It simply was not to be for QB Mike White and the Jets.
With the Jets battling to stay alive in the race for a berth in the AFC playoffs, the Green & White spotted Seattle 10 early points and never recovered in a 23-6 loss to the Seahawks at Lumen Field on Sunday. The loss, the second straight game in which the Jets (7-9) failed to score a touchdown, leaves them on the outside looking in at the postseason for yet another season.
"It stinks," said QB Mike White who returned as the starter after missing two games with bruised ribs. "It's tough, gut-wrenching, all of the above. Whatever adjective you want to use to describe it. There are no moral victories. We are playing meaningful football in December. But I don't only care if you're playing meaningful games. Now you need to win meaningful games. I know everyone is going to use this as fuel, but right now, it stinks."
The Jets needed to defeat Seattle (8-8) then win at Miami next week, and also have New England lose or tie one of its two remaining regular-season games. Before the Jets took the field, the Patriots notched a win over Miami.
The Jets found themselves behind, 7-0, less than two minutes into the first quarter, but put together a good drive on their first possession, with White hitting TE Tyler Conklin for 17 yards and Ty Johnson rambling for 22 yards on the next play. But two plays later, White threw the first of two interceptions on third-and-7 from the Seattle 33.
"I was careless on the first one," White said. "Just threw it up for [Denzel] Mims, the second one I left a throw behind Garrett [Wilson]."
After the interception, White and the Jets closed out the first half by being stripped of the ball, then he threw a second INT with 9:17 to play. Overall, White completed 23-of-46 passes for 240 yards (47.4 rating). He was sacked 4 times and was hit 10 times.
"We made far too many mistakes in that first quarter to give ourselves a chance," head coach Robert Saleh said. "And couldn't get anything going in the second half. It's disappointing."
The run game, which had a promising start, was limited to a total of 75 yards, which put pressure on White and the passing game.
"If you don't run the ball well, it's hard to be one-dimensional in this league," White said. "We put ourselves in a hole and it's hard to climb back and the game got away from us.
"We just didn't do what we needed to do. You can go game by game, we just didn't get the job done whatever the reason, right, wrong, indifferent, we just didn't get the job done."
Asked if he felt hampered by the rib injury sustained in a loss at Buffalo, White said: "I was cleared to play by the doctors. ... The guys in the locker room deserve a certain standard. I knew what I was signing up for. I practiced all week, I don't think ... there's a standard they deserve, and I didn't play to that standard today." He added: "It's football. I was cleared to play."
Sitting at 6-3 heading into the bye week, the Jets appeared to be in position to advance to the postseason for the first time since 2010, but fell short, losing five straight.
"You want to finish strong," White said. "You put so much time and effort and work into this thing, in OTAs, minicamp, training camp. Not just the players, the coaches, the training staff, the equipment staff. That's what makes it sting so much. The amount of work and preparation that went into this, I wanted to finish strong. The guys in the locker room deserve that. Right now, it's hard to look past what happened today."
See the best images from the Week 17 matchup between the Jets and Seahawks.