SEATTLE — Mike F’n White transformed into F’n Mike White Sunday and the Jets’ collapse is now complete.
The Jets lost their fifth straight game, an ugly 23-6 defeat to the Seahawks at Lumen Field to officially be eliminated from the playoffs for a 12th straight year, the longest active drought in the NFL.
The Jets entered the game needing to win their final two and have the Patriots lose next week to the Bills. But the Jets could not find the end zone and their defense gave up enough big plays early in the game to send the Jets into a meaningless final week of the season.
The loss drops the Jets to 7-9, guaranteeing their seventh straight losing season. This was a stunning fall for a team that was 7-4 at the end of November and felt like it was ready to end the playoff drought. Instead, the Jets suffered one of the worst collapses in franchise history. Put it right beside 1994, 1997, 2000, 2008 and 2011 as a Jets team that showed so much promise only to have the season end in so much disappointment.
Quarterback Mike White, who many viewed as a season savior, played his worst game of the season. In his first game back since breaking his ribs, he was inaccurate and looked slow reading the field. White threw two interceptions and never looked like he felt comfortable.
On the other side was former Jets quarterback Geno Smith, who has morphed into a Pro Bowler this season in Seattle. He was not spectacular in this one but threw two touchdown passes in the first half and handed the team that drafted him a tough loss.
The game opened with the Jets’ defense allowing a 60-yard run to Kenneth Walker. That set the tone early for the defense, which gave up 193 yards in the first quarter. They would settle down but Seattle had already grabbed a lead.
It was the same old story for the Jets’ offense, which looked as inept with White at quarterback as it did with Zach Wilson. The Jets broke off a few big runs early and had some success moving the ball but could not find the end zone. The Jets have now gone two full games without scoring a touchdown.
The Jets were trailing 17-6 at halftime but had a chance to get back in the game as they opened the second half with the ball. White found tight end Tyler Conklin on third-and-10 for a 30-yard gain and the Jets were moving. But the drive stalled when White’s third-down pass sailed over Corey Davis’ head. Jets coach Robert Saleh, desperate to get some points, had Greg Zuerlein attempt a 57-yard field goal that sailed wide left.
The Seahawks got great field position and a fourth-and-1 sneak by Smith kept the drive going. They eventually settled for a 31-yard field goal from Jason Myers with 6:03 let in the third quarter that gave the Seahawks a 14-point lead that felt more like 40. Myers, another former Jet, added another field goal late in the fourth quarter after a White interception to make it 23-6.
The Seahawks wasted no time jumping on the Jets. Walker took the first play from scrimmage right through the defense for a 60-yard gain. Two plays later, Smith hit tight end Colby Parkinson for a 12-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
On the Jets’ first drive, they drove to the Seahawks’ 33 but White made a terrible decision on third down and threw into double coverage. Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs intercepted the pass and ended the Jets’ chance of getting points.
The Seahawks got a field goal after the interception to take an early 10-0 lead.
The Jets answered with a scoring drive of their own. They went 49 yards on nine plays with Zuerlein’s 44-yard field goal cutting the Seattle lead to 10-3 with 2:19 left in the first quarter.
Seattle continually hit big plays. The first quarter ended with Smith escaping the pass rush and then flipping it to running back DeeJay Dallas for a 41-yard gain. That set up Smith’s second touchdown pass of the day, a 7-yard strike to tight end Tyler Mabry and a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter. It was Mabry’s first career catch.
The Jets again moved the ball on their next series and got all the way to the Seattle 13-yard line. But a false start on Duane Brown on first down moved them back 5 yards and they could not recover. On third-and-16, White was sacked by Darrell Taylor, who blew George Fant off the ball, and Quinton Jefferson. They had to settle for another 44-yard field goal from Zuerlein to make it a 17-6 lead for the Seahawks.
The Jets’ defense finally got a stop midway through the second quarter, sacking Smith twice. First, Micheal Clemons got him on first down and then John Franklin-Myers sacked him on third down, forcing the first punt of the game.
The Jets tried to move the ball from their own 1 at the end of the first half but the drive and the half ended with a strip-sack of White, sending the Jets to the locker room down 17-6.
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