New York Jets quarterback Mike White described his side's elimination from the playoff race as "gut-wrenching" after suffering their fifth straight loss in Sunday's 23-6 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks.
The Jets had been primed for postseason action for the first time since the 2010 season after sitting at 7-4 following a 31-10 rout of the Chicago Bears in late November.
But their season fell apart amid an awkward period that saw White take over as starting QB from the struggling Zach Wilson.
White had been sidelined for two games due to a rib injury but his return against the Seahawks was not enough to lift the Jets, who have not had a winning season since 2015 (10-6).
Their 12-year playoff drought is the longest active streak in the NFL and now the franchise's longest ever as well, leaving White crestfallen.
"It stings," he told reporters. "It's tough. It's gut-wrenching. It's all of the above. You can use any adjective you want to use to describe it."
White failed to complete a touchdown pass against the 8-8 Seahawks at Lumen Field, completing 23 of 46 passes for 240 yards with two interceptions, while he was sacked four times.
"I was cleared to play by the doctors," he said. "The guys in that locker room deserve a certain standard. I knew what I was signing up for.
"I was cleared by the doctors, I practiced all week. Basically, what I'm saying is, there's a standard those guys deserve. I didn't live up to that standard today."
The game marked two in a row without a touchdown, which White described as "shocking", leaving question marks about the Jets' struggling offense.
Head coach Robert Saleh conceded the situation hurt but was eager to point out some of the positives in his second season in charge after going 4-13 last year.
"No one is hurting more than the people in the locker room, especially me," Saleh said.
"At the same time, I know it's hard to see light at the end of the tunnel, but there are a lot of really cool things to look at for this season. But right now it stings big time."