New York Jets fans hoping this latest performance from Zach Wilson, which came in the midst of a 16-12 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night, would lead head coach Robert Saleh to send him to the banking, they will not see their wishes fulfilled.
At least that’s what it seemed to sound like again from Saleh on Monday as he addressed the club’s second straight loss that brings them to 4-5 on the season.
Wilson was 23 of 39 for 263 yards, which is certainly not a bad performance at all. But with no offensive touchdowns (one was negated by a holding penalty when Breece Hall ran from inside the Raiders’ 5-yard line) and a crucial interception coming late in the game, Wilson once again didn’t do enough to push. his team to victory.
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Saleh sees differently.
«I understand, there is a longing for more,» Saleh told reporters. «But I feel like he played a good game yesterday. He’ll admit he’d like to get that interception back. But it’s hard to make changes just to make changes, just to appease something, especially when someone doesn’t deserve it. He deserved it, I got you. Let’s change something.» .
The interception Saleh referred to came on the Jets’ penultimate drive, one that looked very promising late in the game with Gang Green needing a touchdown to retake the lead they held for most of the game.
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On 2nd-and-8 at the Raiders’ 20-yard line, Wilson’s eyes locked on receiver Allen Lazard near the first-down marker, and he tried to thread the needle on another series of downs.
Instead, senior linebacker Robert Spillane saw Wilson the entire way, jumping the route and intercepting the pass. He recovered it 25 yards with 1 minute, 22 seconds left in the game.
Wilson would have another chance at victory, but needed a miracle from the football gods with a last-second Hail Mary. Garrett Wilson and Tyler Conklin got their hands on the ball, but it ultimately fell to the grass.
The Jets have gone two straight games without scoring a touchdown. And thanks to research by Brian Costello of the New York Post, the Jets have scored 15 offensive touchdowns in their last 17 games, which would be a full season. Three of those touchdowns came against the Chicago Bears, who had the worst record in the NFL last season.
Wilson’s only touchdown pass in the last five games came on a 50-yard catch-and-run by Hall against the New York Giants, a game the Jets were on the verge of losing before Big Blue’s mistakes led to a Wilson series that sent things into overtime.
It’s moments like that one that forced overtime when Wilson shows flashes of good quarterback play that are needed to win games. But the last time he had a good touchdown drive was against the Kansas City Chiefs six games earlier.
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However, Saleh clearly views his quarterback situation as one that would be a trade just to make a change, and that’s something he doesn’t feel he needs right now.
But with the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins on the schedule for the next two games, some saw Sunday night as a must-win to stay in playoff contention because, despite a great defensive game, they can’t add points on offense.
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So heading into the rematch against Buffalo, Wilson’s job seems safe for another week.