Greg McElroy will be in a world of hurt this Christmas.
The Chargers greeted the Jets second-year passer Sunday with a Holiday sock loaded with rocks and they repeatedly punished him with 11 sacks as the Jets fell 27-17. In his first NFL start, McElroy was sacked as many times as any QB in franchise history.
"I have to do a better job of getting the ball out," McElroy said after New York's AFC representative was guaranteed its first sub-.500 record in the Rex Ryan era. "I have to do a better job of getting on the same page with the wide receivers and being able to anticipate some more throws. I just have to continue to try to improve."
Ryan had a look of exasperation on his face when he met with reporters following the Jets' latest defeat. This was a Bolts defense that had 27 sacks through 14 games and they loaded the bus late Sunday with 38.
"Offensively you're not beating anybody when you play like that. It's just hard to put into words," Ryan said. "You get sacked 11 times. It's extremely frustrating. I expected a lot better, but that never happened."
DE Kendall Reyes led the visiting charge with 3.5 sacks in a stunning pass rushing display and the Green & White were just 2-of-11 on third-down. In a season loaded with embarrassing moments at home, the Jets ended with another one.
"It's one of those situations where you (have) to go to the film. It's easy to see 11 sacks and say the line got beat up," said veteran WR Braylon Edwards, who finished with three catches for 36 yards. "What you can't see right away is did the quarterback hold the ball too long? Did the receivers not get open during their routes? The big thing is to watch the film and really assess how those 11 sacks happened, who's to blame and how we can get better. We'll watch the film and we'll definitely correct that. I can promise and guarantee you won't see 11 sacks next week."
McElroy (with an assist from Wildcat QB Jeremy Kerley) helped lead two scoring drives in the first quarter as the Jets tallied 14 points in the opening 15 minutes for the first time since Game 7 of the 2009 season. He completed 14 of 24 for 185 yards overall, but lost 71 yards on the 11 sacks. And after playing turnover free in the first half, McElroy was intercepted by Corey Lynch late in the third and lost a fumble on a strip-sack in the fourth.
"I've got to learn how to negotiate in the pocket a little bit better," he said. "A lot of times I was stepping up, I was stepping up too far or I was sliding. There were just some protection breakdowns obviously, but that's the nature of the game. The quarterback has to do a better job of getting everyone on the same page."
The Jets had all three of their quarterbacks active for the first time in 2012. Ryan will stick with McElroy in Week 17 as the Jets conclude a disappointing campaign in Buffalo against the 5-10 Bills.
"I'm going to go with McElroy," Ryan said. "I'd like to give him a chance and see what happens. I love his competitiveness. We have to protect a hell of a lot better than we did today."
While much of the world will be decorated in green and red the next couple of days, McElroy has to recover from a black and blue beatdown.
"When he wasn't on his back, I thought he did some good things," Ryan said. "He had a couple of nice throws. I thought he was poised beyond belief taking the kind of heat he was under. He made some nice runs. He's tough."
"Everyone's pretty down," McElroy said. "But we understand where we need to improve. We understand what we need to do. I can promise you we're going to be working our butts off trying to get better throughout this last week."