The subterranean arc of Zach Wilson’s profession hit a brand new low in New York’s 10-3 loss to the New England Patriots. For 59 minutes and 30 seconds, the Jets’ protection surrendered just one subject purpose in opposition to the New England Patriots. Nevertheless, punt returner Marcus Jones’ game-winning punt return within the waning seconds of Sunday’s assembly in New England ended one of many grittiest defensive slogs of the season. The win was the Patriots and Invoice Belichik’s 14th straight in opposition to the Jets.
Belichick’s protection might be the NFL’s finest, led by the league’s sack chief Matthew Judon, and so they have the No. 1 rating in Football Outsiders’ defensive ratings to point out for it. Nothing appears to present Belichick extra glee although than irritating an overmatched Jets quarterback.
Whereas Mac Jones threw for an unspectacular 240 yards and 0 interceptions, Wilson’s 77 yards in three quarters triggered the latent doom that rests within the souls of each Jets fan. And that’s for good purpose, as Wilson nonetheless operates like he was drafted second within the XFL Draft, versus the NFL’s.
All of the adoration for Wilson’s stay arm or “off-platform throws” have dissipated and been changed by exasperation. In Wilson’s postgame presser, he was requested if felt as if he’d let the protection down, and Wilson responded with a defiant, however tone-deaf, “No.” Particular groups captain Justin Hardee confirmed extra modesty than that. The protection observed Wilson’s lack of self-awareness as nicely. Standout rookie nook Sauce Gardner and DE John Franklin-Myers each favored tweets criticizing Wilson’s absurd response and his awful play. Their passive aggressive Twitter exercise signifies Robert Saleh might have himself a divided locker room between offense and protection so long as Wilson is stinking it up below heart. That mentioned, each gamers have since said the likes had been accidents. Each gamers. Each likes. Proper.
Wilson additionally blamed the crosswinds, saying “I believe you need to bear in mind it’s windy as hell on the market too, guys.” Whereas the gusty wind complaints might have some validity to them, it doesn’t clarify how he was a lot worse than Mac Jones, who accomplished 23-of-27 passes.
Again right here in actuality, the Jets’ protection has been Wilson’s life jacket all season. He at present ranks thirty second in passer score, thirty third in completion proportion, thirty first in touchdown-interception ratio, and thirty first in touchdowns per try. Whereas below strain he’s final in passer score (11.5), completion proportion (26.7), and yards-per-attempt (3.27). He was given a move for poor play all through his rookie season as he adjusted to the NFL veeeery slowly, however he’s nearer to Josh Rosen than Josh Allen at this juncture in his profession.
Jets followers could also be in for some inauspicious déjà vu if Wilson continues down this slope. The Jets have watched the New England Patriots steamroll the league for 20 years with Tom Brady on the helm. Buffalo’s Josh Allen is airbending passes at an elite degree and Miami is driving Tua Tagovailoa’s MVP-caliber peaks and valleys, however at his worst, he’s nicely above sea degree. The inverted arc of Wilson’s profession has been a bowl. Jets brass simply has to hope he can attain the baseline to be thought-about a middle-of-the-road starter.
The dynamic within the AFC East resembles the post-1983 order when the Jets selected Ken O’Brien over Pitt’s Dan Marino, who shattered passing data for the Dolphins in his sophomore season en path to Canton. The Payments took Jim Kelly and superior to 4 Tremendous Bowls. An identical dynamic exists immediately between Tua, Allen, and Wilson. Mac Jones could also be extra Tony Eason than Tom Brady, nevertheless it’s all relative. Wilson is behind the pack in his division.
In comparison with his skilled backup, Joe Flacco, Wilson is a dud. In solely three begins this season, Flacco has yet one more landing move than Wilson (Flacco 5, Wilson 4), who has began seven video games. Justin Fields has tripled Wilson’s passing landing tallies with a fraction of the expertise at receiver. Nevertheless, in contrast to the Bears, the Jets protection performs like a Tremendous Bowl-caliber unit. Two years into his NFL profession, Wilson is struggling mightily and the Jets shouldn’t hesitate to take a younger quarterback to compete with him, or, substitute him with subsequent season.
The Jets don’t have to remain chained to a quarterback who routinely locations the offense in a nosedive whereas all indications are that with an above-average starter, they might compete now. Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed represent the NFL’s finest cornerback duo within the league and the entrance seven is bringing strain at one of many NFL’s highest rates. As a stacked draft class attracts nearer, Wilson is probably going operating out of time to vary the trajectory of his profession. And the Jets seem to nonetheless be on the lookout for that franchise QB.