The New York Jets needed Zach Wilson to step up in a big way on Sunday in a divisional game against the New England Patriots with a chance to move into first place in the AFC East.
Instead, the second-year quarterback fell flat on his face.
But that’s not how he sees it.
Wilson completed just nine of 22 pass attempts for 77 yards in a loss in which the Jets put up just three points as they fell to the Patriots for the 14th consecutive time. But when asked if Wilson felt as if he let the team down — particularly the defense, whose valiant effort gave them a chance to win — he had a simple response:
Wilson needed to engineer just one drive that ended in a touchdown, and the Jets likely would have won the game. Yet, Wilson could not simply do that.
The Jets defense kept the team in the game, holding the Patariots to just three points as well and only loss because of a special teams disaster in which the Jets allowed a punt return for a touchdown.
But that was one fluke moment whereas the offense could not move the chains at all throughout the game, punting the ball 10 times — that’s more times they punted than Wilson completed a pass.
While coaches are usually tougher on their teams, even when they win, head coach Robert Saleh did not mince words on his assessment of the offense.
“It was dogs—t,” he told reporters.
When asked specifically about the quarterback play holding the offense back, Saleh said, “I don’t know,” and added the running game was not much better.
The Jets drafted Wilson with the second overall pick last year. While he has missed some time due to injuries, he has been nothing short of a disappointment through his first year-and-a-half.
Out of 33 qualified quarterbacks, Wilson ranks 32nd in passer rating (72.6), 33rd in completion percentage (55.6%) 31st in TD-INT ratio (4-5) and tied for 31st in passing touchdowns per attempt (2.1%).
Dating back to include his rookie season, he now has nine games in which he passed for less than 160 yards, six of which were less than 130. He has just four games with more than one touchdown pass and 11 games in which he has thrown none.
Unless Wilson can have a dramatic turnaround in the final third of the season, it may be time for the Jets to think about finding a different option at quarterback for the future.