Maybe no coach is more grateful to be covering his face this season than Adam Gase. The head coach of the New York Jets is 7-22 during his tenure, including 0-13 this season. In his first year with the Jets, Gase went 7-9, including a 13-6 win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 17. The Bills went 10-6 last season and made the playoffs as a wild card and they have continued to trend upwards with their current 10-3 record in 2020.
So technically, the Jets did beat a winning team last season. However, Buffalo didn’t put forth any effort to win that game because they had already solidified their place in the postseason standings.
The Bills started Josh Allen, but pulled him after he went 3 of 5 for five yards. Their leader in rush attempts was T.J. Yeldon, who came into the game with only 10 attempts, as rookie Devin Singletary was resting. Frank Gore got six rushing attempts that day. They also rested Cole Beasley and John Brown, their top two receivers, and the only offensive lineman to play in more than 90% of the snaps was Quinton Spain.
Undrafted free agent rookie receiver Duke Williams led Buffalo with six catches for 108 yards; Williams did not make the team this season and has spent most of it on the practice squad.
I don’t think I need to get into which defensive starters were resting because I think you get the point by now. New York started 1-7 last season but then won six of their last eight games under Gase. That included:
- A 34-27 win over the 4-12 Giants, in which the Jets needed a fourth quarter comeback
- A 34-17 win over 3-13 Washington
- A 34-3 win over the 7-9 Raiders (and we saw how Jon Gruden fared against the Jets again this season, needing basically a hail mary to win)
- A 22-21 win over the 5-11 Dolphins, needing a pass interference penalty and a 44-yard field goal by Sam Ficken to win
- A 16-10 win over the 8-8 Steelers when they featured both Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges at quarterback
Their two losses were a 22-6 defeat to the 2-14 Bengals and a 42-21 blowout loss at the hands of the Ravens.
Given their 0-13 record this season and scratching the Week 17 Bills as representing how good Buffalo actually was in 2019, we know that the Jets don’t have a legit win over a winning team in either of the last two years. We’d have to go to the final season of head coach Todd Bowles to find one.
New York lost nine of their last 10 games under Bowles, who had gone 5-11 in both 2016 and 2017. It’s not as though Bowles had done anything to deserve another chance with the Jets, but he does have their most recent win over a good team.
It was also their only win over any team with a winning record for the Jets in 2018.
Hosting Andrew Luck and the Colts in his final season, the Jets were 2-3 after a win over the Broncos a week earlier. Indianapolis was only 1-4 at the time, but they’d win nine of their last 10 games under Frank Reich that season and make the playoffs as a 10-6 wild card. Perhaps losing to the NY Jets was the fire they needed under their hindquarters.
On Oct. 14, 2018, Sam Darnold led the Jets to a 42-34 win over Luck’s Colts. Luck threw four touchdowns that day but also three interceptions and Indianapolis finish with four turnovers as compared to two for New York.
The game was 33-27 early in the fourth quarter, but the Jets got three field goals by Jason Myers in the final period (and seven total on the day (letting Myers go in the 2019 offseason has been an overlooked mistake by an organization with so many)) and won fairly easily.
That game was 792 days ago as of Monday. It will be near 800 days when the 9-4 Rams play the Jets this Sunday.
If you want to find the next most-recent Jets win over a winning team, that came against Alex Smith’s Chiefs on December 3, 2017. The Jets trailed 31-30 when Josh McCown led a 75-yard touchdown drive that ended with McCown punching it in himself on third-and-Goal from the 1; New York had made a 21-yard field goal with 3:58 left but an unnecessary roughness penalty on Bennie Logan gave the Jets a fresh set of downs. Had the score been 33-31 instead, it is likely that the Chiefs would have won.
Smith drove them to the Jets 19 on the final drive but failed to convert on fourth-and-6.
The last time the Jets beat a team that finished 11-5 or better was December 27, 2015, when they beat the Patriots 26-20 in overtime. New England lost to the Broncos 20-18 in the AFC Championship game that season and had they not lost to the Jets, they would have been hosting the game instead of having to go on the road.
The Jets are 0-13 after losing to the Seahawks 40-3 on Sunday. With the Jaguars sitting right “behind” them at 1-12, can they afford to break that streak this week?