The Patriots are not done spooking Jets quarterbacks with ‘ghosts’
There are still a lot of things to like about the New England Patriots for their fans even after the Tom Brady era and despite the saga the team had during Cam Newton’s time in Foxboro. Among which is the Pats’ defense, which continues to terrorize New York Jets quarterbacks. Rookie Zach Wilson certainly has stories to tell his grandkids one day about the time he faced Bill Belichick’s defense for the first time in his career and how the experience was like crossing paths with supernatural figures on the field.
If it sounds eerily familiar, it’s because that was an allusion to the ordeal Sam Darnold dealt with in a 2019 matchup against the Patriots. Darnold, then still with the Jets, lost to the Pats at home in Week 7 of that season to the tune of a 33-0 score. Darnold looked clueless on how to find his receivers downfield. Four different Patriots intercepted Darnold, who said midgame that he was seeing “ghosts.” Darnold is no longer with the Jets, but he’s probably waking up on a bed drenched with sweat from time to time because of that.
He was miserable against New England, finishing 11 of 32 for 86 yards and a 3.6 quarterback rating. ESPN had Darnold wear a microphone during the game, and he was caught on the sideline saying, “I’m seeing ghosts” at one point.
In this season’s Week 2 meeting at home with New England, Wilson got baptized by the unforgiving Patriots’ secondary. The former BYU Cougars star isn’t used to the kind of torture the Patriots subjected him to Sunday afternoon. Wilson threw four picks, each looked more hilariously bad than the previous one, in that game. All were thrown within his first 10 pass attempts, as the Patriots appeared that they were really trying to make Wilson quit football.
The Patriots simply didn’t waste time in giving Wilson an AFC East history lesson on why New England had ruled the division for almost over two decades. Tom Brady was one, but the Patriots’ defense was a constant reason why the team collected all those division titles, conference championships, and Vince Lombardi Trophies.
Seeing ghosts as a kid can be quite a traumatizing event that can stay in someone for a very long time. Wilson probably just had the football equivalent of that kind of experience.