With Another Loss, the Jets Look for Silver Linings

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Time is a flat circle, but we want to help you break it. To that end, we’ve enlisted two experts — one familiar with the ins and outs of New York’s professional football teams, the other a nationally focused football analyst — to answer an essential question as a weekly service to readers: Are the Jets good yet?

Devin Gordon, the author of “So Many Ways to Lose: The Amazin’ True Story of the New York Mets, the Best Worst Team in Sports,” observed the Jets from a locally focused perspective.

Diante Lee, an N.F.L. analyst at Pro Football Focus, offered a national view.

With Zach Wilson still out, the Jets started Joe Flacco against the Miami Dolphins, but the Jets could not manage to answer the Dolphins’ fourth-quarter scoring and lost, 24-17. Flacco was 24 of 39 for 291 yards with two touchdown passes.

You had to have been feeling frisky heading into Sunday’s game against the Dolphins (4-7). The Jets were favored! By 3.5 points! (Note: Las Vegas oddsmakers typically spot the home team 3 points.)

The Jets (2-8) turned to the journeyman quarterback Joe Flacco, the diametrical opposite of a rookie and the offense’s fourth quarterback in 10 games, to chase an attainable win.

How did it go? Not that bad! The Jets did not win, so if that was your motivation, silly you, foiled again. But the game was tight the whole way, turning in the fourth quarter on Jets defensive end John Franklin-Myers’ dopey roughing the passer penalty with the score tied at 14. The infraction gave Miami a fresh set of downs inside the 5-yard line and Tua Tagovailoa cashed it in with a 5-yard touchdown throw on third-and-goal.

Flacco answered with a patented three-and-out drive, and that was that.

If you watch Jets games for the right reason, though — to tease yourself with naïve hopes for the future — this was a thrilling defeat for one reason. Elijah Moore, the Jets’ rookie wideout, caught eight passes for a career-high 141 yards, including a sprinting 62-yard touchdown catch, to briefly even the score in the third quarter. It was his fourth score in three games. The Jets’ offense might have a legitimate star.

VERDICT: Watching the 2021 Jets is like mainlining tryptophan. Happy Thanksgiving!

The Jets have, once again, lost the A.F.C. East’s annual “At Least We Aren’t As Bad As Them” Bowl to the Dolphins.

The result of this game was decided Wednesday, when Joe Flacco was named the starter. On Sunday, Flacco was fine, his years of experience helping him decipher Dolphins Coach Brian Flores’s man-to-man coverages and blitz packages.

The Jets’ best available option at quarterback could only produce 17 points against Miami’s defense, and yet, I feel better about the Jets after this loss than I have at any other point in the season because there are some fun players to watch, after all.

Receiver Elijah Moore torched Byron Jones and Xavien Howard, two defensive backs with strong reputations for taking away an opponent’s best receiver, for a touchdown.

Michael Carter looked like a serious running back, and his toughness will be valuable for this offense, when, or if, it gets good enough to play with a lead. Offensive guard Alijah Vera-Tucker was healthy enough to play again, and we know that the combination of Tucker and a healthy Mekhi Becton, who is out after knee surgery at the beginning of the season, will create running lanes for Carter when they’re finally able to take the field together.

Safety Ashtyn Davis picked off a pass from Tagovailoa, confirmation that the Jets’ defensive backs know they are more than traffic cones.

There’s hope that the Jets can be a trap game for the Houston Texans (2-8), who will be riding high after a surprise win over the Tennessee Titans (8-3).

Have my standards and expectations dropped so much that I’ve forced myself into finding silver linings?

Mind your own business.

Verdict: You’ll be trapped in the house with family for Thanksgiving weekend anyhow. Why not bond over some ineptitude?

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