After Eli Manning threw the Giants’ game away, it wasn’t going to be easy for the Jets to wrest away the New York tabloids’ back pages. Well, not only does Ryan Fitzpatrick appear on both this morning, but his achievement was so singular, they were forced to go with the exact same headline: “Pick Six.”
Fitzpatrick tossed six interceptions in the Jets’ 24-3 loss to the Chiefs, and it’s worth appreciating just how rare that is. It’s only happened 24 times since the merger, and not since Peyton Manning did it in 2007. (Tom Tupa, in 1989, was the last to do it without throwing for a touchdown.) But aside from a sprinkling of hall of famers (Joe Namath was the last Jets QB to do it, in 1975), this is not a list filled with luminaries.
This was not what either side was picturing when Fitzpatrick’s long contract standoff with the Jets came to an end, but it might be telling of the Jets’ logjam of mediocrity at quarterback that a six-INT afternoon isn’t even close to enough to get Todd Bowles to think about a QB change. “There’s no question” Fitzpatrick is the starter, Bowles said. “The trust is the same. He had a bad day at the office.”
Here’s what that bad day, which garnered the worst single-game grade Pro Football Focus has ever given out, looked like:
So, yes, the Chiefs’ defense is a good one. And playing in Arrowhead is tough. And yes, as Fitzpatrick noted, the picks started piling up late, with the Jets well behind, when he was trying to force some throws in desperation.
But Fitzpatrick’s disaster day overlapped with a larger Jets problem. Four trips to the red zone against Kansas City resulted in a field goal and three interceptions, and the Jets are now just 5-for-14 in the red zone this season. Yesterday, Brandon Marshall mused that “we may be getting too cute,” and that’s probably a shot at offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s gameplan. When the Jets were threatening, they completely went away from their strengths. Fitzpatrick forced balls to receivers not named Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, and they seemed to forget they were allowed to run the ball. It was a total team failure, as Bowles acknowledged.
“It was a bunch of people, starting with the coaches,” Bowles said. “It was just a shitty game plan, shitty execution, shitty all around. I’m stung, disappointed, pissed off, mad.”
Where the Jets are is 1-2. I don’t know how the Bills dominated that game, but they’re 1-2 also. Ditto the Dolphins, who needed the Browns to Brown repeatedly to get there. Meanwhile the goddamned Patriots are 3-0, one game away from getting Tom Brady back, and the rest of the AFC East remains predictable and predictably inept.