An all-too-familiar script played out again Sunday, when the New York Jets lost 15-10 to the New England Patriots. And three weeks into the season, it’s starting to feel like 2022 all over again.
First off, the Jets still can’t defeat the Patriots. Make it 15 consecutive losses to their biggest rival. Doesn’t matter that the Jets fancy themselves the better team, they simply can’t prove it head-to-head on the field.
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) September 24, 2023
And in an ugly case of déjà vu, Zach Wilson and the woefully inept Jets offense were again booed at MetLife Stadium. Coach Robert Saleh found himself answering the same postgame questions about whether Wilson will be benched.
This was a game the Jets (1-2) needed to win, at home, with the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs up next in Week 4. Despite some solid individual efforts, they did not.
Let’s examine which Jets stocks are on the rise after their Week 3 loss and which are trending down.
Xavier Gipson, KR
The rookie returner continues to impress. Under lousy weather conditions, Gipson excelled returning kickoffs and punts, helping the Jets manage some semblance of decent field position in this one-possession game.
Gipson, who was the Week 1 hero with his game-winning touchdown on a punt return in overtime to help defeat the Buffalo Bills, returned four punts for 39 yards (9.8 yard average), including an 18-yard return where he reversed field and showed patience to follow key blocks. He also averaged 27.5 yards on two kickoff returns, including a 30-yarder.
Jordan Whitehead and Adrian Amos, S
Whitehead had a team-high nine solo tackles and 10 overall. He was sure-handed in his tackling and also had a pass breakup. He’s been very good to start the season.
With Tony Adams sidelined by a hamstring injury, Amos made his first Jets start. And the veteran was very active, making seven tackles (six solo) and breaking up a pass.
Quinnen Williams, DT
The All-Pro lineman consistently fought through double teams all afternoon and forced Patriots QB Mac Jones into several bad throws and incompletions. Williams did not have a sack and was credited with only one tackle, but he was a big-time nuisance, who helped keep the Jets in the game in the second half.
Nathaniel Hackett, offensive coordinator
Listen, the quarterback was indecisive, taking forever to go through his reads. That’s when he wasn’t running for his life. And that same offensive line didn’t open any holes in the running game either.
But, for the second straight week (and loss), it’s fair to question Hackett’s play-calling and personnel usage. Jets legend Joe Namath was so concerned with what he saw from Zach Wilson that he took to social media to call coaching into question. It’s a fair critique because Wilson looked so lost.
Again, Hackett didn’t incorporate Mecole Hardman or Gipson in the offensive game plan. And where the heck was Jeremy Ruckert? Kid looks like he can block and catch but can’t get on the field as Hackett holds tight to veteran C.J. Uzomah behind Tyler Conklin at tight end.
Zach Wilson, QB
It’s not all Hackett’s fault, of course. Wilson looked brutal except when he led an 87-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter. In that up-tempo drive, Wilson played with pace and got into a real good rhythm, completing seven of 10 passes. For the only time in the game, Wilson picked up chunk yardage with passes downfield to Conklin and Allen Lazard.
Wilson finished 18-for-36 for 157 yards and didn’t turn the ball over. But the Jets went three and out six times, were 2-for-14 on third down, and Wilson needlessly was sacked in the end zone for a safety turning a three-point game into a five-point game.
Matthew Judon is that DUDE. What a play at a key spot in this game. pic.twitter.com/j2ixkVpO94
— Pats Buzz (@PatsBuzz) September 24, 2023
New-look offensive line
Breece Hall had nowhere to run. Dalvin Cook, who looks like he may have lost a step, couldn’t get to the second level. Hall and Cook each had just 18 rushing yards on a combined 20 carries. And Wilson was under pressure more often than not in the passing game.
The common denominator? The offensive line struggled for the second straight week.
Duane Brown can’t be blamed this week because he’s on IR with a hip injury. Mekhi Becton shifted from right tackle to left and had mixed results. He was beaten on a nasty spin move by Matthew Judon for the crucial sack/safety.
The rest of the line didn’t look great, either. Though it was good to see second-round pick Joe Tippmann get his first NFL start at right guard.