Robert Saleh, Zach Wilson, Jets, Bucs
Robert Saleh, Zach Wilson, New York Jets, Getty Images, Jet X Graphic

Playing the blame game regarding New York Jets’ fourth-down catastrophe vs. Tampa Bay

The New York Jets were two yards away from pulling off the impossible.

With just over two minutes left in the game, New York held a four-point lead over the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Facing a fourth-and-two from the Bucs seven-yard line, the Jets chose to bypass a field goal and attempt to pick up the first down, which would seal the game.

Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson tried to gain the required yardage on a quarterback sneak but was subsequently tackled for no gain, turning the ball over to Tampa Bay. In turn, Bucs passer Tom Brady did what he always does, marching over 90 yards down the field and throwing a game-winning touchdown with 15 seconds left.

Fans lauded the aggression from head coach Robert Saleh before the ball was snapped, but after the play was over, they were singing a different tune.

The Jets had gained 364 total yards of offense before the fourth-and-two call, leaving many questioning how their coaching staff could make such a blunder following a productive day.

After the game, Saleh explained that Wilson had the option to sneak the ball if he thought there was an open gap, but the Jets’ coaches failed to communicate that they wanted the ball to go to receiver Braxton Berrios on a jet-sweep no matter what. Wilson was also questioned about the call and echoed what his coaches had said prior. He thought he saw an open gap, so he kept the ball on a sneak.

In usual fashion, the Jets’ discourse was set ablaze with parts of the fanbase defending Wilson, and others blaming him for losing the game.

Who truly is to blame for the Jets’ fourth-down blow-up: Wilson, Saleh, or a combination of the two?

The Oklahoma Drill Podcast is back to review an exhilarating, but ultimately disappointing Jets’ loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The crew breaks down another stellar performance from Zach Wilson, the fourth-down call heard ’round the world, and what to look for in the final game of the season.

Despite 57 minutes of quality play beforehand, the Jets’ loss to the Bucs will be defined by its bitter ending. A win against the reigning champs would’ve been nice to hang on the mantle, but regardless of the outcome, Gang Green is ending the year on the upswing, and fans should be looking forward to the new year with plenty of optimism.

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Andrew Golden is a film analyst for Jets X-Factor with a focus on the NFL Draft, prospect evaluations and breaking down scheme fits. He also co-hosts the Oklahoma Drill Podcast with Vitor Paiva and Matt Mauro. Email: agoldenjets[at]
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1 year ago

Robert Saleh is the main guy to blame. The buck stops with him.

1 year ago

This is on the head coach. He needs to jump in at the time and make sure his team knows exactly what they are doing and he needs to make it clear to his coaches during the week/months whatever exactly how to communicate in that situation. It’s important not to let one mistake like this, which I’m sure they will learn from, cloud the fact that Saleh had his team, demolished by injury on the door step of beating the Golden Boy and the defensive wonder blitzer Todd Bowles. The overall coaching in this game was outstanding, it just wasn’t perfect. We also don’t know for sure that end around would have been successful, it just looks that way. A learning moment for everyone. This year I’m ok with it, next year I’ll be very unhappy.