As of publish, Todd Bowles is still the head coach of the New York Jets. I’m not sure why.
Surely the 3-7 Jets will correct that within the next day—possibly within a few hours. Christopher Johnson should find Bowles after the game when the players have gone home and tell him not to worry about coming in Monday. The embarrassing 41–10 home loss to the Bills on Sunday solidified that Bowles’s time in New York is up.
The decision was an obvious one to make at the end of the season. But such an embarrassing home loss against this division opponent accelerates that decision, and with a Week 11 bye, there’s no better time than now.
The Bills, who have had the worst fortune at the sport’s most important position this year, started Matt Barkley less than two weeks after signing him. He regularly tested the Jets’ secondary and won more times than he lost. The Jets even left offensive tackle Dion Dawkins catch a touchdown pass on them.
As bad as New York’s defense was, its offense was even worse. By halftime the Jets had managed just 68 yards with Josh McCown starting at quarterback. They started the game with four consecutive three-and-outs A 55-yard field goal at the end of the half kept the Jets from being shutout. They finished with 199 yards of total offense. (Not to be left out, the Jets’ special teams fell for a fake punt in the first quarter that continued a Buffalo drive that ended in a touchdown.)
“It’s getting to that point, but every game from here on out is a must win,” Bowles said earlier this week when asked if this game was a must-win. “Every game three weeks ago was a must win. Each week is a must-win for us, but from a record standpoint, yes.”
The sobering reality is that the Jets have gotten worse each year since Bowles’ first season when he went 10–6 and narrowly missed the playoffs. Consecutive five-win seasons have led to a year that seems unlikely to yield more than four or five wins. They haven’t created a turnover since Oct. 14. Their three wins this season came against teams below .500. And their injured franchise quarterback has spent his rookie season turning the ball over at Jameis Winston-like pace.
Semantics and everything, but this game was more of a can’t-lose than a must-win for the Jets. Even a close loss would have probably sent Bowles packing this week, but such a shellacking most certainly spells the end of his time at the helm.
What’s next for the Jets? There’s no need to win any more games this year—and they finish the season with five games against playoff-caliber teams and the Bills—so the tank should be on. Then in early January, the team should hire a head coach with an offensive background, something the franchise hasn’t done since Rich Kotite in 1995. Doug Pederson, Sean McVay and Matt Nagy have all proven themselves with young quarterbacks. It’s only proper the Jets find a coach who can pair with Sam Darnold for years to come.
And then two months later, the Jets should sign free-agent running back Le’Veon Bell to give Darnold a legitimate weapon in the backfield to start his second season.
It’s going to be a long end to the season for the Jets, but there’s no reason to have Todd Bowles around for it.