This past Sunday, there were lines of cars, SUVs and campers filled with anxious fans in the early morning, waiting for the attendants to open up the team’s gates. They converged at MetLife Stadium for a Jets regular season game for the first time since Dec. 22, 2019, a 16-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers for the home team.
Back then, the Jets had a different starting quarterback and head coach. The NFL schedule, now 17 games, was still 16. There was no COVID-19 pandemic or vaccine requirements. And since that day, the Jets have only won twice. Sunday was their rookie quarterback Zach Wilson’s first regular season home game. Same for their new head coach Robert Saleh.
The Schedule Gods have been less than kind to the Jets getting this new season started. Game 1 was the Jets versus the Carolina Panthers featuring their former quarterback Sam Darnold, who Wilson replaced. Game 2 on Sunday was a divisional rivalry against the New England Patriots.
In their season opening 19-14 loss to the Panthers, the Jets had two productive quarters, the third and fourth. Against New England, they had none. Wilson threw four interceptions, two on his first two passes of the games. New England took an early 10-0 lead and were up 13-3 at halftime.
Overall, he was 19-of-33 for 210 yards. Wilson lacked accuracy. His decision-making was suspect. Although it was only his second game, the 22-year-old from BYU lacked what’s expected of a player taken No. 2 in April’s NFL Draft. The fans obviously felt the same way and booed Wilson for his poor performance.
“They should be booing,” said Wilson after the game in agreement. “We didn’t play well on offense. Our defense gave us a good chance to win. We didn’t execute, we didn’t move the ball well. And we didn’t score any points. We’ve got to do a better job there.”
This all sounds familiar. It is the story of the Jets for most of the past 10 seasons. They haven’t made the playoffs since losing in the AFC Championship Game in 2010.
“It’s on my shoulders,” Wilson said assuredly. “I’ve got to do better.” Saleh was supportive of his young QB and said Wilson must learn from his mistakes as the Jets look towards the Denver Broncos on the road on Sunday.
“It’s OK to play a boring game of football. That’s really it,” noted Saleh. “He’s an electric dude. He’s competitive as crap and he wants to win so bad, but sometimes it’s OK to be boring. That’s probably the biggest lesson he can take out of this one.”