In his postgame address to the team, Ryan got so emotional that he actually cried, according to several players. He was everything in the locker room -- mad, frustrated, urging. And harsh. According to players, he asked the pointed question, "When are you guys going to believe?"
It's hard to believe in the Jets, 28-7 losers at CenturyLink Field. They've dropped three in a row and five of their past six games, sinking to 3-6 -- the low-water mark of the Ryan era. And it could get worse before it gets better because you can't win if you can't score, and you've got problems when your leading scorer is a 300-pound defensive end, Muhammad Wilkerson, who returned a fumble for a touchdown.
"A brutal loss," Ryan said at his news conference, his eyes still red and glassy.
It doesn't matter who is playing quarterback, Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow. For the record, Ryan said he's sticking with Sanchez, and he got defensive when pressed on the issue. Later, Cromartie, playing head coach for a moment, said anybody who thinks Sanchez should be benched "can kiss my a--. Mark is our quarterback and will continue to be our quarterback for the rest of the season."
It's the right call to ride out the storm with Sanchez. The season is beyond salvageable, and the worst move would be to compromise the future while screwing up the present. If you bench Sanchez, it's over, and we all know Tebow isn't the future. They have to grin and bear it, enduring several weeks of garbage time. Even Ryan, eternal optimist, conceded it's bleak.
"Yeah, I mean I don't know how many more losses you want to spot somebody before you think you can make the playoffs," Ryan said. "It's about a 2 percent chance of making the playoffs with the record we have."
Let's be real: The Jets are closer to the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft than making the playoffs. Sunday was their chance to reverse the season, to make a statement with the biggest road win of the Ryan era. With the bye, they had two weeks to prepare, mentally and physically.
They responded by managing only 185 total yards, committing three turnovers, sabotaging their only scoring threat with two mind-boggling mistakes and allowing three long touchdown passes -- the last of which was thrown by a wide receiver, Golden Tate.
That's right, Sanchez was the fourth-most efficient passer in the stadium, behind Tate, Russell Wilson and Tebow, who went 3-for-3 for eight yards in a cameo QB role.