriots, who average a crisp 37.0 points per game.
New York needed a clutch performance from Mark Sanchez if they were going to stay afloat, let alone have a chance to win.
Sanchez threw for 301 yards and a touchdown on 36 attempts to pad his stats and keep his completion percentage above 50 percent on the season, but he made two critical mistakes that aided the Patriots in their blistering route of the Jets.
Sanchez threw a first-quarter interception while the Jets were threatening to score first and gain an early edge. It got worse for Sanchez—trailing 14-0—when right guard Brandon Moore was bulldozed off his feet, falling backward into Sanchez, forcing him to fumble.
Patriots defensive back Steve Gregory would take care of business, returning the blunder 32 yards for a touchdown.
The Jets were completely defeated in that moment.
Their entire season was capitulated in Gregory’s fumble recovery for a touchdown. That moment was exacerbated just seconds later when tailback Joe McKnight fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, allowing Julian Edelman to join the party for New England.
The Jets have been outscored by 72 points in their last three losses, remaining highly uncompetitive against average or better opponents.
They often fail to give themselves a chance to win. New York has surrendered 22 turnovers on the season through 11 games, combating the Chiefs’ 31 giveaways to lead the AFC.
The offense is more stagnant than ever, ranking 28th in the league with 310.7 yards of total offense per game while barely averaging over 20.0 points per contest.
A majority of analysts and columnists have chalked up the Jets’ inefficiencies on offense to a lack of playmaker ability, but the Jets have had opportunities to make big plays.
Offensive miscues have defined the Jets' inability to put points on the scoreboard.
The Jets have been relatively successful at getting receivers open in space, but Sanchez consistently fails to time his delivery and rarely completes a pass on cue, turning potential big plays into marginal gains at best.
Inexperienced receivers, such as rookie Stephen Hill, have committed inexcusable dropped passes, one of which arguably cost the Jets what would have been a momentous win against the Patriots last month.
Ball security has suffocated the Jets’ offense, especially on plays in space. The Jets are the best team in the NFL at turning big gains into giveaways, and they didn’t show an ounce of defiance in that regard against the Patriots on Thanksgiving.
The blowout loss ultimately marked the Jets' last legitimate chance at redemption this season. They won’t face a team with a winning record for the remainder of the season, but don’t expect the Jets to mount a late-season rally.
The most dysfunctional team in professional football isn’t staring down an opportunity anymore. Instead, they’re in full-flight crash mode before another offseason of trying to fix the ruins.