FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — As he sat in the locker room Sunday, his knee wrapped in ice as his team quickly faded under a lopsided scoreboard, Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson wanted to do something.
“I just sat there asking them, ‘Can I go back in? What can I do?’ Wilson recalled after the Jets’ 54-13 loss to the Patriots.
“Once they said the best thing to do was obviously not to play and to make sure we find out what’s wrong first," he added, "I just kind of sat there on my phone and watched the game.”
What he saw was the remainder of another frustrating result for a 1-5 Jets team that is now staring at the prospect of being without the second overall pick for a yet-to-be determined amount of time after he left early in the second quarter with what is believed to be an injured posterior cruciate ligament.
Wilson was hit by Patriots linebacker Matt Judon, who fell on the back of Wilson’s legs after he released a pass that fell incomplete for Keelan Cole. Wilson initially was down for several minutes as he was examined by the training staff before eventually being able to walk off the field under his own power.
The injury came after the previous play in which Patriots defensive lineman Lawrence Guy also hit Wilson low along the sideline, landing on his left knee, though he was able to resume playing.
“The pain really isn’t there. It just kind of feels like something is off as far as just being loose or a little bit unstable a little bit,” Wilson said of his injured right knee.
He did not return and was replaced by Mike White — who hadn’t previously taken an NFL regular-season snap.
White played as well as could be expected in Wilson’s absence, finishing off the drive after Wilson got injured on with 3-yard TD pass to Corey Davis to trim New England’s early lead to 17-7. For the day White was 20 of 32 for 202 yards, the TD and two interceptions.
But the Patriots dominated the rest of the period, scoring twice more to take a 31-7 lead into halftime. The Jets have now been outscored in the first half 106-20 this season.
If Wilson is sidelined for an extended period, White said he’s confident he can lead the offense if necessary.
For the game, the Jets were 7 of 13 on third down and 2-for-2 in the red zone.
“There are things to build on,” White said. “I think we did some good things as an offense. We executed, moved the ball downfield. As in any game, there’s going to be plays you want back. I think the most important thing is going into the film room tomorrow and correcting those things, building upon it, not letting today beat us twice.”
Jets coach Robert Saleh said they are hoping for the best from Wilson’s MRI and then will adjust accordingly.
“Initially you feel good. But you never know,” Saleh said.
Wilson said they got a jump on the rehab process while he was in the locker room following the injury. The Jets host the Bengals next Sunday and then have a quick turnaround, visiting Indianapolis the following Thursday.
As for now, Wilson said he isn’t thinking about missing both games.
“I’m planning on doing what I can to come back as fast as possible, making sure everything is good,” Wilson said. “Once we get the results, just hit the rehab and everything ... find out what I’m capable of doing and try to get back as fast as possible.”
Whatever happens, Wilson said there’s only one remedy to put Sunday behind the Jets.
“You move on,” he said. “We’re not going to let this beat us up because we’re in this for the long run. It’s a process. As long as we just keep trying to get better every single game and we keep going to work and guys don’t try to do too much all the way across the board, including us in the quarterback room just taking what they give us, we’ll eventually get there.”
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Kyle Hightower, The Associated Press