After being benched for three games due to ineffective play, Zach Wilson got another shot on Sunday against the Lions, and he gave New York an opportunity to win, but with a chance to tie at the end of regulation, Jets kicker Greg Zuerlein missed a 58-yard field goal at the buzzer, and the Jets(7-7) would fall to the Lions(7-7) 20-17 at MetLife Stadium.
New York is one game behind the Dolphins and Chargers for the final two wild-card spots in the AFC.
Wilson, who started for an injured Mike White, did not have a great completion percentage(18/35), but he made a few plays, which helped him end up with 317 yards passing, two touchdowns, and an interception. The second-year quarterback hit on big pass plays, especially in the second quarter, where he had completions of 21, 33, 40, and 50 yards. Wilson threw for 164 yards in the second quarter.
“I thought he had a really good first half,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said about Wilson. “Third quarter, hit some adversity, and then I thought he finished strong, gave us a chance to kick a game-tying kick. But unfortunately, it didn’t work out.”
Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson, who had four catches for 98 yards, added on Wilson’s play: “That boy battled, and anytime you come into a game and see the speed of the game, you know when you’re getting man coverage and like you said, you haven’t been in that position in three weeks, it’s going to be tough on you. I thought he handled it really well. He showed a lot of perseverance, especially at the end of the game. Making some of the throws he did and setting in there, it gave us a chance to win the game, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Wilson felt he needed to be better.
“I got to be better, man,” he said. “I think you guys saw it, we had explosive plays offensively, but it’s the first and second down, just staying ahead of the sticks. I can think of a number of plays I left out there. You got to look at it like a learning process, just trying to keep improving every single week, and that’s the goal.”
Sometimes players, especially young players, can benefit from being benched, and Wilson discussed what he learned from his break.
“Yeah, I think the biggest thing I learned is that you just have to be able to move on,” he said. “I miss a throw, have a bad interception, you got to move on. You got to for the guys around you; you just have to say, ‘Alright, next play.’ It’s a learning experience; I learned from that one; I have to get better right here and put my guys in the best position I can.”
Saleh did not commit to Wilson as the starter for next week against the Jaguars. When asked if he felt he deserved another start, Wilson said the following:
“No, I think that’s not up to me. For me, I think it comes back to how can I watch this film, how can I improve, and can I keep trying to put our offense in the best situation to win, and I didn’t do that today.”
Wilson sounds humbled, but he didn’t do enough to warrant another start. If White is healthy, which could be a stretch, he should play.
However, Wilson is still very young(23) and has shown flashes, so he can still grow and become the team’s franchise quarterback, but again, for now, White gives this team the best opportunity to win.