DETROIT - Give Rex Ryan credit for at least admitting he spectacularly, embarrassingly misread his team when he said last week that the Jets were better in "a zillion ways -- almost every way'' than the first time they played the Bills.
"First off, I guess we weren't a zillion times better,'' he said after Monday night's 38-3 debacle at Ford Field, a neutral site that turned into a celebratory road trip for the many Bills fans among the 56,044 in attendance.
The only thing better, compared to last month's 43-23 rout by the Bills at MetLife Stadium, was that the Jets threw three fewer interceptions in the first quarter, so the pain was more evenly spread out.
But as in that first meeting, they felt compelled to switch their quarterback -- this time from Michael Vick to Geno Smith rather than the other way around -- and repeatedly failed to make positive plays when they needed them.
Afterward, players rallied around Ryan, as usual, most passionately defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, who among other things said this about why he wants the coach to stick around:
"Why? Everything about him, man. The passion I play with is the passion that he coaches, even in meetings . . . That's my guy. He might as well have a number on, too, for real."
Alas, the people who do have the numbers on have let Ryan down en route to 2-9. The only positive thing that can be said about their team unity Monday night was that they stunk in every facet, so no one would feel singled out.
That included a blocked punt that produced a Buffalo touchdown.
As for Ryan, his undying confidence in his guys is admirable, but a coach who goes out on a limb as he did with that zillion-ways-better line, only to watch his team bomb like this, is not likely to keep his job.
Ryan is far from the biggest problem the Jets have, of course.
No. 1 has been and remains that they do not have a championship-caliber quarterback on the roster, a fact driven home by Vick's awful outing. He was 7-for-19 for 76 yards and an interception and had a passer rating of 27.5.
Oh, and by the way, he was operating in a warm, dry, indoor stadium against players who barely were able to practice for the event and in some cases had to be rescued from their homes by snowmobiles to make the trip.
After 2½ games as a starter without an interception, Vick finally threw one in the third quarter, but well before then, it was evident that turnovers are not the only consideration in evaluating him.
Save for one long, impressive scoring pass against the Steelers, he has mostly been a dud, a shadow of his early- 2000s self.
That leaves the Jets considering the possibility of going back to Smith next week, and back to the drawing board after the season.
Ryan would not say who will start against the Dolphins, and neither candidate would bite on that subject. But really, what does it matter at this point?
Let Smith finish the season and hope he is spry enough to run for his life if the line remains as porous as it was against a Bills front four that Vick described as "vicious.'' (The Bills totaled seven sacks.)
"No matter who's the quarterback, no matter who's the right tackle, right guard, no matter who's playing,'' Smith said, "we have to get better as an offense and we have to represent the Jets a lot better than we did tonight.''
Well, that's certainly true. But for the zillionth time: All evidence points to the fact that the 2014 Jets are not better and will not get better before time mercifully runs out on them.