Quarterback Zach Wilson had the biggest test of his career Sunday when the Jets faced the Patriots in Foxborough. He had struggled in his three previous games against New England and needed to flip the switch, while the Jets as a team were looking for their first win over the Pats since 2015.
It didn’t go very well. Actually, it was a complete disaster.
The Jets lost to their rivals for a 14th straight time as the Pats returned a punt 84 yards for the game-winning touchdown in the waning seconds. Wilson also continued a long stretch of quarterback ineptitude that’s plagued the franchise since the Joe Namath days.
The second-year passer failed to answer the call in the 10-3 defeat and was awful. Now, the team should consider benching him for various reasons.
Sunday’s disaster. The Jets desperately needed a big game out of Wilson to help put any draft-bust narratives in the past. But they received the farthest thing from even an acceptable performance.
Wilson entered Sunday with a 75.5 passer rating and 57.5% completion rate that were both second-worst in the NFL according to Next Gen Stats. And somehow, the numbers were even worse against Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
Wilson completed nine of his 22 passes (40.9%) for 77 yards, zero touchdowns, and an embarrassing 50.8 rating. His mistakes heavily contributed to a putrid Jets offensive showing. New York gained only 103 total yards (44 net passing yards), averaged 2.1 yards per play, and converted six first downs on 49 total plays. The Jets were also 3-of-14 on third down and punted 10 times.
Where’s the development? This was supposed to be the year Wilson showed legitimate improvement following an up-and-down rookie campaign. This was supposed to be the year he took that next step toward proving he’s the franchise’s future.
But 2022 has been much like 2021.
After a rookie season in which Wilson was second-to-last in both completion percentage (55.6%) and passer rating (69.7), the inaccuracy and mistake-making continue to control the narrative. After Sunday, Wilson is completing only 55.6% of his throws (dead last) with a 72.6 rating (second-to-last).
He has completed at least 66.7% of his throws in only two games this year, and has thrown more touchdowns than interceptions in just one.
Wilson’s poor performances are not just against the Pats; they’re not few and far in between. His blunders are consistent, it’s only going to become more concerning as the weeks (and his career) progress.
The arrogance. Playing quarterback in the NFL is hard.
Being an adult and taking accountability, however, are not nearly as difficult. But even Wilson couldn’t do that Sunday.
After costing his team yet another division game, Wilson was asked if he let his defense down.
“No,” was his answer. Even though the offense scored three points and the defense allowed just a field goal and 297 total yards.
You’d think Wilson would take the high road and give the typical “I take full responsibility … I need to be better … the loss is on me” answer. Like a true NFL quarterback and team captain would.
Wilson, in front of the entire media, in the social media age where everyone sees everything, had the gall to give that answer. The one syllable that proves he’s incapable of the true accountability, responsibility, and maturity it takes to play quarterback at this level.
How is the Jets’ defense supposed to respond to that? How are the receivers who deserve better supposed to respond to that? How is the coaching staff supposed to respond to that?
The play was poor, and the post-game answer was egregiously worse. Now the Jets could have a locker room problem to add to Wilson’s obvious on-field struggles.