ORCHARD PARK, NY - 10-6 has never felt so awful.
"I don't know, I'm a little numb right now," Brandon Marshall said. "I have no emotion. (I'll) get on the bus and reflect a little bit, and heal up, and think about the future."
At the beginning of the season any Jet fan would have told you that they would be happy to get to 10 wins this year, well they got 10 wins but it's the six miserable losses that will keep them out of the playoffs and it will be the two coming at the hands of Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills that will stick with the fans and players the entire offseason.
"No, it's not going to feel good sitting at home with 10 wins," Calvin Pace said. "In hindsight, if you were to do it all over again, we should have handled our business in a couple of games earlier in the season. A lot of teams would say that right now, so, like I said, we just picked a bad day to have a bad game. You can give Buffalo credit, they played their butts off. They made a few more plays than us."
The Jets felt confident coming into the game but they made one mistake after another to start the game, allowed the Bills to captalize off those mistakes, and continued to dig their own grave. They made a late push to climb out that grave but it all collapsed on them as Ryan Fitzpatrick unraveled throwing three interceptions on the Jets final three drives.
"Yeah, it was tough," Fitzpatrick said. "All you can ask for in this game is an opportunity and as poorly as we played in the first quarter and as slow as we were going there, we picked it up and had an opportunity at the end to win the game. We weren't able to pull it off and my heart hurts so bad right now for all those guys in the locker room. It was a tough one."
Fitzpatrick took the blame for this loss and put it on his shoulders, as he should've with a stat line of 16-37 for 181 yards two touchdowns and three interceptions, but Marshall, who was outstanding once again (eight catches for 126 yards and a touchdown), wasn't having it as he was one of multiple players to stick up for Fitzpatrick.
"If it wasn't for Ryan Fitzpatrick we wouldn't (have) be on this position," Marshall said. "Ryan needs to stop that (blaming himself), he needs to keep his head up. He played an awesome game and not only that he led us all season. He was the guy that, when we were on that decline a little bit mid-season that spoke up and brought the team together. There were other vets (who did the same but he led the way."
For the second time this year the Jets came out flat against Rex Ryan and the Bills, were outplayed and outcoached as the Bills dominated on third downs on both sides of the ball, but this time the abject failure directly cost them a playoff spot.
"Honestly, the biggest thing is not getting off the field. If you look back, we had so many opportunities to get off the football field. We had them in third-and-five, third-and-six, third-and-nine and sometimes third-and-10, and we couldn't get off the field. They get 15 or 14-yard gains and that hurts," Antonio Cromartie said. "That can take a big blow to a defense that's used to getting off the field on third downs. We just never got off the field. They had 14 or 15 play drives. They accounted for everything that we had to take a chance on to get off the field, and we didn't capitalize on that."
The wind was howling constantly and the Bills simply adjusted to the conditions much easier. The Jets struggled to get their passing attack going and for some strange reason decided to lean on Stevan Ridley more than Chris Ivory in the running game.
"It was game plan-related. We tried to give him (Ivory) a break a little bit too because he wasn't 100 percent, but he was good enough to play," Todd Bowles said. "We could have gave him more plays in there, but the game didn't dictate that way."
They had their chances but they just couldn't do enough to overcome their own mistakes and get their 11th win. They can talk about focusing on building off of this season but they will have to wait until September to play their next game and there is no one on this team that can even stomach the idea of looking at the positives. They failed to get into the playoffs and that failure is all they can think about as their season ends with a whimper.
"No moral victories," Marshall said. "Yeah, any team that's going home right now is a failure because we play for one reason and that's to win it all. So, there's no moral victories, no one is going to feel sorry for you, so we just have to be men and deal with it."
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)null