Jets coach Robert Saleh takes blame for late-game clock mishap

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh.
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh.
AP Photo/Steven Senne

The Jets lost the Lions on Sunday after Detroit scored a go-ahead touchdown to take a 3 point lead with less than 2 minutes remaining, and Gang Green missed a field goal on the following drive as time expired. 

Detroit quarterback Jared Goff found Kalif Raymond in the endzone with 1:49 remaining in regulation, which put the Lions back up by a 20–17 margin, and Zach Wilson (under center again for the Jets after an injury to Mike White), attempted to respond with a 10-play drive that resulted in Greg Zuerlein missing a 58-yarder that would have evened the score as time expired.

While the defense giving up the touchdown, and the offense failing to get closer to paydirt were obviously problems for the Jets, one factor may have doomed them even more: the porous clock management by Jets head coach Robert Saleh. 

“There’s stuff that I definitely could have done better,” Saleh said after the game. 

Specifically, Zach Wilson tossed a pass to rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson on the potential game-tying drive for a gain of 10 yards with 53 seconds left, which brought them to their own 38 yard line. 

The team didn’t get another play off until there were just 31 seconds left — a loss of 22 seconds. 

That came despite the fact that the Jets had all three timeouts left in their back pocket. 

The loss of time would ultimately come down to bite them, as they were only able to run four more plays before needing to turn to Zuerlein for the long-shot field goal. 

If they had called a timeout after the rookie wide receiver’s catch, they could have preserved time on the clock, and potentially run more plays to get them closer to the endzone. 

“I definitely overthought this situation,” Saleh said. “Call a timeout, there’s 49 seconds left.” 

“We’re playing for time. When you look at it all, I definitely, probably cost us one more snap.”

After the play to Garrett Wilson, the team saw two incompletions, a sack and one successful pass that brought them close enough to attempt a field goal. 

Ultimately, the team only spent two of their three timeouts during that final drive. 

It’s clear that Saleh could have saved time on the clock, and potentially moved Gang Green into better field position — or even gone for the endzone to win the game. 

But he didn’t. 

“I wish I could have had that one back,” he said. 

The Jets are now 7–7 on the season, and they’re on the outside-looking-in with regards to the NFL’s playoff picture.

They will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars next at MetLife Stadium on Thursday night, which will mark a must-win game for the team’s hope of a postseason berth.

For more coverage of the Jets, head to amNY.com.