Adam Gase wasn’t in Sam Darnold’s ear during Sunday’s game, but he was after it.
Darnold appeared down and frustrated after an ineffective and mistake-filled performance in the Jets’ 18-10 loss to the Bills. Gase spoke to Darnold Sunday night. The coach on the hot seat wanted to make sure the young quarterback was good mentally and tried to assure him that things will get better.
"I just keep thinking he’s 23. None of this can be easy," Gase said during a Zoom call Monday afternoon. "My thing to him was we got to stay the course, we got to keep finding ways to get better, we have to do a really good job of being great leaders and showing guys the right way to do things, and keeping our focus.
"Him and myself getting frustrated and angry to the point where it’s unproductive is not going to work. We have to do things right. We have to show the right way. We have to act a certain way where we can bring guys along with us and find a way to turn the corner."
The Jets 0-7 are the only winless team in the NFL. They had a chance at their first win.
Gase relinquished the play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and the Jets led 10-0 in the second quarter. But Darnold and the offense crumbled behind an offensive line that continues to spring leaks.
Back from a two-game absence because of a shoulder injury, Darnold was 12-for-23 for 120 yards. He connected on one of his last 10 passes for 4 yards and threw two interceptions. Darnold was sacked four times in the second half, equaling the Jets’ total yards of offense after halftime.
There were plenty of places to point blame. But Darnold shouldered much of it, particularly for an interception late in the second quarter that led to a Bills’ field goal at the halftime horn.
"I feel like the first interception was a terrible mistake and something I truly feel like isn’t going to happen again," Darnold said. "For me, it’s about going out there and doing all that I can to put us in good positions and not make dumb decisions like that and keep us on the right track. Keep us on the winning track throughout the game."
Darnold downplayed the conversation with Gase. He said they talked about the game and he’s "always optimistic" no matter the situation.
"We’re not where we want to be right now," Darnold said. "We’re 0-7. It’s not ideal. For me it’s about coming in here and going back to work."
The Jets face Super Bowl-champion Kansas City next and are 19.5-point underdogs. That number could rise because of how bad the Jets offense is.
They have scored 20 points combined in the last three games. Darnold missed two, but he’s having a rough season.
Darnold has just three touchdown passes and six interceptions this season. His 65.0 passer rating is 31st among quarterbacks with at least four starts.
This was the second game that Darnold could have led the Jets on a game-tying or winning drive late and couldn’t deliver.
The game he injured his shoulder, Oct. 1 against Denver, Darnold had the ball with the Jets down 30-28 with 3:08 left in the fourth. That series ended with a fourth-down sack. On Sunday, Darnold was sacked twice on the last drive and was intercepted to end it.
"There’s some things that are out of his control," Gase said. "He’s trying to do the right thing and put us in position. We got to be better as a group around him."
Right guard Greg Van Roten echoed Gase’s statement. Van Roten said the line has to give Darnold the time he needs to make plays.
"If we’re as an offensive line playing like we did [Sunday] we’re not giving him a chance to show everyone what he can do," Van Roten said. "That’s not fair to him, and that’s not fair to the team.
"I’m frustrated because I want him be able to perform. When he’s performing the way he’s capable we are going to have a good chance to win a game. Everyone’s frustrated but you got to fight through that adversity and get a win. Just one win."