"Self-inflicted wounds" was the buzzword following the New York Jets latest demoralizing loss, falling 27-6 to the Los Angeles Chargers at home Monday night.
"It was a lot of self-inflicted wounds," head coach Robert Saleh said, via the team's official website. "It felt like anytime we got momentum going, we just shot ourselves in the foot with penalties and turnovers. It's not good enough."
Let's be clear: Most of those self-inflicted gashes came from the offense.
Any time the Jets took a baby step forward Monday night, they followed it with a giant leap backward. A good play was abutted by a penalty, drop, blown block, awful sack or fumble (three lost on the night).
"Self-inflicted wounds," quarterback Zach Wilson said. "We'd just shoot ourselves in the foot."
Wilson was the biggest culprit, rattled behind a sieve offensive line, unable to find outlets, inviting pressure with poor pocket stature, and missing a cornucopia of easy throws. The QB went 33 for 49 passing for 263 yards and lost two fumbles. It marked the first game this season with 40-plus pass attempts (he's 0-3 in such games in his career).
Unable to avoid pressure, Wilson was sacked eight times, tied for the most in his career.
As the coach has done throughout the year, Saleh defended his young quarterback.
"Was it his best? No. His worst? Not even close," he said.
When the line between an average and the worst performance is as blurred as Wilson's right now, the problem is glaring.
"It's everyone," Saleh said. "Dropping passes, committing penalties, not giving ourselves a chance to get in the flow, got to own up to things and have to be better at it. When you continually shoot yourself in the foot, that's the result you're going to get."
The offensive line is a massive issue, and outside of Garrett Wilson, there isn't a receiver on offense who consistently makes plays or threatens defenses. But Zach Wilson, who was drafted No. 2 overall three seasons ago, has proven unable to overcome those issues. The best QBs raise all boats. Wilson is sinking to the bottom of the river along with the rest of the Jets.
Falling to 4-4, the Jets have a playoff-caliber defense and a final-game-of-the-preseason-level offense. You can't win in the NFL with that combo.
"When you play at this level, you play on the offensive side of the ball, if you aren't angry, I'd think something was wrong," Garrett Wilson said. "This is disappointing. It definitely messes with your psyche a little bit. But it's nothing we can't handle. We are professionals. We're going to push through this, and it's going to be better on the back end. But I'd be lying if I said we were content with what we're doing out on the field because we're not."