Two chat themes seemed predominant in the Jets' Gillette Stadium locker room late Sunday afternoon.
One one was dismay over the way the Jets' 10-3 loss to the Patriots ended, on Marcus Jones' 84-yard punt-return touchdown with five seconds to play.
"I'm in disbelief," said CB D.J. Reed.
"It was a tough loss, that's for sure," LB C.J. Mosley replied.
But the other wavelength was win or lose, it didn't make a whole lot of difference.
"It was a tough loss, that's for sure," LB C.J. Mosley said. "But it's not the end of the world. We have a chance to go out there next week and try to put our best foot forward and be great as a team. So that's what we're looking forward to."
"Our life revolves around this, and of course it's frustrating," WR/KR Braxton Berrios said. "It would be ridiculous to say that it's not. But at the end of the day, any loss is supposed to be frustrating. Obviously all credit to them. We were in a dogfight, and they made one more play than we did, and that's reflected in the score. It is what it is, we'll go back tomorrow and figure out what we can get better at, and Tuesday off and Wednesday will be a new week."
That's a coping mechanism, certainly, but it's also relatively true. Had the Jets won this game, besides feeling great about ending some Patriots hexes, they'd enjoy breathing the rarefied air of first place in the AFC East — for about a day in keeping with the NFL's universal "24-hour rule.". They would've been tied with bye-week Miami and victorious Buffalo at 7-3, but with a win over the Dolphins and Bills, the head-to-head tiebreaker would have given the top-spot edge to the Jets.
And with the loss, the Jets and New England are evened up at 6-4, with the Jets slipping to fourth because of their two losses to the Patriots. Yet the difference between the Dolphins and Bills on top and the Pats and Jets on the bottom is one game.
Then there's an early look at the playoff seeds after 11 weeks — keeping in mind that seven weeks remain before the tiebreakers mean anything important. Early this evening, the four AFC East teams are all in the playoff grid, with the Jets checking in with the seventh and final conference playoff seed.
The Green & White will have a chance to regain their equilibrium this week after what TE Tyler Conklin among others suggested was "a weird game out there today."
"Personally, I thought it was an odd game, too," Conklin said of the Jets' offense. "We've just got to be better as a unit. Whether it's the run game or the pass game, everybody has a hand in it. We all had plays we could have made or should have done better and we didn't. As a unit we all have to look at ourselves personally and figure out what we should have done better in the future to not have a performance like that again."
See the best images from the Week 11 matchup between the Jets and Patriots.
There is a tendency in the NFL, especially among fans and media but among some players and coaches, too, to think despite the mantra that you're as bad as your most recent loss. But if a home defeat to New England didn't derail the sweet turnaround season the Jets had been enjoying so they could post a magnificent win over the Bills, this windy road loss to the Patriots won't alter their collective psyche for the challenge from Chicago (3-8) at MetLife Stadium next Sunday.
"It was a hard loss," DL Bryce Huff said, "but that doesn't affect who we are."
"The biggest thing," LB Quincy Williams, an astute standings scholar, said, "is going in tomorrow and looking at our mistakes, the things we did good, building off of that, and then putting it behind us and worrying about going 1-0 against the Bears."
"There's still seven games to be played," head coach Robert Saleh said. "We have the whole season ahead of us. So we're still right there in the thick of things and we've just got to get back on the horse."
And while on the horse, do everything in your power to make sure the first part of the old saying, "Some days, you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you," is the only part that gains traction in Week 12.