Jets eliminated from playoff contention after loss to Dolphins. Rodgers’ comeback bid in question

Jets eliminated from playoff contention after loss to Dolphins. Rodgers’ comeback bid in question

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The very slim opening the New York Jets had of keeping their playoffs hopes alive closed with an emphatic dud.

And it might have ended the chances of Aaron Rodgers making a late-season return from a torn Achilles tendon.

A week after their 30-6 win over Houston, Zach Wilson and the Jets hoped that dominant performance would catapult a run that could end the franchise’s 12-season playoff skid — the NFLs’ longest active drought. Instead, they were eliminated following an embarrassing 30-0 loss against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday after both Houston and Cleveland won their games.

The loss assured a sixth consecutive losing season for the Jets (5-9).
“It’s been tough all year,” Jets wide receiver Allen Lazard said. “Obviously, you want to go out there and put up a better performance and play better as individuals and as a unit and collectively as a team.

“But we’ve definitely fallen far short of that.”

Rodgers, looking to make the quickest known recovery from a torn Achilles tendon among professional athletes, had been targeting the Jets’ game against Washington on Dec. 24 as his potential comeback. He still needs to be cleared by doctors and has said he also must feel he can protect himself on the field. But he also said New York would need to remain in the playoff hunt for him to come back to make sense.

The Jets have until Wednesday to activate him from injured reserve or Rodgers would miss the rest of the season.

“There’s no discussion to be had until he’s actually cleared,” coach Robert Saleh said.

New York had high expectations following the trade for Rodgers, with Super Bowl talk a common theme during training camp. But Rodgers tore his left Achilles tendon four snaps into his debut and the losses mounted under Wilson and a struggling offense.

“It’s disappointing,” Saleh said. “It started first series of the year all the way to now. It’s been a constant battle and I do appreciate the heck out of our guys.”

Wilson was benched for two games in place of the since-waived Tim Boyle, but was back in the starting role last Sunday when he threw for a season-high 301 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans.

But the beleaguered 2021 No. 2 overall pick faced repeated pressure and was sacked four times by Miami. Wilson exited because of a concussion late in the second quarter and finished 4 of 11 for 26 yards.

“I’m not sure the process,” Saleh said of Wilson’s injury. “I know that he is – from my understanding, it was called up top and he is now in the (concussion) protocol.”

The Jets allowed six sacks and 22 pressures.

“Credit to them, obviously, they won the battle upfront,” Saleh said. “They made it hard on us to be able to get anything going.”

Wilson’s second pass attempt served as an omen for his dismal day. Bradley Chubb and Christian Wilkins sacked Wilson for a 14-yard loss and stripped him of the ball. Zach Sieler recovered the fumble and three plays later, the Dolphins went ahead 7-0 on Raheem Mostert 2-yard run.

And the rout was on.

New York finished with 103 yards of total offense. Trevor Siemian replaced Wilson and finished 14 of 26 with two interceptions. It’s uncertain who will start at quarterback against Washington.

“This league is so tough, there is no carryover,” Siemian said. “You’re playing well, then you’re not. And if you’re not and if the other team is executing at a high level, that’s how it’s going to look like.”

TV cameras caught Jets receiver Garrett Wilson displaying his frustrations on the sidelines. The team’s leading receiver was not targeted until the third quarter.

“A lot of times, it comes off as I’m saying something,” Wilson said. “But the reality is I talk with a lot of emotion, especially when I’m playing a game I love. It’s not the results that we want.”

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh looks up during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)