On Wednesday, Gase called it one of the toughest losses of his coaching career, admitting it has been difficult to move past it. He found it hard to adhere to the 24-hour rule, a coaching bromide.
“At the start of my career, I heard that for seven years: You have 24 hours to get over it,” he said. “I think the only time I’ve ever been involved in a loss like this was to end a playoff game, so I could be pissed as long as I wanted to because nobody cares.
“It’s tough. It’s tough. Our players will do a good job and they will respond the right way. They have through this whole thing. As coaches, we have to do the same thing.”
Gase responded to the 31-28 loss by firing defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who decided to call an all-out blitz while trying to protect a four-point lead. The unnecessary gamble proved disastrous — a 46-yard touchdown reception by Henry Ruggs III with five seconds left.
Gase didn’t have any team meetings on Monday or Tuesday because he said he wanted to give the players some time and space to get over the loss, which dropped the Jets to 0-12. Because of COVID-19 protocols, the players weren’t allowed in the facility.
“Doing the virtual meetings, that’s probably the one thing that’s annoying, because our guys help the coaches pull you out of the funk because those guys come in here with the energy they need to come in here with, and they’re ready to go. That helps more than anything.”
Asked if he was in a funk after the game, Gase said, “Yeah. I was pissed. I felt like our guys played well enough to win.”
Gase didn’t mention Williams by name, but it was clearly a reference to his former defensive boss, whose playcall in that situation has been widely criticized. On Monday, Gase second-guessed himself for not calling a timeout to discuss the call with Williams.
Cornerback Lamar Jackson — an undrafted rookie — was the player torched by Ruggs in single coverage, with no safety help. Safety Marcus Maye, a team captain, openly questioned the call after the game.
“I’m confident Lamar will bounce back,” Gase said. “He’s a strong kid. That’s all he’s done all year. He’s a fighter. He didn’t get to this place and end up starting on this team without being mentally tough.”
The Jets will try to rebound Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks (8-4). They could be without rookie wide receiver Denzel Mims, who was excused Wednesday to fly home to Texas for a family emergency. If he doesn’t make it back to New Jersey by 10 p.m. Wednesday to take his daily COVID-19 test, he won’t be able to pass the necessary protocols by game time on Sunday.