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Refs steal potential season-changing win from Jets on Sunday night
Zach Wilson has one of the best performances of his career in a 23-20 loss to the Chiefs. Plus, how the Jets were absolutely hosed by the referees.
What’s Up with the Jets? 🛩️
The Jets fought hard and nearly overcame a 17-point deficit in a tough 23-20 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday night (box)
In 3rd & 22 and 3rd & 20 situations on the game’s final drive, the Jets were screwed over by the referees not calling a clear offensive hold on Jermaine Johnson that resulted in a first down, and negated what would have been a game-changing interception on a ticky tack defensive holding call on Sauce Gardner
Head coach Robert Saleh was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct at the end of the game for complaining to the officials after the defensive holding call, but declined to speak on it further after the game
After a week of heavy scrutiny QB Zach Wilson played one of the best games of his career, going 28/39 (71.7 percent) for 245 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a lost fumble
Wilson’s 105.2 passer rating was the best of his career in a single game
WR Garrett Wilson had nine catches on 14 targets for 60 yards in the loss
RB Breece Hall only had six carries on the night, but was able to rush for 56 yards with a 43-yard burst late in the game
The Jets had their best game moving the ball this season going for 336 yards and two touchdowns, though they have yet to score more than 18 points on offense
Game Balls 🏈
🏈 Zach Wilson: Never did I expect that we’d ever be in a position to give a game ball to Zach Wilson this season, but the kid absolutely deserves it. In a game that literally no one expected the Jets to compete in, the young QB played his heart out by completing over 70 percent of his passes for 245 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. While Zach did blame himself for the loss because of his fumble with seven minutes to go, he is far from the reason the Jets lost this game.
🏈 Bryce Huff: While he didn’t ever quite get there, Bryce Huff was an absolute force on the defensive edge all night for this team. He forced a safety by drawing a facemask penalty in the end zone for the Jets’ first two points of the night, effectively turning this game around in the second quarter, and was a constant presence on the night. All in all, Huff generated six pressures and two quarterback hits on just 14 pass rushing snaps.
Play of the Week 📺
Down eight on the first drive of the second half, Zach Wilson was clinical in his execution. On a crucial 3rd & 8 in the red zone, Wilson threw an absolute dart into the end zone to Allen Lazard for a key touchdown.
This was one of Wilson’s best throws in a game that had a surprisingly big amount of good ones. If that ball is just slightly thrown less perfectly than it was, it’s most likely picked off and perhaps the game winds up getting out of hand.
Instead, the Jets picked up their second touchdown on the night. And, on the following play, Wilson was able to scramble into the end zone for a two-point conversion that tied up the ballgame. It’s a shame that the Jets were unable to score after this sequence, but it was a key moment in a game that was much tighter than anyone expected.
The Jets deserved better on Sunday night… ✍️
Man, this is one of those games where you walk away feeling angry…
Never for a moment leading up to their Sunday night match-up against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs did I expect the Jets to ever put themselves in a position where they could make me feel something, and yet somehow they did.
Would it have been easier for my soul had the Jets gone down meekly as it appeared they would when they found themselves down 17-0? Most likely. It certainly would have spared me from some unanticipated anguish, but it’s hard to not be proud of the team’s effort in that game.
Literally no one gave the Jets a chance in this one – the Sunday Night Football crew even admitted on the air that they had planned for way more filler discussions about Taylor Swift (which they managed to cram in there anyways) but had to surprisingly focus on a close game instead. It would have been easy for this team – which had such a tough few weeks since the start of this season – to go down without a fight, but they didn’t do that.
Zach Wilson played what was probably the best game of his NFL career, the defense tightened up after a rough first quarter, pressured Patrick Mahomes and picked him off twice, and the Jets found themselves overcoming a three-score deficit to be in a tie game in the fourth quarter.
And that’s what makes this one so damn frustrating.
The number one focus right now should be that Zach Wilson potentially turned his entire career and this Jets season around with a shockingly good performance one week after one of his worst. It should have been about how many dimes he threw, how confident he looked out there, how well of a game plan Nathaniel Hackett drew up. And going into next week’s game that’s something we should still be focusing on but this morning, after a loss like that, it’s tough to have anything but a bad taste in your mouth.
