With a day to process Sunday's 17-16 loss against the Buffalo Bills, Jets head coach Adam Gase did not hold back when he was asked about his team's shortcomings in the season opener.
Among the players and coaches singled out by Gase, Robby Anderson shouldered part of the offense's blame after the fourth-year wide receiver recorded three receptions for 23 yards on seven targets.
Anderson came to Gase's mind after New York's first-year head coach fielded a question about the offense's ineptitude, which was highlighted by second-year quarterback Sam Darnold's lack of a deep threat.
"If we just make plays on the balls that we actually threw down the field, that's a different number," Gase said on Monday's conference call. "We had a chance to win the game."
Among the opportunities, with Gang Green down 17-16 to the Bills, Darnold dropped back on a first-and-10 pass out of the shotgun from the Jets' 29 and had Anderson down the left sideline past two defenders.
While safety Jordan Poyer laid out, Anderson appeared to make no effort, pulling up as Darnold's ball -- about a yard ahead -- fell at the Bills' 21.
Earlier in the drive, Darnold had Anderson again on a third-and-1 pass from the Jets' 34, but the receiver did not adjust quickly enough to the quarterback's underthrown ball down the left sideline and the pass fell incomplete.
"We have to come out of our double move," Gase said. "The guy falls down and we don't come out running. So if we do that, then all of a sudden we're scoring a touchdown. Guys need to do a better job of executing what they're supposed to be doing."
Darnold completed 28 of 41 passes (68.3 percent) for 175 yards (6.25 average) and a nine-yard touchdown to running back Le'Veon Bell.
As the offense totaled 223 yards on 66 plays (3.4 average), Gase also questioned the overall execution of the unit, from the offensive line to Darnold.
"Some of (the offensive struggle) was the O-line," Gase said. "But I would say if we read the coverages correctly with the receivers, some of that isn't a problem."
Sam Darnold had Robby Anderson twice on the Jets' last drive.- Dan Pizzuta (@DanPizzuta) September 9, 2019
First, Darnold underthrew off backpedal and Anderson waited instead of coming back to ball.
Second, Darnold just missed on an overthrow. pic.twitter.com/MlBXAjsePW
On the other side of the ball, the defense unraveled in the second half and allowed the Bills to come all the way back from 16-0 down with 17 unanswered points for the fourth-quarter stunner.
Gase gave first-year defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and the unit just as much blame after a first-half shutout went to waste.
"I feel like we have some slight room for improvement," Gase said of the defense. "I'll say that nicely."
Aside from linebacker C.J. Mosley's 17-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter, the Jets rolled over against the Bills and quarterback Josh Allen, allowing 242 of the 370 total yards through the air.
The Jets lost Mosley to a groin injury -- although the Jets believe the sixth-year linebacker will play next week against the Cleveland Browns, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano reported Monday -- which left a hole in the defense down the stretch.
"It's just a collective effort," Gase said. "It's like, 'Just do your job.' That's the key. When we hit the fourth quarter, when we hit nut-cut time, when it's the time when things are really getting tough, when it's really getting hairy, the best players don't change. The players that make an impact in the fourth quarter, they don't change -- everyone else does."