The Zach Wilson era is off to a disastrous start

·4 min read

If Week 1 was a tough watch for New York Jets fans, then Week 2 was, well, a disaster.

They got their first in-person look at vaunted rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, who made his home debut at MetLife Stadium against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They'd probably like a refund.

Wilson opened the game with as many completed passes to Patriots defenders as Jets receivers, posting a first-half line reading: 3 of 7 for 45 yards and three interceptions. Despite the ugly first half, Wilson and the Jets remained within reach, trailing the Patriots 13-3 at intermission. 

They got the ball to start the second half but didn't take advantage of the opportunity.

A chop-block penalty pushed the Jets back to second-and-28 at their own 24 on the sixth play of the drive. From there, Wilson took a shotgun snap and faced a Patriots zone intent on preventing a big pass play. With the four-man pass rush failing to apply pressure, Wilson backpedaled and heaved a deep ball past midfield down the right sideline.

To whom? Elijah Moore appeared to be the target. Patriots safety Devin McCourty corralled the pass that wasn't in the vicinity of any receiver. 

The decision to make that pass while facing minimal pressure was puzzling. The execution was worse. And Jets fans had seen enough. Boos rained down from MetLife not three quarters into Wilson's home debut. 

There was no redemption for the No. 2 pick of April's draft on Sunday. The Patriots cruised to a 25-6 win. Wilson finished Sunday completing 19 of 33 pass attempts for 210 yards and four interceptions. He took four sacks for 26 yards.

To make matters worse, Jets fans bore witness as fellow rookie quarterback Mac Jones secured his first NFL victory for the reviled Patriots. The New England rookie selected 13 picks after Wilson in April's draft completed 22 of 30 passes for 186 yards without a touchdown or a turnover as his Patriots cruised to a comfortable win. 

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) runs off the field against the New England Patriots during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Zach Wilson threw four interceptions on Sunday. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Wilson seeing 'ghosts?'

Wilson's effort had one Patriots defender cracking jokes at his expense. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy didn't suit up Sunday while nursing what the Patriots described as a throat ailment. But he felt well enough to log onto Twitter, where he posted this:

In case you missed it, that's a reference to the latest failed Jets quarterback experiment Sam Darnold. During a 33-0 loss to the Patriots in 2019, the then-Jets quarterback proclaimed while mic'd up: "I'm seeing ghosts." Darnold was certainly spooked by Bill Belichick's defense that day. 

The same can be said for Wilson on Sunday. 

Speaking of Darnold, the exiled Jets quarterback had himself a day in Charlotte. The Carolina Panthers quarterback led a 26-7 romp of the New Orleans Saints while throwing for 305 yards with a touchdown and an interception. It was Darnold's second win in two starts for the Panthers. The first? That arrived last week over Wilson's Jets. 

So, yeah. It's fair to say Jets fans are rightfully frustrated after another 0-2 start. Especially considering that last year's tank-for-Trevor plan was spoiled with a late-season win over the Los Angeles Rams that ensured the Jacksonville Jaguars instead secured the No. 1 pick and the draft rights to Lawrence. 

If there's any solace for Jets fans, it's that the Jaguars are likewise 0-2. Lawrence struggled with turnovers for a second straight game on Sunday while tallying 118 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in a 23-13 loss to the Denver Broncos

That's likely of little comfort to Jets fans witnessing another brutal game by another highly drafted quarterback.

To be fair, it's only Week 2. Plenty of Pro Bowl-caliber quarterbacks dropped clunkers during their rookie seasons. It's way too early to make any grand proclamations on Wilson's future as an NFL quarterback. 

But Jets fans have been burned before. And for them, Sunday looked entirely too familiar. 

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