No ceremonial burying of the football is planned for this week, a la after the only other 40-point loss of Rex Ryan's head-coaching tenure. But a figurative burial is already under way as the Jets increase the distance from Sunday's 49-9 loss at Cincinnati and decrease the time ahead before they face New Orleans at home on Sunday.
"We handed out all the grade sheets to the players. They're going to watch the tape on their own," Ryan said at this afternoon's news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. "But for us to sit in there and go over it again, when we know exactly what happened, I thought it would be more beneficial to move on to New Orleans, get a start on them. And that's exactly what we did."
"I never buried the football this time," he said of the pigskin last rites following the 2010 regular-season 45-3 loss at New England. "But we're a much better team than that — we know we're a better team than that. But what happened happened, and you're better off, we'd better move forward. That's why I did what I did."
Moving forward in these situations is always difficult. After our defense yielded five touchdown passes to Andy Dalton and company about 24 hours ago, we are about to play a Drew Brees/Saints offense that threw five touchdown passes at home over the Bills the same day.
A 40-point loss is never easy to erase from the short-term memory banks, but it can be done. After that loss at Gillette, the Jets came home and lost to the Dolphins, 10-6, the next week. In the eight other 40-point losses in franchise history (leaving out one regular-season-finale loss), we're 3-5 in the follow-up games.
And in the NFL the five seasons from 2008-12, a total of 14 other teams (besides the '10 Jets) were faced with overcoming a 40-points-plus waxing one week. Those teams' records the next week: 7-7. Coincidentally, in '11, Tampa Bay even came back from a 48-3 thumping by San Francisco to beat none other than New Orleans the next week, 26-20.
But are these Jets made of that stern stuff that can put a 7-0 touchdown deficit to the Bengals (tied for the second-worst TD margin in franchise history) in its rearview mirror immediately? Some players in the locker room after learning that Rex canceled today's walkthrough jutted their jaws and said they can.
C Nick Mangold: "We're disappointed, upset. It's not an indication of the work that we put in during the week, so it's disappointing that that's what people see. We have to go out and put the work in this week to try to correct that and manage to go out there and get a win."
LB Demario Davis: "It's the NFL. There are great competitors on each team. It's going to happen. You're going to have games where you have your highs, you're going to have games where you have your lows. So when you have a game where you have a low like that, pretty much you just want to let it go and start focusing on the next one so that we can come out and perform better next week. And that's what we're doing, focusing on the Saints."
DE Muhammad Wilkerson: "We're brothers. We're all going to stick together and learn from these mistakes and get better. We've just got to keep on believing in each other. That was a tough loss, but we can't let one loss turn into two losses."
But Ryan knows the road won't be easy when the Jets offense takes on his twin brother Rob's defense and if the defense that played the Bengals shows up again for Brees and the Saints.
"Your focus had better be on their record," Rex said. "At 6-1, that's a pretty good football team, so obviously we've got our work cut out for us. We have to improve in a hurry in a lot of areas. If we don't play better pass defense than we did this week, he'll throw for 700 yards. So clearly we have to improve in that area, as one example of how we have to get better." And the move is on toward trying not to allow one difficult loss turn into two difficult losses. Step one was to bury the memory of the Bengals.