KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Brandon Marshall turned off his TV Thursday night because he got tired of watching the Bill Belichick football clinic. The New England Patriots dominated with clockwork precision -- and they did so with a third-string quarterback!
"Disgusting," Marshall called it.
There was probably a similar reaction among New York Jets fans on Sunday. Their team's performance was hard to watch, and yes, it was disgusting -- a 24-3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. It was a third-string effort by Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was horrible one week after he played one of the best games of his career.
Fitzpatrick threw a career-high six interceptions, tying a franchise record. Hall of Famer Joe Namath did it three times, although that probably won't make Fitzpatrick feel any better. His interceptions pretty much covered all the quarterbacking sins, including one returned for a touchdown and three red zone picks in a span of five attempts. Some perspective: He had only three red zone interceptions in his previous 192 attempts, dating to 2012.
"It's hard, it hurts," said Fitzpatrick, who threw it to the other team on five straight possessions. "It hurts for me to play that poorly. Unfortunately, I've played badly before and I know how to rebound from it."
The Jets committed a ghastly eight turnovers (their most since 1975) in a slop-fest that resembled something out a bad high-school game. Incredibly, they had chances to get back in the game in the second half, but Fitzpatrick, melting down in scoring territory, was intercepted twice inside the 7-yard line on tipped passes. Both were ill-advised throws.
Fitzpatrick stared down rookie Jalin Marshall, allowing linebacker Derrick Johnson to read his eyes. Johnson clogged the passing lane and tipped it to teammate Eric Berry in the end zone. On the second miscue, Fitzpatrick tried to make "a hero play" (his words) while trying to avoid Tamba Hali and it ended up in the hands of Marcus Peters. After those two killers, the rest of the interceptions kind of blended together.
Coach Todd Bowles claimed his confidence in Fitzpatrick hasn't wavered.
"The trust is the same," Bowles said. "He had a bad day at the office. Last week, we had a great day at the office."
Can we stop talking about the Jets as an offensive juggernaut? Fitzpatrick and his wide receivers were brilliant last week against Buffalo, but this time they faced a defense that actually ... you know, covered them.
Marshall, playing on a gimpy knee and ankle, dropped a pass and had no big plays. We'll give him a pass because he was playing hurt. Quincy Enunwa, coming off a career game, had an end zone drop and couldn't get open. Eric Decker was nowhere to be found and didn't catch a pass until the fourth quarter. Surely, the coaches could have done a better job of creating opportunities for him.
Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey also did a poor job of playcalling in the red zone, as the Jets got too pass-happy. They forgot about Matt Forte, who scored three touchdowns last week. Gailey called plays like he didn't trust the offensive line to create movement for tough yards.
Let's not over-analyze. This loss was all about an out-of-sync performance by Fitzpatrick (20-for-44, 188 yards) and the passing attack. We're talking about a meltdown of epic proportions. The question is: Where do the Jets (1-2) go from here?
Obviously, it would be a panic move to bench Fitzpatrick for Smith. Bowles looked at a reporter in disbelief when asked if he's planning to stick with Fitzpatrick. It's too early to contemplate a quarterback change, but the pressure will be on Fitzpatrick next week against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Jets are already two games behind the Tom Brady-less New England Patriots (3-1), which means the AFC East is getting away from them. Every season has pressure points, and the Jets have reached their first.
The next step starts with Fitzpatrick, whose psyche has to be frayed after one of the worst quarterbacking days in history. To his credit, he didn't reveal any signs of self-doubt. He didn't hang his head or project gloom.
"I'll be all right," he said, managing a weak smile.