'Rinse and repeat' puts reeling New York Jets in hot water

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Jets coach Adam Gase was lucky in two respects: There were no fans allowed Sunday at MetLife Stadium, which saved him an afternoon of merciless booing. The coronavirus pandemic also meant no reporters were allowed in the postgame locker room, which limited access to his team.

A Jets team that already appears to be at its tipping point.

That much came through during Zoom calls after the Jets' 31-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. If the tension could be felt in videoconferences, multiply it by 10 and you will get an accurate reading of the team's temperature.

"I'm going to keep it blunt: Honestly, we haven't shown progress," linebacker Jordan Jenkins said after the Jets dropped to an ugly 0-2. "It's rinse and repeat for the last two games. We're either going to keep getting embarrassed or we're going to respond.

"We've got to get it right. This has to stop. You're right, there's hasn't been no progress yet. We need to do it now."

Jenkins, 26, is no graybeard, but he's the longest-tenured player on the team. Since arriving in 2016, he has known nothing but losing -- a 21-45 record. He sounded fed up, and who could blame him? The Jets are 0-2 for the second season under Gase, but this time it's worse because they can't use the "quarterback has mononucleosis" alibi.

They're bad because they're bad, having been outscored by a combined 42-6 in the first half. Translation: They've been noncompetitive, and that doesn't bode well for Gase, whose seat is the hottest of any head coach in the league.

Gase was angry after the game, telling reporters, "I'm pissed right now. This s--- is no fun, going out there and getting your ass beat. We need to get better fast."

His players were angry, too. The defense, which finished No. 2 against the run last season, was embarrassed for the second week in a row. The Jets allowed 188 rushing yards, including an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of the game -- a franchise first. Later, they yielded a 55-yard run on a third-and-31, as they staged a clinic on how to be out of position and miss open-field tackles.

"It hurt. It hurt," Jenkins said of the loss. "We pride ourselves on that. It don't look like we stopped the run. It don't look like we pride ourselves on that. We just got embarrassed. We're supposed to be a run-stopping defense and ... it didn't happen this game."

Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams wanted no part of answering questions after the game. Asked a half-dozen questions about the defense, he replied the same way each time (or a close variation): "I have to watch the film."

Of the six players who addressed the media, Williams' postgame video was the only one not posted to the team's website. Yeah, it was that uncomfortable.

Look, no one expected the Jets, with injuries at wide receiver, to walk over the injury-depleted 49ers, but they couldn't even measure up to the San Francisco JV squad. The 49ers, already without a handful of their stars, played the second half without quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle). And it didn't matter one bit. The Jets didn't reach the end zone until the final two minutes, meaning two of their three touchdowns in two games came in garbage time.

The Jets have reached a pressure point. They go on the road to face the Indianapolis Colts (1-1), who regained their mojo on Sunday with an impressive win against the Minnesota Vikings. After that, the Jets are home on Thursday night against the Denver Broncos (0-2), who lost quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) for two to six weeks, sources told ESPN.

It means the Jets likely will face backup quarterback Jeff Driskel in 10 days. Gase doesn't want to be 0-4 after that game, heading into a mini-bye. That would be very, very uncomfortable.