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Jets take more backward steps in loss to 49ers, fall to 0-2

Josh Adams #36 of the Jets is stopped

Josh Adams #36 of the Jets is stopped on a 4th and 1 late during the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sep. 20, 2020. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Jets’ season is only two games old, but it already feels as if it’s over.

Things went from bad in Week 1 to worse in Week 2, and this was after Jets CEO Christopher Johnson gave Adam Gase a ringing endorsement as "a brilliant offensive mind."

Gase’s offense produced two field goals and a meaningless touchdown with 83 seconds left and the defense was dreadful in a humiliating 31-13 loss in the Jets’ home opener inside an empty MetLife Stadium.

"I’m pissed right now," Gase said. "That [expletive] is no fun going out there and getting your [expletive] beat. We need to get better fast."

Not having any fans in the stadium worked out well for the Jets because they couldn’t get booed. They would have early and often in this game.

Running back Raheem Mostert took a pitch on the 49ers’ first play from scrimmage, found a hole and raced down the right sideline untouched for an 80-yard touchdown. It was 7-0 San Francisco 17 seconds into the game.

The Jets, after being overmatched last week in Buffalo, talked about having a sense of urgency. They did not.

"We just got embarrassed," linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. "That’s what it comes down to."

The Jets' offense was predictable and ineffective. Gase couldn’t dial up a play to get one yard on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 in 49ers territory in the first half. Later in the game, down 21, Gase chose a field goal instead of going for a first down and extending the drive.

Gregg Williams’ defense continues to play soft and make mindless penalties. The 49ers scored on four of their first five series, and registered 17 unanswered points. The Jets gave up a 55-yard run by No. 3 back Jerick McKinnon on third-and-31 and 182 rushing yards in all.

"We haven’t shown progress," Jenkins said. "It’s been rinse and repeat for the last two games. We’re either going to keep getting embarrassed or we’re going to respond. That’s what it comes down to."

Injuries cannot be used as an excuse either, although Gase did bring it up. It’s a bad look considering both teams were missing key players, and then the 49ers lost more.

The Jets were without Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder due to hamstring injuries. They lost receiver Breshad Perriman to an ankle injury in the first half.

San Franscisco was missing All-Pros George Kittle and Richard Sherman, and lineman Dee Ford. The 49ers lost quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle), Mostert (knee) and defensive end Nick Bosa (knee) and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas (knee) in the first half.

The 49ers played the second half with Nick Mullens at quarterback. He led two scoring drives after halftime. Sam Darnold led three the whole game.

"We moved the ball at the beginning of the game," Gase said. "We had some injury issues. We were down two wide receivers. We didn’t execute in the red zone."

Darnold ended up 21-for-32 with 179 yards and a touchdown. He connected on a 30-yard scoring strike with Braxton Berrios on the Jets’ final series. Frank Gore carried the ball 21 times for 63 yards. Chris Hogan had six catches for 75 yards.

Garoppolo was 14-for-16 for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Jordan Reed caught both touchdown passes.

"We did not play the game that we needed to play," Gase said.

The Jets got inside the red zone on their second series, but went backward. Gore ran for minus-2 yards from the 18, and Darnold was sacked on second down. Gase went with the give-up draw on third-and-18. They settled for a Sam Ficken 41-yard field goal.

Down 14-3 in the second quarter, the Jets had a chance to make it a game. But their struggles under Gase were personified when a drive stalled at the 49ers’ 20-yard line.

They needed one yard for a first down. One third and fourth down, Gase called back-to-back running plays. Gore was stopped for no gain on third down and Josh Adams was brought in for fresh legs on fourth down. Adams was stuffed.

"Once we got in the red area," Darnold said, "we couldn’t execute."

The 49ers took over, and they marched down the field with plenty of help from the Jets’ defense which killed itself with poor tackling and awful penalties

Defensive end Henry Anderson was called for roughing the passer after Garoppolo’s pass on third-and-2 from the 36 went incomplete.

The Niners took the new set of downs and eventually scored on Reed’s 4-yard touchdown reception over Marcus Maye to make it 21-3 with 11 seconds remaining in the half. The Jets were already done.

"We got to get right," Jenkins said. "This has got to stop. There hasn’t been no progress yet. We need to do it now."

It’s only two weeks in, and already time is running out.

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