New York Jets
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Jets could be without QB Darnold Sunday
As the media entered the field at the practice facility for the part they are allowed to watch, there was the sight of New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold in street clothes and in a walking boot.
He watched Wednesday's practice from the sideline and now has a sprained right foot that may keep the rookie quarterback from playing in Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.
Now here comes the palace intrigue.
Darnold was limping late in Sunday's 13-6 loss at Miami that pushed the Jets losing streak to three games. After the Jets dropped to 3-6, he admitted he was "dinged up" before adding "nothing will stop me."
A day later, Darnold reiterated he was healthy and described his condition as "some bumps and bruises" after getting dinged up on a sack by Cameron Wake. On Monday, head coach Todd Bowles said he did not know Darnold injured himself.
"He has not expressed that to me," Bowles said Monday.
Bowles said Wednesday he found out after speaking to the media since his next stop after talking to reporters was to the training room. He also said that if Darnold does not practice in the next two days that it's a "foregone conclusion" he would not play.
It's a strange coincidence that Darnold is injured while he's amid the worst struggles of his brief career while the Jets have faltered offensively.
In their last three games, the Jets have been on offense for a span of 86 minutes, 39 seconds. In the 48 percent of the time they have held the ball, it has not gone well.
Even when they scored 42 points against the Colts to get to 3-3, it was not great since Jason Myers kicked seven field goals.
At least then, they were able to move the ball to at the minimum get into position for points.
Three losses later highlighted by hideous showings on offense, the Jets are left searching for answers against a team that may be as inept as they are the last few weeks the Buffalo Bills.
The Jets are averaging 22 points per game this season and 11 in the losses to Minnesota, Chicago, and Miami.
The first two losses can be shrugged off to opponents with better talent, but the reaction of Sunday's loss at Miami seemed to speak to more frustration and impatience.
The latest loss was defined by four interceptions by Darnold, who also threw three against Minnesota.
Still, while Darnold described his play as "stupid," it comes down to the offense.
"It's not just Sam," Bowles said. "It's the team period. Yesterday was mainly the offense. There were tweaks here and there but we just have to play better and execute as a whole. It's not just Sam. It's based upon the whole team."
And besides Darnold, these are some of the revealing numbers for the Jets in their three-game losing streak beyond the 544 yards gained. Among them are the 17.5 percent (7-for-40) conversion rate on third downs.
Even extending beyond that paltry number, merely 12 percent (23 of 191) of snaps resulted in double-digit gains.
It is leading to frustration inside the locker room and impatience with fans, especially those who want to make their voices heard by phoning into sports talk radio.
"I'm sick of losing," second-year safety Jamal Adams said after the game. "I'm not a loser. I want to get back on the winning track. We've lost three straight? Come on, man."
And when the fan segment starts vocalizing their impatience, it's usually directed at the coach. Bowles is feeling the heat as he coaches his 58th game with the Jets and is 13-27 since a debut season that ended with a dud in Buffalo that prevented New York from reaching the playoffs.
"I think it's huge," Bowles said. "It's our next game. It's a division rivalry. Winning takes care of a lot of problems and a lot of issues. It's important for us to win the next ballgame."
Now they'll try to end three weeks of frustrating performances on offense with their franchise quarterback potentially on the sideline.
SERIES HISTORY: 115th regular season meeting. Bills lead series, 60-54. The Jets have won three of the last four meetings since losing at Buffalo in Week 17 of the 2015 season and in each win, they have scored at least 30 points.