Perhaps the New York Jets' best chance to get a win this season disappeared Sunday, with Gang Green falling to 0-10, the worst start in franchise history, in a 34-28 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Jets were officially eliminated from playoff contention Sunday. Right now, they are just struggling to avoid becoming the third team in NFL history to go 0-16.
For certain veterans getting a win has a significant meaning. Thirty-seven-year-old running back Frank Gore knows the end of his 16-year NFL career is near. The thought of going out winless, however, is a nonstarter.
"You don't want to go 0-16," Gore said, via the Associated Press. "This could be my last year. I can't go out like that."
The aging veteran played 58 percent of the snaps Sunday and led the Jets backs with 15 attempts for 61 yards and a TD. It was Gore's first TD of the season and marked the third decade in which the running back has found pay dirt.
It feels notable that Gore is discussing the potential end of his career on the very weekend his son, Frank Gore Jr., scored his first touchdown as a freshman at Southern Miss.
The Jets are staring 0-16 in the face with a handful of difficult games remaining on the slate. The next five matchups are all against teams with at least six wins: Miami (6-4), Las Vegas (6-4), Seattle (7-3), L.A. Rams (6-3 entering Monday night) and Cleveland (7-3). On paper, the Jets' best shot to get off the schneid might be Week 17 against rival New England, which fell to 4-6 Sunday.
Veterans like Gore and Joe Flacco have to keep the younger players positive down the stretch if they hope to avoid adding an 0-16 season to their legacies.
"It's obviously in the back of people's heads, but we're fighting to battle every day to stay confident and keep our heads held high and come out here and play football games the way we know how to," Flacco said. "So, we've just got to keep doing that, keep focusing on the day-to-day, and we've got to have faith that we have the guys to get it done.
"And one of these days, we'll look up at the scoreboard and we'll have a victory at the end of four quarters."
If Flacco's premonition doesn't occur, perhaps Gore will play a 17th season to wipe away the bad taste of 2020.