Adam Gase had a pretty good general idea why the Jets lost to the Colts, 36-7, at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.
"We can't turn the ball over," the Jets head coach said. "We have to figure out a way to stop those guys. We put ourselves in at least position a few times, but a red-area turnover and two pick-sixes is not going to make it for us. We have to play a way better game than that. We let that one get so far away from us."
And he had a pretty specific culprit for the individual turnover department. Hint: It wasn't the two interception-return touchdowns in the odd-numbered quarters.
"The red-area interception is where it felt like things really started going bad for us," Gase said. "We were first-and-goal inside the 10. We have to score a touchdown there and we definitely can't turn it over."
Needless to say, Sam Darnold's first pick-six, returned for the score by CB Xavier Rhodes just 2:35 into the action, was part of the damage assessment. Take away that score and add at least three points on the second-quarter end zone theft, also by Rhodes, and the Jets might have found themselves tied going in at intermission.
Instead, the red-zone turnover helped keep the score at 17-7 in the home side's favor and set the stage for CB T.J. Carrie's 47-yard INT-return TD that ended the third quarter by putting the Colts up 31-7.
"We haven't done a good job," Gase said in response to a question about his responsibility for the three lopsided losses that have started the season. "We all have to get better — coaches, players, myself, everybody. We have to do a better job. We have to find a way to clean all of the mistakes up and put ourselves in position to compete in the game."
Are three large losses to start the season embarrassing, he was asked. He didn't disagree.
"You don't want to go out there and get your ass kicked," Gase said. "It's frustrating. I'm frustrated for our guys, our coaches. We're the only ones that can fix it. We have to do it. We have to figure out a way to clean up all of the things that aren't going right for us."
One thing that will be difficult to clean up in a hurry is team health, particularly in this short week leading up to a Thursday Night Football home game against the Denver Broncos.
The wide receiver group, which has been without second-round rookie Denzel Mims on IR and lost Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman to the inactive list for the Colts, may or may not be down another body with Chris Hogan suffering a quad/knee injury. Tackle, which had been a stout position on the rebuilt offensive line, has suffered as RT George Fant (concussion) sat out the Colts game and first-round rookie LT Mekhi Becton (shoulder) went out before halftime. LB Jordan Jenkins also jammed a shoulder but stayed in most of the way.
"We have a short week," Gase said. "For us, guys that are banged up have to get in the training room. We have to recover as quickly as possible. We have to move on to the next one. We have a very short period of time, so we don't have time to hang our heads and worry about this one too much. We have to get on to the next one and figure out a way to win a game."