Christopher Johnson has already promised that Adam Gase won't be fired and he'll be the Jets coach at the start of next season. There are no indications at all that the Jets CEO is willing to change his mind, no matter what happens down the stretch of the season.
But Gase sure has to be stretching his boss' patience.
Gase needed an absolute gift from the Dolphins and the officials to avoid what would have been another embarrassing loss on Sunday. The Jets won when a pass interference non-call was overturned on replay, giving them another shot to get into game-winning field goal range. Then, Sam Ficken nailed a 44-yarder as time expired to give the Jets a 22-21 win.
Up until that point, the Jets were a lifeless, mistake-prone group -- a group that looked nothing like the team that beat the Oakland Raiders 34-3 just two weeks ago. Granted they were without Le'Veon Bell and Jamal Adams and that definitely hurt. But they shouldn't have needed a Hail Mary of sorts to avoid being swept by a team like the Dolphins.
And remember, this squeaker came one week after the Jets lost to a winless team for the second time this season.
Granted, this has been a trying year and the Jets are plagued with injuries. But they had such life after their win over the Oakland Raiders two weeks ago, so much so that they were even beginning to appear on the fringe of the playoff chase. What happened the last two weeks is a poor reflection on a coach who has a lot to prove heading into next season.
And yes, he may still be the Jets' head coach when next season begins. But the Jets better start playing better right off the bat in 2020, otherwise he won't be the head coach for much longer than that.
In the mean time, here are a few more takeaways from the Jets' fifth win of the year …
- Sam Darnold is still far too up and down for someone at the end of his second season. He does incredible things, like the way he stepped up in the pocket and flicked a 26-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson, and makes mindless throws like the one that was picked off by safety Steven Parker. There was also the near interception he nearly threw late in the fourth quarter.
His numbers were fine -- 20-of-36, 270 yards, two touchdowns, one interception -- but he needs to get the offense moving better. Darnold is going to face some serious expectations next season, and he needs to show everyone a little more before this season is over.
- One way Darnold needs to be better: Throwing the ball away. He killed what could have been the Jets' game-winning drive when, after a 37-yard pass to Vyncint Smith, had the Jets on the edge of field goal range, he took a sack on second down. That pushed the Jets out of field goal range and led to them having to go for it on fourth and 17 -- or it least they would have had to go for it if the non-PI call on third down hadn't been reversed.
- The Dolphins don't have a lot of weapons to begin with, but the Jets did a nice job of keeping Ryan Fitzpatrick in check with a patchwork secondary. Thanks to injuries, they were forced to start Bless Austin, Kyron Brown and Nate Hairston at corner, with Marcus Maye and Darryl Roberts at safety (Roberts, of course, is a corner). Yet, Fitzpatrick was 21-of-37 for 245 yards with no touchdowns and one interception and the Dolphins were a disaster in the red zone (they had to settle for seven field goals to account for all their scoring). It did help that DeVante Parker got knocked out of the game with just two catches for 28 yards.
- There were some nice, early signs of life from rookie DT Quinnen Williams who made a few plays that seemed worthy of the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. Of course, he got called for a facemask on one of them and whiffed on a sack on the other. He's got to clean that up, but at least he was getting some of the interior pressure that everyone has been waiting to see. Williams later left the game with a burner.
- After getting skewered for his game plan in Cincinnati, when Le'Veon Bell only got 10 carries and the Jets ran on just 15 of their 69 plays, Gase seemed intent on proving a point with the running game this week. Bilal Powell, Bell's replacement, rushed 19 ties for 74 yards. And the Jets ran on 29 of their 69 plays.
- Anderson had a strong game, catching seven passes for 116 yards and a touchdown -- and he needed it, just a few days after declaring himself one of the Top 5 receivers in the NFL. The Jets went to him early and often. He was targeted 11 times on all sorts of routes and he really came through. But he did make one really bizarre decision, trying to hurdle a defender in the third quarter. He didn't make it, got hit in the legs, and fumbled the ball. He was lucky it bounced out of bounds.
- The Jets started to use Ty Montgomery a little more in the second half, and he finished with nine carries for 31 yards and three catches for 30 yards. He was pretty effective. And that brings up one of the enduring mysteries of this season: Why haven't the Jets used Montgomery more this season? He's a dual-threat weapon who has just gathered dust on the sidelines for the Jets this season. The lack of use this season has made him a waste of a signing, even though he could've been a steal considering he came on minimum deal.
- Facing a fourth and one from the Miami 14 late in the third quarter, with the Jets nursing only a 16-12 lead, Gase decided to go for it, rather than kick the field goal to go up seven points. It was an aggressive, gutsy call against a struggling defense. Not a bad idea, really, but it didn't work. The Dolphins blitzed and Powell got hit four yards in the backfield and couldn't get back to the line of scrimmage.
- He got called for a terrible pass interference penalty, but otherwise the rookie cornerback in Austin had another strong game. A sixth-round pick out of Rutgers, he's proving to be the steal the Jets thought he might be when they drafted him. Health has always been the key for him. He looks healthy now