In their 33-18 loss to the Eagles, the Jets dealt with a plethora of issues. Most of those issues came from the defensive side of the ball, as the team got gashed in the running game once again. The Eagles ran for over 150 yards, with 120 yards coming from Miles Sanders alone. Backup quarterback Gardner Minshew had his way with a depleted and lackluster Jets defense as well, throwing for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
The issues even extended to special teams, as kicker Alex Kessman missed both of his extra points on the day. Coming a week after the Jets waived Matt Amendola, Kessman’s failures provided another headache for a team that simply cannot find a reliable kicker.
For all of the team’s issues, the one area of the team that performed well on Sunday was the offense. Despite an unproductive second half, Zach Wilson threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns while also adding another touchdown on the ground. Elijah Moore continued his breakout performance with six receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown. Jamison Crowder added 62 receiving yards and Tevin Coleman chipped in 58 yards rushing. Alijah Vera-Tucker and George Fant continued to show why they have been so valuable to the team this season in both the running and passing games as the offensive line continues to improve as a unit.
Robert Saleh said he enjoyed how Wilson played within the scheme and made sure to specifically point out Wilson’s “awesome” footwork. “Not trying to make defenses pay just because you might know what they’re in. I thought this was, by far, his best game in terms of just working progression and playing within the scheme. I wish we could have kept him in rhythm in the second half because I thought he was getting ready to have an explosive game overall,” said Saleh.
“He’s got to be able to step on the field, and the offense has to be able to step on the field with long droughts and still be able to perform. But this game was a really good step forward and now he’s got to go stack it up and do it again…he still has to go do it and trust it,” Saleh said. “Because I though last week was one of his better weeks, and it translated to the game, and now he’s just got to go do it again.”
Wilson credited the entire offense for the team’s hot start in the first half. “I thought the guys up front did a good job, the running backs ran hard, got us into a good situation. I thought (Mike) LaFleur called a great play for us to get a touchdown on the first drive and it’s just the momentum we needed,” Wilson said.
The rookie elaborated on his budding connection with his fellow rookie Elijah Moore, calling Moore a “great player” and predicted that their connection is going to get even better. “I still feel like we had one in the second half, I’ve got to feel how he’s coming out of his route… That’s a connection throw right there. That’s going to be something with time that we’re going to fix. It’s cool to go through this whole thing together because we both see that – we both see the emotions that come out of this game, and how much it means to both of us. It’s good to have those reps,’ Wilson said.
As great as it is to see the improvement from the rookie quarterback and receiver, the biggest improvement has been upfront. George Fant said he is “excited” with what the line has been able to do but expects the group to develop even further. “There’s always more to be done. More work to be done, and I definitely think that we are trending in the right direction,” Fant said.
Next up is a matchup versus the Saints minus a few weapons. Corey Davis is done for the year with a core muscle injury. Michael Carter is still out another week with his knee injury. Even Moore is dealing with a quad ailment. The Jets could potentially be facing the Saints defense without their three top weapons this weekend. If that’s the case, Wilson will be tasked with carrying this positive momentum with far less help.