The Michael Vick Experiment proved one thing: It really doesn't matter who's at quarterback for the Jets.
This team's issues go far deeper than one position. Even though Vick played well Sunday, the Jets lost their eighth straight game, but for at least one more week, he'll get the opportunity to start over Geno Smith.
"As long as he's healthy, we'll go with Mike," Rex Ryan announced after the Jets fell to 1-8 with a 24-10 loss to the Chiefs, marking the first time they have lost eight straight in a season since 1996. "I thought he played well and we'll give him another shot against Pittsburgh.''
Vick, who was forced to leave the game briefly after suffering a head injury in the fourth quarter, was 21-for-28 for 196 yards with one touchdown pass and no interceptions. He ran four times for 18 yards and was sacked three times. Most importantly, he didn't commit a turnover.
"Just going by how he played today and what he showed while he was in there, I think that's the best decision," said Chris Johnson, who had his best outing as a Jet with 69 yards on 11 carries and 32 yards on two catches.
The Jets decided to start Vick after Smith threw three interceptions in a span of six plays against the Bills the previous week and injured his throwing shoulder in the process. But Vick's outing almost ended abruptly. After throwing an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal from the 3 early in the fourth quarter, he was hit hard by former Jets linebacker Josh Mauga and the back of his head slammed into the turf.
The injury forced the Jets to turn to third-string quarterback Matt Simms, as Smith was inactive because of the shoulder injury. But Simms' direction of the offense was short-lived, as Vick returned with 4:56 remaining.
Vick said he was cleared to return after passing the NFL's concussion protocol and insisted he didn't have to lobby his way back in. "No, no. On the sideline I was OK," said Vick, who threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker in the second quarter to make it 14-7. "We've all been in situations where you hit your head and you're dinged for a minute, dizzy for a minute, and come right back and keep going.
"But I went to the locker room and everything was crystal-clear. I passed all the tests. My memory was awesome and everything they asked me to repeat, I said it right back at them."
Simms, who completed 3 of 8 passes for 39 yards after being signed from the practice squad Saturday as a precaution, said he was surprised to see Vick return to action. "I thought the whiplash definitely was a little bit more severe," he said.
Vick showed heart by returning, but next week, he'll again need to show he can get the Jets back in the win column. Their losing streak has gotten so out of hand that players are starting to wonder why they can't catch a break. But in the wake of another defeat, Ryan praised their effort.
"The guys played extremely hard," Ryan said. "The thing that's holding us back, really, is we're not making the critical play at the critical time. We're not closing things out. And that's what good teams do, that's what winning teams do."
And that's exactly what the Jets aren't, and don't do.
After a 1-yard touchdown run by Jamaal Charles on the Chiefs' first possession, Kansas City tight end Anthony Fasano scored in improbable fashion -- via the Butt Touchdown.
While seated on the turf in the middle of several players, he caught a pass that had been deflected by the Jets' Calvin Pace, remained untouched and lunged into the end zone.
After Decker's touchdown, De'Anthony Thomas took the ensuing kickoff 78 yards, setting up a 12-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Travis Kelce 39 seconds before halftime. That gave the Chiefs (5-3) a 21-7 lead.
The latest loss left Vick determined to change the team's fortunes. "[If I have to] prepare myself throughout the week, 17, 18 hours in the day, no sleep, then I'm going to do it,'' he said, "and I hope my teammates will do the same."