DENVER — There are 14 games left for the Jets, according to the cruel math of the expanded NFL season. That is a long road, one likely to include a whole lot of losing.
Might we see the first 0-17 season in NFL history? Sorry. That is getting ahead of ourselves.
And besides, the record does not much matter at this point, even if the Jets have, remarkably, started 0-3 for a third consecutive season.
This season always has been about development, not winning percentage, now more so than ever, after a 26-0 implosion against the Broncos on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High confirmed that even a modest goal such as a respectable record is not realistic.
Here is the real problem: Developing a young team in general, and a young quarterback in particular, requires some level of function upon which lessons can be learned.
The Jets are not there yet. They are a mess, especially on offense, failing to make enough plays to help rookie Zach Wilson get anything consistent accomplished.
On Sunday, there were plays in which no one could get open for him, and when someone did, he often failed to make the catch.
At other times, Wilson was under pressure, and mostly unable to escape and/or get rid of the ball in time.
One especially nasty moment came on a sack on which Von Miller took the scenic route around right tackle Morgan Moses and leveled Wilson.
The only good thing about the first half for the Jets was that there were no turnovers, allowing Wilson to fulfill his vow to be more "boring" after throwing four interceptions in Week 2. Then he threw two in the second half.
It should be noted here that everyone who spoke for the Jets after the game completely disagreed with the notion there are not lessons to be learned even from debacles such as Sunday’s.
That includes Wilson himself, who said, "I’d say we’re getting more out of it."
He talked about the value of pushing through difficult moments late in a game such as Sunday’s and trying to maintaining confidence.
"It’s a big challenge for us," he said. "When it gets hard at those moments, I promise it’s making us stronger."
Young Wilson knows more about football than I do, but we can agree to disagree here.
Coach Robert Saleh correctly cited an across-the-board series of breakdowns on offense, from the coaches to the quarterback to pretty much everyone else in road white.
Again: Wins and losses alone are not necessarily the point anymore, as much as occasional wins would be useful for the team’s emotional well-being.
But the Jets must be more competitive than this.
The Jets’ situation is slightly less bad than the Giants’, who also are 0-3 but do not have a rookie head coach, a rookie offensive coordinator and a rookie quarterback as excuses.
But that does not make this process any easier for fans to take.
How much detail do you want or need about what went down on Sunday? The Jets had six total yards after one quarter, at which time Denver had a 9-1 advantage in first downs.
It was 17-0 at halftime, thanks in part to a 56-yard field goal by Matt Ammendola being erased by a delay-of-game penalty.
That series earlier had been derailed when Corey Davis, who is supposed to be the Jets’ big-impact receiver, failed to make a catch that by his own admission he should have made. He said it might have changed the game.
The Broncos scored in the final minute of the first half on a short run by Melvin Gordon after a pass interference call on Brandin Echols in the end zone. The Jets had eight penalties for 89 yards all told.
According to ESPN, the Jets’ three first-half points through three games are tied for the fewest in franchise history through three games, a mark set in 1973.
"People can hate all they want," Wilson said, "but what’s feeling sorry for ourselves going to do, really?"
This is the NFL, not the Big 12. No team is supposed to win or lose by a wide margin every week. But the Jets never led in their first three games last season and did not lead in their first three games this season.
They are bad and they are boring. This cannot go on for another 14 games . . . can it?