It already was becoming more obvious with each excruciating loss.
But just in case there was a need for more evidence, the Jets certainly provided it Sunday. Now there's no need to stand before a judge, no reason for a jury of their peers to render a verdict that will sentence them to a long offseason of misery, wondering exactly how things turned so sour so quickly.
Everyone essentially agrees: The Jets talk a better game than they play. Especially the guys on defense, who couldn't get it done yet again in a crushing 24-22 loss to the Jaguars at the Meadowlands, the latest seemingly inexplicable defeat in a season that has nosedived.
Josh Scobee's 21-yard field goal as time expired capped an 80-yard drive and sent the Jets to their fifth loss in six games, basically ending any hopes they had of halting a two-year playoff drought. With seven games left, the Jets have gone from league darlings at 3-0 to a huge disappointment at 4-5.
"Obviously, the room for error, we just spent it," Rex Ryan said. "We've spent all of our room for error. It's ridiculous. But you've got to give credit to Jacksonville. We were in the exact same boat. They found a way to finish the game and we didn't."
That's because the Jets' defense, which was ranked third in the league, came up small for what seemed like the umpteenth time during their swoon.
Trailing 21-10 late in the second quarter, the Jets moved within 21-16 after two field goals by Jay Feely, the latter a 40-yarder with 14:39 left. Then Mark Sanchez and the offense went to work at the Jets' 23-yard line with 12:41 to play.
Thomas Jones' leap into the end zone from the 1 capped a 16-play, 77-yard drive that gave the Jets a 22-21 lead, their second of the game and first since Jerricho Cotchery's 7-yard TD catch with 1:08 left in the first quarter helped produce a 10-7 edge.
Unlike the loss to Miami two weeks earlier, when the Jets were criticized for attempting two-point conversions too soon, they really needed to try for two after Jones' run. Only 5:04 remained, and a kick for a two-point lead wouldn't have done the Jets any good.
On the two-point conversion attempt, Sanchez tossed the ball to Braylon Edwards as he crossed from right to left in the end zone. Edwards initially made the grab, but safety Reggie Nelson clobbered him a split-second later and dislodged the ball.
"The two-point conversion, I've got to put it on Braylon sooner," Sanchez said. "He makes a good effort going after the ball, but that ball has got to be there sooner so nobody can knock it out of his hands."
Said Edwards: "Wherever the ball is, it's my job to catch it. If it's a little bit behind me, so what - make a play. I don't discredit myself or Mark. I just credit the safety who put his helmet on the ball in my ribs and the ball came out. It was a great play by him."
What came next, however, was anything but great play by a unit that has talked tough but hasn't delivered when needed.
The Jaguars quickly marched 80 yards, with the critical play coming on first-and-10 from the Jets' 47. David Garrard connected with tight end Marcedes Lewis for a 33-yard hookup over Kerry Rhodes to the 14 just before the two-minute warning. The Jets got caught in the wrong alignment and safety Jim Leonhard took the blame, saying he should've burned a timeout.
"We initially had the coverage locked in, and it was too late to try to get it changed and you saw what happened," he said. "It was just a mistake."
With the Jets out of timeouts and trying to allow the Jaguars to score so they could get the ball back with more time on the clock, Maurice Jones-Drew took a knee at the 1 with about 1:40 left rather than going in for the TD. That allowed the Jags to control the clock, and Scobee's kick went through the uprights with no time remaining.
Said Calvin Pace: "When we needed to get off the field, we didn't get off the field. You have mental errors and you just let them go 80 yards with ease, it's unacceptable."
"It is mind-boggling," Shaun Ellis said. "It's the same old thing. We've just got to handle our business and we've got to get a win. That's basically what it all boils down to. We had a great opportunity today and we let it slip first half, came back out and played solid second half. And they got us last drive.
"That game shouldn't have even been in that situation. We allowed it to happen. I know it sounds like a broken record, but it's the truth."