Victories over playoff-bound Los Angeles (Rams) and Cleveland should have provided a springboard for the Jets into New England Sunday against a reeling team with a departing quarterback.
But this was Adam Gase and his Jets. We again fell for it.
In two years, success was short lived, and everyone shouldn’t have been fooled.
It culminated a little after 9 p.m. Sunday night when owner Christopher Johnson pulled the plug on Gase’s two-year stay.
This was another promising hire that was a transitory one. No coach has come close to legendary Weeb Ewbank’s 11-year run (1963-73).
This will be nother reset for a long-tenured coach, and could be one for the next franchise quarterback.
Remember the anticipation at the start of the summer from a 6-2 finish last season? These would be the new and improved Jets of 2020. Too many people took the bait.
The Jets (2-14) played in tune for nearly three quarters with their embattled coach as the script was followed.
A lack of overall energy, some short spurts, and the inability to finish that lead to a predictable 28-14 defeat, number 14 on the long list of 23 losses over two years.
That was the theme for the majority of games this season.
And it would all end appropriately in the hands of Bill Belichick, the Jets’ hater who again made the necessary adjustments to frustrate and cajole Jets quarterback Sam Darnold into two, second-half, badly thrown interceptions. It could easily have been three or more.
Pats’ quarterback Cam Newton, who likely is on his way out, struggled before he found his way to three touchdown passes — two less than his season total — and was the recipient of one on a trick play. These Patriots (7-9) were a shadow of themselves and on a three-game losing streak.
As for Darnold, he looked like the Jets’ answer at quarterback, pacing the team to victories over the Rams and Browns.
Against the Patriots, he again raised questions about his longevity in Green and White with some poor decision making and poor attempts.
It has gotten to the point where Darnold even second-guessed his future in the team’s post-game presser.
The Darnold doubters anxiously will be waiting to see what Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields can do for an encore in the CFP championship game next Monday after a six-touchdown performance against Clemson
Remember when Richard Todd or Chad Pennington were regarded as the next franchise quarterback? No one yet has come close to Joe Namath.
Darnold still may have the tools to get there. If Fields has another big game, the pressure will build to draft him with the overall number two pick in April.
The coach and the quarterback become top-of-the-list priorities Monday morning.
It begins yet another restart the Jets and their fans hope is the last one for a while.