Eight games are all any of us needed to see. Midway through Adam Gase's first season as the New York Jets head coach, it's already time for the organization to pull the plug on what is clearly a failed experiment.
Sunday's humiliating 26-18 loss to the Miami Dolphins should settle it. Now 1-7, the Jets were handily outplayed by one of the worst teams in NFL history, and that came after they were outscored 62-15 in back-to-back abysmal losses to the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars.
First-year head coaches can typically afford to start 1-7. Hell, they can usually afford to start 1-15. Only 10 coaches this century have been fired after just one season on the job. But Gase isn't a first-time head coach, and his team isn't devoid of talent.
The Jets have a second-year top-10 pick at quarterback and a big-money free-agent addition at running back. But Sam Darnold has, by all indications, regressed despite Gase's reputation as a purported quarterback guru, while Le'Veon Bell continued a disappointing season with just 66 rushing yards in Miami.
The former led just one touchdown drive Sunday against a defense that surrendered 26 touchdowns in its first seven games. He took three sacks and threw a terrible red-zone interception. Meanwhile, the latter failed to reach the 80-yard mark on the ground for an eighth consecutive game. He entered Sunday tied for last in the league with a 3.2 yards-per-attempt average, and that rate is now just 3.3 at the midway pole.
The Jets are now averaging an NFL-low 12.0 points per game. They're one of the league's most penalized teams (they drew 10 more flags Sunday), and they're the only team in professional football averaging fewer than 4.0 yards per offensive play.
But Gase also loses the benefit of the doubt because the team's decision to hire him was ridiculous to begin with. Again, he'd have more rope if this were his first rodeo, but he was just 23-25 in a three-year flop as head coach of the Dolphins. His offenses ranked in the bottom 10 in all three of those campaigns, and Miami's team passer rating during that span was just 88.2.
The Jets have already fired Mike Maccagnan, who was the general manager at the time of Gase's hire. His replacement, Joe Douglas, has no connection to Gase, who reportedly wasn't a fan of some of the team's most notable and expensive offseason signings.
Sure, the schedule hasn't been kind, and the injury gods have been downright mean. They've already played the unbeaten Patriots twice, and Miami was their first truly weak opponent of the season. Meanwhile, Darnold missed three games due to mononucleosis, and C.J. Mosley has missed all but two outings due to a nagging groin injury.
But while several of their counterparts have continued to compete despite being hit as hard—if not harder—by the injury bug, the Jets have humiliated themselves. Nobody loses to the tanking Dolphins, who had dropped 10 consecutive games dating back to last December.
Six of Miami's seven losses this year have come by double-digit margins, but the Dolphins practically cruised to victory Sunday. They won the time-of-possession battle, shut down the Jets on two of their three red-zone possessions and held New York to just nine offensive points in the final 54 minutes of the game.
But was that even the Jets' most embarrassing experience this season?
Don't forget that Darnold turned the ball over five times and posted a passer rating of 3.6 in an astonishingly one-sided prime-time loss to the Patriots. That came five Mondays after they scored just three points and generated only 13 first downs in a blowout prime-time home loss to the Cleveland Browns.
They and the Washington Redskins have now been held to 17 or fewer first downs in seven games apiece this season. Nobody else has been that futile on more than five occasions this year.
Considering the promising way Darnold finished his rookie season, that's unacceptable.
Gase took the Miami job with a reputation as a quarterback whisperer, and that stuck beyond his tenure thanks in part to an endorsement from Peyton Manning. But after throwing five touchdown passes to zero interceptions and posting a triple-digit passer rating in the final three weeks of the 2018 campaign, Darnold entered Sunday as the league's lowest-rated qualified passer.
He certainly didn't help his cause in South Florida.
But it goes beyond the numbers. It's hard to believe considering the state of the Dolphins and the issues that have plagued the Cincinnati Bengals and Redskins, but these Jets might be the biggest dumpster fire in the NFL.
The team doesn't look inspired whatsoever to rebound. It looks flat, undisciplined and disinterested, which isn't a good sign when there's already chatter that the head coach should be on the hot seat. Do the players believe in Gase? Bell and Mosley have surely seen that report about his thoughts on their contracts, and star safety Jamal Adams expressed dismay regarding trade rumors last week.
The wheels have already come off, and the Jets would be better off if they recognized that and took immediate action. It'd be unprecedented to move on this quickly, but this is the time, especially because they could easily luck into some victories with the New York Giants, Redskins, Oakland Raiders, Bengals and Dolphins directly ahead on the schedule.
The last thing they need is for Gase to give any fans the false impression this can work. The second half of Gang Green's 2019 season is essentially garbage time, and any success should be taken with a grain of salt.
Per ESPN's Cameron Wolfe, Gase said after Sunday's debacle that he wasn't embarrassed by the result. But team CEO Christopher Johnson appears to be frustrated, so much so that he called his team out in a moment captured on video by a fan in Jacksonville last week.
Now Johnson has to go further. He has to fire Adam Gase.
Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL for Bleacher Report since 2012.