EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Jets are having one of the worst offensive seasons in franchise history, and the frustration seeped out Monday night after a dispiriting 27-6 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers at MetLife Stadium.
Wide receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall, the Jets’ top playmakers, appeared annoyed by yet another no-show performance by the offense. Hall said, “We all have to grow up and do our job,” and Wilson echoed that sentiment.
“It’s inexcusable, man, and it’s getting to the point where it’s disappointing,” Wilson said in a quiet locker room. “I hate coming off the field, looking our defense in the eyes and knowing that we have to send them back out there after three-and-out. Them boys are my dogs and they come out and ball. They put us in a great position. It’s time for us to start returning the favor, man. It’s time. We got to figure it out.”
The Jets (4-4) managed only two field goals against the NFL’s 31st-ranked pass defense, snapping their three-game winning streak. They lost three fumbles (two by quarterback Zach Wilson), allowed eight sacks and converted only three of 17 on third down. Their third-down success rate (22%) is lowest in the NFL over the past 45 years.
This wasn’t an isolated clunker. The Jets have scored only eight offensive touchdowns for the season, tied for their third fewest in their first eight games in team history.
Garrett Wilson paused when asked if the Jets’ issues are scheme related.
“I don’t know, man, I really don’t know,” he said. “I like to think that isn’t the case and that it’s truly things that we can just watch the film and be like, ‘All right, we have to do this better and this will lead to a touchdown.'”
The Jets had designs on being a prolific offense in 2023, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with a torn Achilles tendon on the fourth play of the season. In came Zach Wilson, the former No. 2 overall pick. After making subtle improvements in recent weeks, he took a step backward Monday night.
His stat line wasn’t ugly, as he completed 33 of a career high 49 attempts for 263 yards, but it doesn’t tell the full story. He missed open receivers and didn’t sense pressure well, as the offense sputtered in every imaginable way. They had three pre-snap penalties, which didn’t help. Not even a stellar performance by the defense, which sacked Justin Herbert five times and held him to a career low 136 passing yards, could bail out the Jets.
Coach Robert Saleh refused to blame his quarterback.
“Was it his best game? Obviously not,” Saleh said. “Was it his worst game? No, I’m not going to say it was worst game.”
Despite having led the offense to only eight touchdown drives, four of which were one-play drives, Wilson insisted he’s not the same quarterback who got benched twice last season.
“If you aren’t angry, I would think something is wrong. This is disappointing and it definitely messes with your psyche a little bit, but it’s nothing we can’t handle. We’re professionals. We’re going to push through this and it’s going to be better on the back end. But, yeah, I’d be lying if I said that we were all content with what we’re doing out on the field because we’re not.”
Jets WR Garrett Wilson
“I feel like I’m a different player,” he said. “I feel like I’m in the best position I’ve ever felt, mentally, my understanding of the game. I feel ready to be out there and be competing, and so that’s so frustrating, just not getting things done. It’s frustrating and it starts with me finding a way.”
Saleh said he has no plans to change playcallers; he’s sticking with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who came to the Jets from the Denver Broncos, ranked 32nd in scoring last season. A change wouldn’t sit well with Rodgers, who is extremely close to Hackett.
Right now, the Jets are 30th in points per game and 31st in total yards per game.
“If you aren’t angry, I would think something is wrong,” said Garrett Wilson, who ruined a potential scoring drive with a first-quarter fumble. “This is disappointing and it definitely messes with your psyche a little bit, but it’s nothing we can’t handle. We’re professionals. We’re going to push through this and it’s going to be better on the back end. But, yeah, I’d be lying if I said that we were all content with what we’re doing out on the field because we’re not.”
Tight end Tyler Conklin shook his head when told they have only eight touchdowns for the season.
“I really don’t know what to say right now, to be completely honest with you,” he said.