East Rutherford, NJ — New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson envisioned this moment when he was a kid. And when he came out of the tunnel for his first regular season game at his new home stadium, he couldn’t hide his excitement before facing the Patriots.
The 22-year-old was waving his arms, praying fans to cheer out loud. It was a good moment. And a fleeting one.
Early in the fourth quarter, Wilson tried to find Michael Carter running back on a short pass and swept it well over his head. Jets fans, many of them headed to the exit, began to boo Wilson. loudly.
Wilson’s home debut for the New York Jets was a disaster on Sunday, as he threw four interceptions in a 25-6 loss to the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick. Wilson ended the game completing 19 of 33 passes for 210 yards and no touchdowns to go along with those interceptions for a quarterback rating of 37.0.
This is hardly the first time the Jets and their young quarterback have been completely impressed by Belichick’s defense. Less than two years ago, the Patriots overwhelmed ex-jet Sam Darnold to such an extent that he was caught on the microphone admitting he was “seeing ghosts.”
There was no such viral moment for Wilson on Sunday. But there were too many highly questionable throws and the worst start one could have imagined.
He threw interceptions on each of his first two passes. And three interceptions in his first five passes.
If Jets fans were hoping for a Wilson-led second-half rally in Carolina last week, they didn’t hold onto that expectation for long. Wilson threw another interception on the first drive of the second half to wipe out any chances for the Jets to come back into the game.
There were several other close barriers that the Patriots could not bring down. The quarterback never looked comfortable and missed several easy throws as the game progressed.
As if that wasn’t bad enough for the Jets and their fans, Wilson’s terrific performance came on a day when the running game was in the works, the offensive line did a better job of protecting him and the defense got off to a strong start.
But it didn’t matter because Wilson was so far away that the jets couldn’t maintain any speed.
It was a chance for the Jets to turn the page on their terrible recent history against the Patriots and show that things might have been different with their new coach and new quarterback.
Instead, Robert Saleh and his staff were hired by Belichick – until the end what the legendary coach seemed to be doing to the Jets. And in the first game between these two teams with the rookie quarterback on the field at the same time, it was mid-first-round pick Mac Jones who did enough for his team to win—22-of-30 passes for 186 yards. Completed and no blockage. And it was Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick, in the worst way imaginable.