After Wilson made one of his few mistakes on the night, turning the ball over on a fumbled snap at midfield with seven minutes to go, the Jets defense had multiple golden opportunities to get the ball back into the hands of their offense.
On a crucial 3rd & 22, Jermaine Johnson was clearly being held with both hands by the Chiefs offensive lineman in a clip that was so obvious, most people saw it live for several seconds before the play actually developed. But instead, no call was made. In fact, the Jets were the ones called for an illegal contact penalty in the secondary on a play where Mahomes was able to scramble for 23 yards and a first down thanks to the no-call.
What should have been close to a 3rd & 40 turned into a brand new first down for the Chiefs, thanks to a missed call on a ridiculously obvious hold.
To make matters even worse, just plays later the Jets were once again in a position to get themselves off the field and have a chance for a game-winning drive. On a 3rd & 20, New York pressured Mahomes and forced him to throw up a ball for grabs that was intercepted by Michael Carter II who appeared to make an absolute game-changing play.
But no, a flag was thrown – and very late, might I add. Sauce Gardner was called for defensive holding on what appeared to be a ticky tack call at best on a third and twenty, negating the turnover and once again giving the Chiefs a third down they absolutely had not earned.
Unfortunately for Zach Wilson and the Jets, they never got the ball back after this. Mahomes was able to convert one final third down on yet another scramble, and New York had to watch the clock tick down to zero as they were out of timeouts.
It really was yet another painful sequence of events for a team and a fan base that has begrudgingly grown accustomed to them over the years. It’s one thing for the team to not perform and get their doors blown off, but for the game to be ripped out of your hands and to not even have a chance at a comeback attempt on something as out of your control as the referees is incredibly frustrating. That frustration grows to even higher levels considering the fact that these officials will call a game one way all night, and then suddenly make a game-changing call that goes completely against that in one of the most crucial moments on something that isn’t even clear and obvious.
What drives fans even more crazy is that for whatever reason, it always seems to come down to the Jets having to beat the officials, too. New York has yet to get a roughing the passer call this season after not getting a single roughing the passer call all of last year, either, yet will get called for it on total bullshit calls that even the NFL has to apologize for days later. For Michael Carter II, this isn’t even the first time he’s had a game-changing interception stolen away from him by the officials. It was just last year when a pick-six that likely would have ended the team’s losing streak to the Patriots was called back on a phantom roughing the passer call, which completely changed the complexion of that game and the Jets season.
The Jets simply are not good enough to beat both the Chiefs and the officials and yet seemingly every week, they have to defeat two opponents. It’s easy to blame referees on losses and it’s a practice that I normally do not enjoy, but sometimes it really can be the main reason your team loses a game.
And now once again, Jets fans are forced to be waking up the morning after wondering to themselves “what if?” in a game that should’ve probably gone there way. No one can say for sure if the Jets offense would have been able to drive down the field and score a touchdown in order to win it, but they at least earned the opportunity to try.
Wilson deserved that, the Jets deserved that, and this entire fan base deserved that.
Unfortunately though, like so many times that have come before for this franchise, the Jets had that chance stolen away from them. And now at 1-3 on the year, their season is on the line because of it.
Next Week’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Jets (1-3) at Broncos (1-3)
Where: Empower Field at Mile High – Denver, CO
When: 4:25 PM EDT
Where to Watch: CBS
Around the NFL 🏁
The Bills hammered the Dolphins in a match-up of the top two teams in the AFC East by a 48-20 score
Rams standout WR Puka Nacua caught the first touchdown of his career in overtime to defeat the Colts after Indianapolis rallied back from a 23-0 deficit
Dallas’ defense dominated as the Cowboys bounced back from their upset loss last week to destroy the Patriots 38-3 and send them to a 1-3 start to the season
Eagles K Jake Elliott delivered a game-winning field goal in overtime to survive a late comeback against the Commanders
The winless Bears blew a 28-7 lead against the previously 0-3 Broncos and fell by a 31-28 score