1st & 10: Zach Squanders Opportunity Against the Patriots

Stephen Russo analyzes the Jets’ Week 2 performance in this week’s 1st & 10.

This was a winnable game and the Jets will be kicking themselves for squandering this opportunity. It was the home opener, with fans chomping at the bit for Jets football, and quite frankly, Zach Wilson pissed it away. The rookie is going to have games like this, but we have to call it what it is: a poor performance by a young QB when everything else went surprisingly well. The Jets’ linemen blocked, the defense played well, and they ran the ball effectively. And while you know struggles are going to come, you really wish they weren’t against the Patriots for once. This one is on Zach Wilson.

& 10

1. CJ Mosley and Marcus Maye played with their hair on fire and looked great on defense.

2. Michael Carter can boogie.

3. For as good as we feel about the WR room this year, the coaching staff’s decisions on who’s active/playing/getting targets is, in a word, perplexing.

4. The offensive line looked much improved and protected Zach Wilson well. Oddly enough, the more time they gave him the worse decisions he made.

5. Michael Carter and Ty Johnson should be RB 1 & 2… end of discussion.

6. The Jets defense has played way above expectations two weeks in a row. They play fast, they play hard, and I am very impressed. They played well enough to win in both weeks.

7. JFM needs to be extended.

8. Wilson needs to set his feet. I love that he can make off platform and out of pocket plays, but when you have the time, set your feet and deliver. We’ve seen this movie before.

9. Penalties seem to be a problem. It’s a young team, yes, but too many costly penalties early on.

10. The refs blew it. Literally. It is an extremely frustrating thing anytime a ref blows a play dead early – what I can’t seem to wrap my head around is why they are quick on the whistle on plays that could end up being reviewable? But Marcus Maye forced a fumble on Kendrick Bourne on the first drive of the game, and there was no question. But because of a ref that was too quick on his whistle and Saleh’s inability to challenge that, we’ll never know how the course of the game could have gone. What I do know, is that football is a game of momentum. And when you have 75,000 fans in attendance and the defense forces a turnover on drive one against the Patriots – that is undoubtedly a swing of the pendulum in the Jets direction. We’ll never know what would have happened, but my staunch belief is that had that ref held his whistle, this game goes differently.

One extra yard…

The Jets and their fans find themselves in a tough spot. The team doesn’t care about the decade-plus of playoff free football this fan base has endured. And the fans don’t care that this is a brand-new team that has no ties to past teams or regimes, they want results now because they’ve been in pain for 10 years and want to watch semi-exciting football and root for wins. I don’t think most fans expected this team to go 12-5. However, we do expect them to be competitive.

So to the fans: Let’s collectively find the balance so we can get behind a team that we can cheer for and be excited about.

And to the Jets: Just keep it close and score points. We’re not asking for much.