The Jets had the Patriots right where they wanted them near halftime. With a 10-3 lead in the final moments of the second quarter, quarterback Mac Jones threw what looked like a costly pick-six to give New York a 17-3 lead.
But a roughing the passer penalty negated that. Instead of a 17-3 halftime lead, the Jets only led 10-6. Everyone could see that this series of events took the wind out of Gang Green’s sails. New York came back in the second half and couldn’t do much of anything until it was too late.
Unlike in previous games during New York’s winning streak, quarterback Zach Wilson didn’t protect the football. He came into this game having thrown just two interceptions all year. Once the game was over, Wilson more than doubled that thanks to throwing three picks.
Wilson did throw for a season-high 355 yards on 41 passing attempts. A good chunk of that came on New York’s fourth-quarter touchdown drive when the game already appeared out of reach, though. The second-year signal-caller looked overwhelmed throughout the middle of the game between his first and second touchdown passes.
Has he taken any kind of step forward in Year 2 as the Jets’ starting quarterback? It’s only been five games, but it’s enough to start evaluating. SNY’s Connor Hughes extrapolated Wilson’s current stats over a 13-game sample to match his rookie season. The results? Not looking good so far:
#Jets QB Zach Wilson his rookie season (13 games)
2334 yards, 55.6% completion, 9 TD, 11 INT, 69.7 QB rating
Wilson’s stats through five games in Year 2, expanded out to 13 games
2,724 yards, 54.9% completion, 8 TDs, 13 INT, 71.01 QB rating
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) October 30, 2022
That’s…not the kind of progression the Jets would be hoping for. Once again, it’s only been five games. Wilson’s NFL career is just 18 games old at this point. It’s hard to write off a dude after such a short period of time. There are some people who think he just needs time to develop and could become a special player.
It didn’t look like it on Sunday, and now people are even talking about whether the Jets should trade for a quarterback prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline. Week 8 was also Wilson’s first start under center without Breece Hall in the backfield. He proved to be a valuable offensive weapon in a short period of time. That’s another adjustment the offense will have to make with Michael Carter and James Robinson as the main rushers.
Things won’t get easier for Wilson and Co. in Week 9. They’ll be facing the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. New York has opened up as 12.5-point underdogs, according to Sports Betting Dime. That’s followed by a Week 10 bye before heading to New England to face the Patriots. You know, that team they’ve lost to 13 straight times now after Sunday’s defeat.
Just about every Jets fan would be ecstatic back in July if they knew the Jets would be 5-3 after eight weeks of football. The next three weeks will be crucial for New York’s ultimate fate in 2022. Maybe that’ll also be the case for what they decide to do with Wilson moving forward.
Matt Musico can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.
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