A goofy ending to the first half notwithstanding, the Jets are in prime territory to end their futility against the Patriots
Behind a Tyler Conkin touchdown reception from Zach Wilson, the New York Jets have a major opportunity to end their 12-game losing streak against the New England Patriots. They currently hold a 10-6 lead at halftime against their division rivals at MetLife Stadium.
- PASSING: Zach Wilson (10-of-18, 152 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT)
- RUSHING: James Robinson (3 carries, 13 yards)
- RECEIVING: Garrett Wilson (4 rec., 89 yards)
- PASSING: Mac Jones (13-of-20, 122 yards, 1 INT)
- RUSHING: Mac Jones (3 carries, 26 yards)
- RECEIVING: Rhamondre Stevenson (5 carries, 59 yards)
Zach Over Mac
Sunday’s game features two sophomore franchise quarterbacks that have done their share of winning but are nonetheless facing questions about their future. Zach Wilson is undefeated as a starter in 2022 and Mac Jones took his team to the playoffs last season, but their relative lack of highlights and fantasy victories have left observers worried. Wilson left one more dire reminder that he still has a lot to learn – a floater over the hands of Ty Johnson led to an interception that gave New England a late chance at points – but, for the most part, Wilson lived up toe first-round billing, notably earning 151 yards over the first half-hour alone (already best his tally from each of the last two weeks).
While Jones has struggled thanks to a Jets pass rush taking out years, perhaps even decades, of frustration, Wilson has risen to the occasion, working well with the services of the unrelated Garrett Wilson to move the ball in his first showing of the post-Breece Hall era. Zach lacks his signature NFL moment in a high-profile situation but his difference-making efforts sans Hall are very encouraging. Even Wilson’s incompletions have been rather impressive, as he’s known when to throw the ball away in the wake of a strong New England pass rush.
Don’t Knock It ‘Till You Conk It
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but the Jets have had trouble scoring in recent seasons. Several have been called upon to fulfill the role of reliable red zone target but many have failed, contributing to the active playoff drought.
Tyler Conklin is exactly what Zach Wilson needs to work with at this point in his career: his eight-yard touchdown was his first since opening weekend and his first from the would-be aerial savior. If Zach Wilson wants to boost his stats and secure his franchise status, he’d be wise to keep Conklin close, particularly when the Jets get into opposing territory.
Let It Out
Today was undoubtedly poised to be the Jets’ best opportunity to end the New England monopoly on this supposed rivalry and Jeff Ulbrich’s defense, well aware of the punishment the Patriots are capable of bestowing, came to play.
Pass rushers have been in Jones’ face all day, earning three sacks. Further pressure led to an interception that Michael Carter II could’ve called fair catch on. Their final major showing, stopping the Patriots on a short fourth down deep in New York territory when Jordan Whitehead stuck with his receiver rather than fall into Jones’ scrambling trap. Plays like that have rivalry-changing potential written all over it.
Of course, there has to be a limit to the intensity – look no further than John Franklin-Myers‘s most ill-advised roughing the passer that wiped out a Carter pick-six – but the Jets’ defense has been taking things personally rather well.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
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