FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — On a day when the Jets were hurt, humiliated and humbled, it was a voice from the past that really drove home how pathetic the 2021 Jets are.
The Patriots honored former defensive lineman Richard Seymour at halftime on Sunday, and Seymour recounted when coach Bill Belichick called him to tell him he was being inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame. Seymour said Belichick asked him which game he would like to be honored at.
“I told him I wanted to come to our homecoming game against the Jets,” Seymour said to the delight of the Gillette Stadium crowd.
The worst part of the slight was the Jets deserved it.
Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones made it look like he was back at Alabama and the Jets were Vanderbilt as New England dismantled the Jets 54-13, handing the team one of its worst losses ever — and that is saying something.
Adding injury to insult, Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson exited the game in the second quarter with a right knee injury. The belief is Wilson has a PCL sprain, according to a source, and will only be out for a few weeks.
Wilson’s status is a concern, but so is how pitiful these Jets looked on Sunday. Coming off of a bye, the Jets were outcoached by Belichick and friends in a way that was stunning.
“They punched us in the freaking mouth and scored points, so credit to them,” Saleh said. “That’s it. I mean, I’ve been in part of some of those in my life. They just don’t feel good.”
The loss dropped the Jets to 1-5 and it was their 12th straight loss to the Patriots. New England entered the game with questions about how it was playing, but used the Jets as a “get right” game and looked just fine, scoring on its first six possessions. The victory moved the Pats to 3-4 this season.
It was a humiliating defeat for the Jets, who gave up 50 points for the first time since 1995. The 54 points were the most the Jets have allowed since Sept. 9, 1979, when the Patriots beat them 56-3. The 54 points allowed is the fourth-most in franchise history. The 41-point loss is the biggest loss by the Jets since their 45-3 loss to the Patriots on Dec. 6, 2010. It is tied for the ninth-largest loss in team history.
“This is the NFL,” Saleh said. “You give up 50 points, it’s embarrassing. … A helpless feeling where you’re just watching, you’re trying to figure something out. I’ll be honest. We talk about adversity. Everyone was asking. You can chalk this one up, it’s here. This is from coaches all the way down. NFL doesn’t really give a flying [expletive] — excuse my language — in terms of scheduling. We got to line up the next week and for the 11 or 12, whatever we got left. I know we got the right men in that locker room. I know we got the right people in that locker room. I know we’ll come back strong. But we got to get it going.”
One of those men that Saleh likely will be without when the Jets face the Bengals and beyond is Wilson, the rookie the Jets hope is the answer to their decades-long search for a quarterback. Wilson made his best throw of the game, a bullet to tight end Ryan Griffin, just before he was injured.
After he uncorked a deep pass intended for Keelan Cole early in the second quarter, Wilson was hit by Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon and his right knee was driven into the ground. Wilson stayed down for several minutes before walking off and then heading to the locker room, where he remained for the rest of the game.
“I threw the ball and I think my front toe, foot kind of just got stuck in the ground,” Wilson said. “The dude just kind of fell on it with all of his weight. I kind of felt like it twisted and I felt a pop in there.”
Wilson will undergo an MRI exam on Monday to determine the extent of the damage to his knee, but he and Saleh both sounded optimistic that it won’t be a long absence.
“The pain really isn’t there,” Wilson said. “It just kind of feels like something’s off as far as just being loose or unstable a little bit.”
Mike White replaced Wilson and threw his first NFL pass for a touchdown to Corey Davis. White made some nice throws but also threw two interceptions as he appeared in a regular-season game for the first time. White was not the reason the Jets lost, though. The game felt over before he even entered it.
The members of the offense spent the bye week talking about how they could start faster, but opened the game with a three-and-out that showed no creativity in play-calling from coordinator Mike LaFleur. The Jets had a better second drive, but kicker Matt Ammendola missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt.
The Jets have now gone six games without scoring a point in the first quarter. The last team to do that was the 2008 Lions, who went 0-16. The Jets have been outscored 44-0 in the first quarter and 106-20 in the first half.
As bad as the offense looked, the defense matched it. The Patriots scored on their first six drives and led 31-7 at halftime and New England finished with 551 total yards.
The Jets now face a red-hot Bengals team on Sunday and travel to play the Colts four days later on “Thursday Night Football” and likely will be without Wilson in both.
The Jets are the opponent every team wants to see right now. Just ask Richard Seymour.
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