"Every man should be embarrassed," Sheldon Rankins said. "Every man should be angry."
No one who roots for the Jets would disagree after the defense’s latest "effort," this time in a 45-17 loss to the Bills at MetLife Stadium on Sunday that officially moved the unit into the ranks of historic ineptitude.
The Jets became the first NFL team to allow at least 45 points three times in a four-game span since the 1966 Giants, according to ESPN. (That Giants team was so bad it actually allowed more than 45 points four times in five games, including 72 to Washington.)
"Obviously, it’s not good enough," said first-year coach Robert Saleh, whose area of expertise is defense. "It always starts with me."
Maybe, but regular meltdowns of this proportion involve everyone.
The Bills are good, but they were coming off a 9-6 loss to the Jaguars.
On Sunday, Buffalo totaled 489 yards of offense and had 26 first downs.
Josh Allen was 21-for-28 passing for 366 yards. Stefon Diggs had eight catches for 162 yards and Gabriel Davis added three for 105. The Bills rushed for 139 yards and four touchdowns.
Buffalo made it look much too easy. "This isn’t what we want to be known for," Rankins said. "This isn’t our standard. This isn’t what we want to put on tape over and over."
The secondary, which already was without injured safety Marcus Maye, lost cornerback Brandin Echols to an injury late in the second quarter, at which time the Bills immediately went after backup Javelin Guidry with Diggs.
Why not have the best available cornerback, Bryce Hall, shadow Diggs wherever he went? Saleh said the Jets do not do that sort of thing.
Diggs beat Guidry for a 12-yard touchdown reception in the final minute of the first half that made it 17-3.
After the game, defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi made what linebacker C.J. Mosley described as an emotional speech to the unit warning that in these situations, finger-pointing is natural but must be avoided.
"Foley put it best: We have to check our inner self," Mosley said. "We’re in a position now where it’s human nature for people to start splitting up, people to start pointing fingers, people to start doing anything besides the things that it takes to win football games or the things that it takes to be successful in life."
Mosley, a captain, vowed it will not occur on his watch. "As long as I’m here and have a ‘C’ on my chest, I can’t let that happen," he said.
Mosley later said that once the Jets "weed out" those who are not on board, "we’re going to start being in a better place. We’re going to start seeing that progress. We’re going to start seeing those wins."
According to ESPN, since the 1970 merger, the 175 points the Jets have allowed in their last four games are second only to the 177 the Titans allowed in 2004.
"Let’s turn this thing around," Rankins said. "It can only go up from here. I think we’ve played overall about as bad as we can possibly play."