Jets' Sam Darnold implodes as Adam Gase's seat gets hotter

The "Tank-for-Trevor-Lawrence" chorus got a lot louder Sunday, almost as loud as the "Fire-Adam-Gase" groundswell.

The New York Jets' season has turned into bad stereo, as quarterback Sam Darnold did his embattled coach no favors by throwing three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) in a 36-7 loss to the host Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Playing without six starters, including promising rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton (second-quarter shoulder injury), Darnold wrecked his slim margin for error by giving away 21 points. Not only was he first Jets' quarterback since Geno Smith (2013) to throw two pick-sixes in a game, but he also threw a red zone interception. You never want to be in the same sentence as Geno Smith.

“I just have to play consistent,” a down and frustrated Darnold said. “I mean, I’m not playing consistent enough to play well in this league.”

You felt bad for Darnold, who played with a replacement-level supporting cast, but his three interceptions were terrible throws. His regression doesn't bode well for Gase, who was hired to turn the young quarterback into a star. Time could be running out for Gase, who was blown out for the third straight week -- outscored by 57 points. He dropped to 7-12, with 10 losses by at least 10 points. That's bad.

Gase is 0-3 for the second straight year. That has happened only one other time in franchise history, 1980 and 1981.

Only 11 days ago, CEO Christopher Johnson gave an effusive endorsement of Gase, calling him a "brilliant offensive mind." He might eat those words; his offense has produced only four touchdowns. The Johnson family, which has owned the team since 2000, never has made an in-season coaching change. But, as ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Sunday morning, team brass is monitoring the situation closely this week as the Jets play again Thursday night.

If the Jets fall to 0-4 by losing in prime time to the Denver Broncos (0-3), Johnson will be under intense pressure to make a change heading into the mini-bye. There's little hope for a turnaround. The team is ravaged by injuries and lack of hope.

Two words to describe the game: No chance. The Jets never led. In fact, they're the only team that hasn't held a lead this season.

Troubling trend: The Jets fell behind early -- again. They faced a double-digit halftime deficit for the third straight game, something they hadn't done since 1971. In three games, they've been outscored in the first half 59-10. They don't even know how to give themselves a chance. This time, Darnold's early pick-six put them in a hole, but the overriding reason is poor preparation. That's on the coaches.

Troubling trend, part II: The one positive from the season -- Becton -- suffered what could be a serious injury. The first-round draft pick was sensational in his first two games, but he went down late in the first half and never came back. He was replaced by Conor McDermott -- a disheartening blow for the Jets.

Sell stock in the Jets' defense: Remember when this used to be a smart, scrappy group that relished the idea of a 60-minute fistfight? That was last season. That mentality is gone. The current unit got pushed around by the Colts, missing a ton of tackles and generating no pressure on Philip Rivers. They busted coverages (a 46-yard completion to a wide-open Mo Alie-Cox) and made too many mental errors. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has a mess on his hands. Clearly, they miss star safety Jamal Adams.

Biggest hole in the game plan: For the third straight game, tight end Chris Herndon (three catches for 21 yards) was a nonfactor in the passing game. With the injuries at wide receiver, he should've been featured, especially against a Cover-2 defense. What happened to attacking the soft middle?

Eye-popping Next Gen Stat: On his 16-yard touchdown pass to Braxton Berrios, Darnold scrambled for 8.44 seconds, the longest time to throw in the NFL on touchdown pass since Darnold held for 9.81 seconds in Week 14, 2018 on a Robby Anderson 7-yard TD