Frank Gore is in his 16th NFL season. The Jets running back has been a Pro Bowler and played in a Super Bowl. He has rushed for 1,200 yards in a season and is No. 3 all-time in NFL rushing yards. At
Frank Gore is in his 16th NFL season. The Jets running back has been a Pro Bowler and played in a Super Bowl. He has rushed for 1,200 yards in a season and is No. 3 all-time in NFL rushing yards.
At 37 years old, Gore is now trying to avoid an embarrassing entry on his résumé. He is trying to avoid being part of an 0-16 team, a fate that the Jets inched closer to Sunday with a 34-28 loss to the Chargers in Los Angeles. The Jets are now 0-10 for the first time in franchise history.
“We’re thinking about that every day,” Gore said of 0-16. “We’ve got to get one. You don’t want to go 0-16, especially this might be my last year. I can’t go out like that.”
It would be a humiliating finish to Gore’s magnificent career, and it would be a blemish for every coach, player, front office executive and the others associated with it. It is something the Jets are trying desperately to avoid, even if a segment of their fan base is hoping for a winless season and the No. 1 draft pick that comes with it.
On Sunday, the Jets nearly overcame an 18-point halftime deficit to pull off their first win but could not quite get it done against the Chargers, who improved to 3-7.
After playing a dismal first half, during which they managed just 82 yards and let Chargers rookie quarterback throw for 277 yards and two touchdowns, the Jets mounted a second-half comeback. They scored three touchdowns and got the ball back at their own 46-yard line with 2:48 left and trailing 34-26. They moved the ball to the 32, but Joe Flacco’s fourth-down pass toward Denzel Mims fell to the ground and the Jets’ upset hopes crashed with it.
The Jets are now two losses away from tying the longest losing streak in franchise history (12), set during the 1995-96 seasons.
The Jets also were officially eliminated from playoff contention with the loss and the Colts’ win over the Packers. The team’s postseason drought is now at 10 seasons, the second-longest drought in team history. The longest is 11 seasons from 1970-80.
“It’s probably the most frustrated any of us have ever been playing football,” defensive end Henry Anderson said. “We’re working hard throughout the week. It’s just frustrating. I feel like we’re doing everything we can during the week of preparation. We’ve just got to continue to find the extra few things we can do to get us over the hump.”
For those fans dreaming of Clemson star Trevor Lawrence, this was the best result possible. The Jets played a competitive game but lost. They have a one-game “lead” over the Jaguars for the No. 1 pick.
For the players and coaches, this is another dark week in a season full of them.
The Jets defense, playing three rookie starters in the secondary, had no answer for Chargers quarterback Herbert and wide receiver Keenan Allen. Herbert completed 37 of 49 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns. He connected with wide receiver Keenan Allen for 16 receptions, 145 yards and one touchdown. The 16 catches are the most ever by a Jets opponent.
Jets veteran quarterback Joe Flacco, starting in place of the injured Sam Darnold, struggled early but seemed to find a rhythm in the second half. He wound up 15 of 30 for 205 yards, two touchdowns and one interception that was returned for a touchdown.
The Jets got off to a quick start. After their defense stopped the Chargers’ first drive. Anderson blocked a Ty Long punt that Quinnen Williams recovered on the Chargers 29. Four plays later, La’Michal Perine scored a 5-yard touchdown and the Jets were up 6-0 after a failed extra point by Sam Ficken, his first of two misses.
The Chargers’ next possession ended with a fumble by Allen at the Jets’ 1-yard line that was recovered by safety Ashtyn Davis. The Jets had momentum, but Flacco flushed that away on the very next play. He threw an awful pass intended for Jamison Crowder that Chargers cornerback Teavaughn Campbell intercepted and returned 6 yards for a touchdown and a 7-6 lead.
“The interception I threw was really bad,” Flacco said.
Herbert then proceeded to carve the Jets up, throwing touchdowns to Mike Williams and Hunter Henry to give the Chargers a 24-6 halftime lead.
The Jets offense sputtered in the first half. Their wide receivers did not have a catch in the first two quarters.
“We couldn’t get in a rhythm,” Gore said.
The Jets rallied in the second half. Flacco threw two touchdown passes, one each to Breshad Perriman and Chris Herndon and Gore scored his first touchdown as a Jet. The Jets were more aggressive in the second half, taking more deep shots and it paid off.
Herndon’s 6-yard touchdown — his first of the season — with 4:00 left to play made it 34-26. After a defensive stand, the Jets got the ball back with 2:48 left and a chance to tie the game. But Flacco threw three straight incompletions from the Chargers 32 and Los Angeles escaped with the win. The Chargers took a safety to run time off the clock and prevent the Jets from running another offensive play.
“It’s very tough,” Gore said. “Any team sport, you want to win. One thing I can say about this team is we come to work every week, Sundays we give it our all, everybody gives it their all. We’ve just got to keep fighting as a team and try to get one, but it’s tough because you play this game to win.”