NY Jets quarterback Zach Wilson played extremely well considering the circumstances
Each offseason—which feels like an eternity for most diehard football fans—a countdown to Week 1 of the brand new season is firmly entrenched on a daily and weekly basis.
For New York Jets fans this specific offseason, this countdown led to an anticipation level that could only be described as rabid.
They knew former Jets quarterback Sam Darnold would represent the opponent in the very first game. They also knew he’d throw to former Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson. Topping it off is the idea that the “coach that got away,” Native New Yorker Matt Rhule, would be standing on the opposite sideline.
The below YouTube video is a three-plus-hour Zach Wilson film breakdown from Week 1’s loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Fans also knew Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers would represent a changing of the guard, a new era, if you will. New head coach Robert Saleh has done nothing but impress all involved throughout the 2021 offseason, leading fans to think they finally have the right guy in the building.
Perhaps most importantly, fans knew the much-improved Jets offense (on paper, at least) would be led by No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson.
The fanbase proved its excitement by showing up at Bank of America Stadium in droves this past Sunday. Unfortunately, especially during the first watch, the team did not give fans much to cheer about until the second half—ultimately falling by a 19-14 final.
In the first half, the defense was shredded underneath while getting somewhat lucky. (Rhule decided to punt the ball in a situation he could have kicked a field goal, for instance.)
The Jets defense was also able to recover a fumble in the red zone, as on a run play, the fullback accidentally knocked the ball out of Darnold’s hands, leading to a turnover. This was right after a tight end dropped an easy touchdown reception.
This wasn’t the main source of disappointment for fans, though; it turned out to be the offense.
Not only did the offense put up zero first-half points, but Wilson was also getting absolutely smacked around because of the poor play of the offensive line.
Member-Only Article: Grading every Zach Wilson throw from Week 1 | NY Jets Analytics
Remember, the Jets are coming off of a decade-plus of bad offensive football (save for 2015), while most recently ruining a highly drafted quarterback because of a combination of poor coaching, poor offensive line play and a lack of weapons.
So, the frustration was easily understandable. Fans know about overreaction Monday after Week 1 yet understandably cannot help themselves when faced with such a bitter disappointment.
Eventually, both the Jets’ offense and defense bounced back in the second half, outscoring the Panthers 14-3 while making it a respectable effort. Jets teams of recent past would have quit at halftime, down 16-0, and would have never made it a semi-close contest.
- While Wilson clearly shined and the offensive line did its best to dim that shine, who else stood out in either good or bad way?
- How did the rookie coaches fare?
- What does the upcoming matchup against the division rival New England Patriots look like?
All of these questions and more are answered in the latest edition of Blewett’s Blitz (over three hours of film breakdown footage in the video at the top of this page).