PHILADELPHIA -- The usually outspoken Rex Ryan walked to the podium Sunday night at a loss for words.
"I don't know what to say," an aghast New York Jets head coach mumbled.
The efficient, hard-nose Jets we've seen the past three weeks stayed at the Meadowlands. The Jets team that traveled to Philadelphia was the bumbling, turnover-prone, almost-comical team we remember from Weeks 3-5.
New York committed four turnovers, couldn't protect the quarterback and failed to stop Philadelphia's offense. The Jets were basically helpless for four ugly quarters, even though the Eagles tried everything in their power to keep the Jets in the game. Philadelphia had four turnovers themselves and still won by 26 points.
That's how bad things were for the Jets. It was easily their most embarrassing performance of the season -- and that's saying a lot considering New York has had several clunkers.
Remember when New York was ransacked, 34-17, by the Baltimore Ravens in October? This was much worse.
Remember the Jets' 37-16 loss to the New England Patriots in November? This was uglier.
"That was about as bad as it gets, especially in the first half and early in the third quarter," Ryan said.
But the "Bad News Bears" never get as lucky as the Jets.
Despite the blowout loss, New York (8-6) is still in control and has a chance to make the playoffs for the third consecutive season. The Jets own the common opponent and strength of victory tiebreakers over the Bengals, who have the same record. New York also got lucky twice when the Oakland Raiders (7-7) and Tennessee Titans (7-7) both suffered defeats to the Detroit Lions and previously winless Indianapolis Colts, respectively.
The Jets' postseason formula in the final two games is simple: Win and they're in.
"We are capable of so much more," Jets offensive lineman Matt Slauson said. "Unfortunately we keep putting ourselves in these scenarios where we have to take the toughest road possible. Maybe that's how we have to do it. But as long as we get in [the playoffs] that's all that counts."
The Jets haven't play this poorly since their 45-3 defeat to the New England Patriots on Dec. 6, 2010. There were many similarities in those two games, including turnovers and an uncharacteristically awful performance by New York's defense.
You knew this game would get ugly fast when Jets receiver Santonio Holmes, who usually takes care of the football, fumbled on his first reception and it was returned by Philadelphia 47 yards for a touchdown. Holmes would later drop a pass on the next drive that led to a Philadelphia interception and also cost his team a 15-yard penalty for excessively celebrating a touchdown.
If it was that kind of day for New York's best offensive player, the rest of the group didn't have a chance.
Jets right tackle Wayne Hunter gave up three sacks to Eagles defensive end Jason Babin. Philadelphia had four sacks and several additional hits on Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was roughed up and suffered a shoulder or neck injury that he played through in the second half.
"I'm feeling all right," Sanchez said afterward. "Just took some good hits ... physical game."
New York's defense gave up 420 total yards, including 160 on the ground. The Jets' defense disappears too often on the road this year, which is one reason they are 2-5 away from MetLife Stadium. That's not a good sign. Even if the Jets make the playoffs, they'll have to win on the road.
Ryan suggested burying the football this week, which was a superstitious ploy he used following last year’s aforementioned loss to the Patriots. It worked, as the Jets went on to qualify for the playoffs and advance to the AFC title game for the second straight year.
But none of that matters at the moment. The Jets have to beat the cross-town rival New York Giants (7-7) in Week 16 before they even think about the postseason. The Jets keep fumbling away chance after chance, and now the team is down to its last strike.
"I know we have that resolve," Ryan said of bouncing back from an awful performance. "You know, we have to win these next two, period, plain and simple, or we won't earn the right to find out. But we have to go out and win these next two games and then we’ll find out how far we can go."