It's a difficult sell to say something good came out of a team's fifth straight loss. But if one thing did seem to bode better for the Jets in their 27-13 loss to the Patriots on Sunday, it was the return of the wide receivers to the offense.
"Yeah, it was good to see Jermaine get going and just to kind of move the ball around," said QB Josh McCown, who completed 26 of 45 passes for 276 yards, including 12 for 161 yards and his one touchdown pass, to Jermaine Kearse in the first quarter. "I do think you're able to grow off that, for sure, and continue to improve the passing game and hopefully continue to build a balanced offense."
Kearse, who had been in a slump that had lasted as long as the Jets' four straight losses (eight catches, 56 yards), had his best game since Indianapolis with six catches for 66 yards. Plus all four of his catches converted third downs, the most by a Jet since Eric Decker had four third-down conversions at New England in 2015.
Quincy Enunwa had four grabs for 73 yards, including the Jets' longest reception in five games and his longest in six, a 41-yard catch-and-run. Robby Anderson, still limited by his ankle, contributed two catches for 22 yards.
This after the Bills game, in which the wideout group managed seven catches for 45 yards, their second-lowest yardage total and lowest at home in the last four seasons.
But neither Kearse nor Enunwa was much into talking about their individual games or silver linings in losses to the Patriots. As Enunwa said tersely, "I don't care about moral victories."
"We felt good about the first half and what we were able to accomplish," Kearse said. "The second half didn't go exactly the way we wanted, but we just have to keep pushing. ... We just have to be more consistent, I think that's the biggest thing. Just being consistent on drives, converting on third down, not having penalties that set us back. The small details. That's what it comes down to when winning in the NFL. Who's going to do the small details the best?"
And both wideouts stressed more than individual accomplishments that the Jets will not stop working on improving the offense and the team in the final five weeks.
"I can't speak for the room. I think for myself, I'm frustrated. It's frustrating when you put your all into this game and the results don't come out the way you want them to," Enunwa said. "But I still believe in my brothers, I still believe in these guys. There's no reason not to. We fight. I just wish that we collectively did a better job of just finishing those games and executing the game plan."
"You just have to keep grinding," said Kearse. "It's really easy to just duck your head and not believe in yourself anymore, but you just have to keep believing, keep having the confidence, and try to see what we can do in these last five games."