MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Jets hit rock bottom inside Hard Rock Stadium.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse for Adam Gase’s team, they suffered their most humiliating loss of the season on Sunday.
The winless Dolphins are winless no more after beating the Jets, 26-18, in Gase’s return to Miami. He spent three years coaching the Dolphins before being fired last December. Gase may not last that long with the Jets, who fell to 1-7.
“It’s the NFL, man,” Gase said. “You can’t be embarrassed by this [expletive].”
Make no mistake, this was an embarrassing defeat. It was another head-scratching loss filled with poor decisions by Gase and his players.
The Dolphins (1-7) tore down their roster and went full rebuild, also known as tanking. The organization, not the players, are hoping to get the first overall pick so they can likely take Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
But suddenly, the Jets could challenge the Dolphins (1-7) for the first pick (the Bengals are 0-8).
“We’re 1-7,” Gase said. “Everybody feels like crap. You don’t put in all this time and effort to come out here and lose. We got to get things fixed.”
The Jets have the worst offense in the NFL. Instead of progressing, they’re regressing on both sides of the ball.
The Dolphins’ most points in a game this season before Sunday was 21. They scored that in the first half, and led 21-7 late in the second quarter.
Ex-Jet Ryan Fitzpatrick carved up his former team. He was 24-for-36 for 288 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Sam Darnold was 27-for-39 for 260 yards with a touchdown and one interception. He has turned it over nine times in the last three games.
Darnold made a terrible decision late in the first half on the interception. He should have thrown the ball away. But Darnold threw the ball into traffic near the goal line. It was an awkward throw as Darnold was about to be sacked.
The intended receiver was Jamison Crowder, but Robby Anderson and cornerback Jomal Wiltz defending him were right there. Darnold was picked off at the Dolphins’ 2-yard line on second down.
“Once I saw everything was crowded, I just tried to throw it away,” Darnold said. “It didn’t work out.”
It was surprising that Gase didn’t go to Le’Veon Bell either time from the 2. Gase called a pass on both plays. He said it was because the Jets were out of timeouts.
On first down, tight end Ryan Griffin caught it in the back of the end zone. It was initially ruled a touchdown, but then overturned after the officials reviewed it.
The Jets also had an awful center-quarterback exchange deep in their territory in the fourth quarter.
The shotgun snap sailed over Darnold’s head and out of the end zone for a Dolphins’ safety.
Darnold didn’t even move after the ball and exchanged words with linemen Brian Winters and Jonotthan Harrison.
“It was just miscommunication,” Darnold said.
The Jets scored first as Darnold led an opening-game touchdown drive for the second straight week. They converted three third downs and a fourth down before Darnold hooked up with Crowder for a 12-yard touchdown. Crowder caught four passes for 50 yards on the drive.
They had a chance to go up 10-0 on their next drive, but kicker Sam Ficken missed a 49-yard field goal. The Dolphins took over at the 39 and needed just seven plays to get in the end zone.
It was the first of three straight touchdown drives by Miami. Fitzpatrick hit Preston Williams for a 12-yarder, DeVante Parker with a 17-yard touchdown and Williams again with a 2-yard TD.
“The Dolphins out-executed us today,” linebacker Brandon Copeland said. “That’s just the truth.”
After the third touchdown with 1:51 left, the Jets got a huge play from Vyncint Smith on the kickoff. He ran it back 78 yards to the Dolphins’ 18. Four plays later, the Jets had first-and-goal at the 2 and Darnold turned it over.
But the Jets ended up getting points after the turnover. Fitzpatrick was tackled in the end zone for a safety with 47 seconds to go.
The Jets scored again before the half. Ficken made a 52-yard field goal with two seconds left to make it 21-12.
But the Jets needed to get in the end zone in the second half and couldn’t, again proving they’re the NFL’s worst offensive team.
“It’s not fun when you lose,” said Gase, whose Jets face the Giants next Sunday. “You got to go back to work. You got to reset on Wednesday. They’re not going to cancel our season.”
Maybe not, but the Jets’ season is over.