new york jets robert saleh
Syndication: The Record

Goodnight da lights.

The Jets’ collapse is complete. They were eliminated from postseason contention with Sunday’s 23-6 loss to the Seahawks in Seattle — their fifth straight defeat and sixth in the last seven. A team that seemed destined to end the NFL’s longest playoff drought two months ago will instead play a meaningless Week 18 game in Miami before heading home for what should be an offseason of immense regret and anticipated upheaval.

The Jets were 6-3 on Nov. 6 after upsetting the Bills at home. Everything has fallen apart since. Zach Wilson was benched after an ugly loss to the Patriots. Mike White was an upgrade, but he was unable to finish winnable games at the Vikings and Buffalo before missing two games with broken ribs — at which point a returning Wilson proceeded to light the entire season on fire.

Even still, there was still a chance to eke into the tournament. But that was dashed thanks to a miserable showing against old friend Geno Smith and the still-contending Seahawks, who ended a three-game skid to remain in the NFC wild card race.

Quarterback play was not the Jets’ only issue. The offensive line struggled. The injury to running back Breece Hall was a crusher. Head coach Robert Saleh and his staff still leave much to be desired at times. And even the elite defense slowed a bit down the stretch. But quarterback was certainly the Jets’ biggest issue.

Wilson is not the answer, no matter what the Jets claim. And White — 1-3 as a starter this season — clearly is not either. The franchise’s sole focus over the next few months is finding that answer. Because this team is ready to win now. And it must redeem itself after this disastrous tailspin. General manager Joe Douglas and Saleh have done enough to earn a second chance at finding a quarterback, but they will not get a third.

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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.