FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Jets’ lofty expectations died a long time ago.
For all of their talent — on paper, at least — they collectively failed to become a playoff contender. Even worse, there were too many games derailed by fourth-quarter collapses and mental mistakes.
Long before the Jets (4-10) officially were eliminated from playoff contention in Week 13, they had been playing for pride instead of a shot at the postseason.
“There’s really nothing you can do at this point,” cornerback Darrelle Revis told Newsday days before Saturday’s game against the New England Patriots (12-2). “Guys have to continue to do their job — which we will. But at that same token, this season is long gone for our team goals and what we really wanted to accomplish.
“Right now, we have two games left and we can still win these two games and go into the offseason with some positive momentum.”
The Jets had plenty of momentum last season when they were 10-5 and riding a five-game winning streak heading into Buffalo in Week 17. But three fourth-quarter interceptions by then-starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, a 21-yard punt by then-punter Ryan Quigley and a handful of penalties culminated in a devastating defeat and a fifth straight season without a postseason berth.
This year, there have been even more miscues and far fewer victories.
“Right now, it’s long gone. It’s been long gone,” said Revis, who has been criticized for his declining play and his $17-million base salary this season.
The 31-year-old cornerback spoke often about finishing 4-12 as a rookie in 2007 and again in 2013, when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But the high-priced talent on the Jets hasn’t translated into wins in 2016 for one obvious reason, he said.
“You know what’s going on. We’re making mistakes. You hear it after every game,” said Revis, who admitted to Newsday in October that his “body’s breaking down.”
“Guys making mistakes. That’s just how it is. You can’t win by making mistakes. You have to play smart football, and that’s what we’re not doing right now. And we haven’t been doing it all year. It’s been a struggling year for everybody on this team. We just haven’t been playing good ball, so there’s really nothing else to say. You’ve got to play smart ball.”