Zach Wilson’s Game Is Rising, defense not
by Jeff Moeller ,The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com
Don’t blame this latest Jets’ loss on Zach Wilson.
The second-year signal caller had a brilliant first-half running the offense and being in sync. He completed 12 of 14 attempts for 108 yards with two passing touchdowns and a rushing one for the second consecutive week.
For the first half, Wilson was the highly touted savior the Jets envisioned. He was effective in a short passing game, but was could thread the needle down field as well.
It looked like it was all starting to come together for Wilson and the 3-8 Jets, as they went into the locker room at halftime with a possible shootout game with 5-7 Philadelphia, trailing 24-18. The Jets’ defense bent pretty far, but they didn’t totally break.
But these are the Jets, and fate hasn’t been a constant friend. These Eagles weren’t the Houston Texans of last week, either.
Instead, the defense couldn’t get off the field in the third quarter, and they made backup Gardner Minshew look more like Patrick Mahomes throughout the game in a defaulting 33-18 loss at MetLife. His team scored on its first seven possessions, and the Jets got their first stop late in the third quarter.
This appeared to be a defense that reversed its course the past two weeks after an average, horrific 46-point run the previous four weeks.
The script of poor tackling , poor execution, poor coverage, poor penalties, and questionable coverages was back. Minshew made it look easy with his pinpoint 20-for-25, 233-yard, two-touchdown performance.
And this was a Jets’ unit that was primarily focused on stopping the Eagles’ potent running game. Eagles’ tight end Dallas Goedert couldn’t be left as wide open as he was on his two touchdown passes.
Once the Eagles gained control, they let their running game do the rest, and they did to the final tone of 185 total yards behind Miles Sanders’ 120.
You can’t win too many games giving up 418 yards of total offense and allowing a team to convert six of 13 three downs. The Eagles didn’t punt until the game was out of reach.
The defense’s lack of execution deflated Wilson’s first half, as he completed 11 of 24 attempts for 117 yards with an interception after halftime. He finished with a respectable 23-38, 225-yard afternoon.
Wilson does have to consistently put a whole game together. He didn’t have the same zeal in his game in the second half. Yet, these two weeks helped further prove his mettle and leadership.
But Wilson has found his connection with fellow rookie Elijah Moore, who gets better every week. Tevin Coleman gained 58 yards on the ground and has started to find his niche.
This was supposed to be a Jets’ defense that could help make Wilson’s transition a slow and smooth one.
Now, Wilson is seeming more comfortable in the driver’s seat, while his defense has climbed into the back. Wilson isn’t there yet, and this team has plenty of question marks. Just look at their kicking game with new kicker Alex Kressman missing two extra points.
“Right now teams are respecting us,” said linebacker C.J. Mosley, who had an untimely offsides call on a fourth down despite his overall good game. “We have to change the narrative.”
They do, and it should be soon.