So just to be clear about something we’ve heard, the New York Jets were beaten 41-10 by the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at MetLife Stadium? The 2-7 Bills? The Bills who were starting a fourth-string quarterback? The Bills who had scored only 96 points in their first nine games?
Even during a season where ineptness has symbolized the Jets and New York Giants, getting your butt kicked by 31 points by the Bills must be considered the low among lows.
You have to think the end of Todd Bowles’ reign at head coach is at least being planned. The Jets were listless. Their fans left at halftime. The television cameras had a shot of two that stayed actually sleeping their seats. That’s not a good look.
The NFL Network reported Monday the Jets have no plans to fire Bowles during the season, something the Cleveland Browns did a few weeks ago when Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley had to turn in their company laptops.
Basically, there seems no point disrupting an unsteady situation even more. There is no candidate on Bowles’ staff to even serve as an interim. And indoctrinating a new coach is likely to impede whatever progress rookie quarterback Sam Darnold might make.
The Jets (3-7) are now on their bye are likely will take the time to take inventory. And there is a lot of accounting to do.
Consider what the Bills accomplished. Matt Barkley was signed as a free agent on Halloween, yet he started over both Nathan Peterman and Derek Anderson, who had taken turns replacing injured Josh Allen, the team’s No.. 1 pick who has been out since Oct. 14. Anderson was in concussion protocol.
Barkley was 15-of-25 for 232 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating of 90.2 was the team’s sixth-highest in the last decade. The Bills gained 312 yards and had four offensive TDs in first half, their best first-half numbers since the final game of the 2000 season.
“I evaluate myself. I evaluate the staff. And I evaluate the players,” said Bowles on Monday. “I’ll look at everything going into it. …We’ll come out with the best scenario for us. … But it [the game] was as bad as I thought.”
Saints Wins A Smash For Payton
Sometimes a guy just needs a little peace and quiet.
Take New Orleans coach Sean Payton, for example. You might think he isn’t under a lot off stress. His team is one of the favorites to win the NFC and hasn’t lost since the first week of the season. He has Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. What’s there to worry about?
Well, before the Saints went out and crushed the Cincinnati Bengals 51-7, a loss that cost the Bengals defensive coordinator his job, Payton became distracted with the incessant blaring of a fire alarm inside his locker room.
If you’ve ever pan-fried burgers on your stove top, you know how annoying a blaring smoke alarm can be.
So instead of dealing with noise pollution, Payton did what any other head coach with leverage would do. His smashed the thing into smithereens, remnants of its past life as an appliance littering the floor below.
“I just needed the noise to stop,” said Payton.
Payton said the alarm began shrieking about a half-hour before the Saints were to take the field. And he did what he felt he had to do.
“And I gladly will take care of the repair cost. And I consider the Brown family (Bengals ownership) and that organization as close allies and people we have a lot of respect for, the same way with Marvin (Lewis),” said Payton. “And it was just something that had gone on – and in order for us as we got ready for the game, I thought that was important.”
Lesson learned: Don’t invite Payton to your house if you are planning to pan-fry hamburgers.
Super Bowl Repeat? We Repeat, Not The Eagles
During our preseason NFL previews, we offered the opinion that the Philadelphia Eagles would not defend their Super Bowl title because its impractical, if not impossible, to expect everything to roll your way again.
After watching the Dallas Cowboys beat them 27-20 at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, knowing the Eagles were coming off their bye week, we are now absolutely certain the Eagles are out of the running. And we don’t just mean for league championship. We mean the postseason, too. What else can you conclude about a team that’s lost three straight at home?
Perhaps this may sound like an excuse, but the Eagles offense hasn’t been the same since offensive coordinator Frank Reich left to coach Indianapolis and QB coach John DeFilippo became the OC of the Minnesota Vikings. Did you know that the Eagles have scored in the first quarter only twice this season?
And just think, everyone had the Cowboys on their eight-count after Tennessee whipped them 28-14 the week before.
“When you’re feeling low and you’re seeing the Grim Reaper and then come in and have your team perform the way these guys did, I promise you it’s a special feeling,” said Jerry Jones, owner and general manager Jerry Jones. “I won’t need any wings on that airplane getting back to Dallas.”
The beleaguered Dak Prescott threw for 270 yards and two TD pass on the road for the first time this season. And Zeke Elliott pounded out 151 rushing yards.
The Eagles and Cowboys are both 4-5, two games behind the Redskins in the NFC East.
Not A Good Day To Be A Patriot
Listen, there is no reason to believe the New England Patriots won’t survive losing 34-10 to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. These things happen and the Pats, defending AFC champions, who had won six straight, are still 7-3 and in control of the painfully putrid East.
But you would have to admit Titans coach Mike Vrabel, who played and coached for The Hoodie, must have known a few things about New England’s defensive vulnerabilities. The Titans delivered a series of physical and emotional black and blues.
And it didn’t take long to make a point. Tennessee ran the opening kickoff back 58 yards – a boo-boo Belichick will bluster about this week. That set the pace quite nicely. Heck, it was eventually so bad The Hoodie pulled Tom Brady with 7:06 to play.
If the Patriots have anything to worry about, it’s their diminished chance to have homefield in the playoffs. The Chiefs have a two-game lead. The Pats handed Kansas City its only loss and owns the potential tiebreaker. But raise your foam finger if you think the Chiefs will lose two more times while New England wins out.
“Winning football takes a lot of good performances by a lot of people and losing is the exact opposite of that,” said Brady. “We just played a bad game and you see what happens.”
Former Patriots Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan and Dion Lewis were paying close attention. While Butler and Belichick made nice-nice after the game [we assume you know the deal between these guys about last year’s Super Bowl], Lewis wasn’t as gracious.
Lewis gained over 1,000 yards and scored nine TDs for the Pats last season, but the team was not interested in giving him the contract he felt he deserved. So Lewis took four years and $19.8 million and opened a checking account in Nashville.
“Hell yeah, it’s personal,” said Lewis. “That’s what happened when you go cheap. You get your ass kicked.”
Or you win five Super Bowls since 2002.
The Black Is Blue
The Oakland Raiders are 1-8 and if the draft was held Tuesday, the Jon Grudens would have the first pick.
Of course, not many predicted the situation would be this bleak at this point of the season. And as you would expect, Gruden is getting much of the flak, particularly for trades that sent Khalil Mack to Chicago and Amari Cooper to the Cowboys.
But after the Raiders lost to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, owner Mark Davis took the blame in an interview with ESPN.
“I always look in the mirror and the buck stops with me,” said Davis. “Where this team is now is my fault. We haven’t been able to build a 22-man roster. We haven’t been able to give this team a chance to win because the reconstruction failed. We failed from 2014 on to have a roster right now.”
One of Davis’ big talking points was his staunch defense of Gruden, who returned to the NFL after a 10-year absence while working in television and received a 10-year, $100 million deal.
“It’s been all part of an evolution, but I think it’s becoming clearer and clearer to Jon as well that the talent is just not here at this time,” said Davis. “The drafts did not help supplement what we were doing in the free-agent market. If you look at our roster now, it’s a bunch of free-agent one-year guys that are mercenaries. And they’re great guys and they’re Raiders. Once a Raider, always a Raider. …but we just don’t have the overall talent of a 22-man roster.”
That seems to mean that if anyone’s job is in danger, it’s likely GM Reggie McKenzie’s. Someone has to fall on those Raider swords.