The Jets actually were within striking distance at halftime in each of their past two games, both against likely AFC division winners. The second halves of both games, however, were disastrous for head coach Adam Gase and the Gang Green offense.
The Jets led by four points against the Bills in Week 7 at intermission, and they were within 12 points of the high-powered Chiefs last Sunday. They totaled just 67 second-half yards in the two games, however, to extend their winless half-season to 0-8.
“I feel like some teams have been playing us in the first half, and that’s how they play us in the second half, especially if it works,” quarterback Sam Darnold said after practice Friday in Florham Park. “We have to be ready to make halftime adjustments and go out in the second half and play better.”
Darnold has been nursing a sore right shoulder since taking a heavy hit against Buffalo. He missed two previous games in October with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder.
Since Gase handed off play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, Darnold threw for just 253 combined yards in the Jets’ past two losses. His overall 65.9 quarterback rating ranks last in the NFL among quarterbacks who have made at least three starts.
The Jets actually scored the first 10 points two weeks ago against Buffalo, on a Sergio Castillo field goal in the first quarter and La’Mical Perine’s 5-yard touchdown run midway through the second.
But the Bills held Darnold and the Jets to just 4 total yards — the lowest total in a half in the NFL in 40 years — and negative-13 passing yards after halftime. The passing-yardage figure represented the fewest in a second half by a Jets team since at least 1991.
“The Buffalo game, that was glaring as far as what they did different,” Gase said before practice Friday. “How they played the first half, we saw a lot of zone, we saw not as much pressure. The second half, it was like a bombardment of pressures. It was multiple safeties, corners, linebackers.
“We got the full gamut of whatever they had on their call sheet. They brought it all in the second half. They were able to stop the run, which put us in third-and-long situations and kind of just put us in a poor position.”
The second half of last week’s expected loss to the defending Super Bowl champions was a tad better, with 63 total yards of offense after intermission against the Chiefs. The Jets had trailed 21-9 through two quarters, but they were outscored 14-0 after halftime.
“The Kansas City game was more they didn’t necessarily change what they were doing, they just started playing a lot tighter, more competitive on balls. They were stopping our run game, they were a lot more aggressive, they were winning on their one-on-one matchups,” Gase said. “They just played better than us in that second half.”
Gase and the Jets are looking to avoid the first 0-9 start in team history Monday night against the Patriots (2-5), who have lost four straight games. During their franchise-worst 1-15 season in 1996, the Jets lost their first eight games before winning in Week 9.