After seven straight Jets losses, what's left to play for?
Muhammad Wilkerson said there's at least one thing to play for: pride.
"Of course nobody believes in us,'' the defensive end said after the Jets' 43-23 loss to the Bills Sunday. "It's just us in this locker room. Everybody's counting us out.
"We're just playing for our pride and ourselves and everybody in this organization.''
The Jets are 1-7, and Rex Ryan is struggling for answers. "He's hurt,'' said defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who had nine tackles and a half-sack. "He needs help, and we're not helping him out at all. We're not stopping them in the red zone, they're getting what they want. They're still beating us over the top, they've been gassing us a little bit in the run. We're not helping him out at all.''
Running back Chris Johnson conceded that he and his teammates are frustrated but said there's nothing they can do but get back to work "and try to string some victories along.''
Said Wilkerson: "When your coaches are putting together the game plan and you don't go out there and execute . . . that's a problem. I put this on us. We lost this game. That was terrible. That wasn't Jets football. And it [stinks].''
Richardson said the team has "regressed a little bit'' and that all three units are "never on the same page.'' But when asked if it's too late to turn the season around, he replied matter-of-factly: "I don't never think it's too late.'' He added, "I always play for pride. I think that's how you're supposed to play football, honestly . . . We signed up for 16 games, no matter the outcome.''
What happened on that Sammy Watkins play?
As he closed in on an apparent touchdown, the Bills rookie receiver held the ball in his left hand and pointed to the crowd with his right. All he could see was the end zone in front of him -- and then he felt Saalim Hakim grab his right foot from behind, bringing him down.
"I was shocked," said Watkins, tackled at the 5 after an 84-yard gain. "I looked at the Jumbotron and thought I had three or four yards on [Hakim]. He must have been right there. I found out he is a world-class 10-flat guy.''
Watkins added: "I'm going to get in trouble with my coach. Something will happen."
Hakim, a receiver/special-teamer with exceptional closing speed, said he had no doubt he was going to catch Watkins, which he did with a last-second dive. Asked if he thought Watkins might get away, Hakim smiled and said: "Not while I'm chasing him . . . He's going to learn that. He's going to see it on film, too. He ain't getting away from Hakim.''
Hakim called Watkins' showboating "a rookie mistake he's going to learn from.''
The tackle came on Hakim's only defensive snap of the game at safety. "I don't have a problem playing cornerback if I'm not going to get any receiving time,'' he said. "I do love playing defense. I don't mind hitting nobody, either.''
Whose idea was the trick play on the kickoff return?
Ryan accepted the blame for the botched special-teams play that featured T.J. Graham lying prone on one side of the end zone while Percy Harvin was back to return the ball on the other side. "That was on me,'' Ryan said. "I was just trying to give us a spark.''
Graham was supposed to get up and catch a lateral from Harvin, but the play didn't work and Harvin was tackled at the 3 after fielding the ball 9 yards deep in the end zone. "They had a very good cover team," Graham said. "They came down, covered the ball well. Percy didn't have much space to run to, so the tackle was inside the 10.''
Said Ryan: "With the way Percy was returning the ball, I thought everyone would attack him and not think about a throwback. I think [the Bills] did an outstanding job of playing it. Percy was heads-up enough to not throw it over there.''
With John Jeansonne