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Zach Wilson, Jets fall apart in second half in 22-17 loss to Patriots

Jets running back James Robinson is upended by New England Patriots cornerback Jack Jones.
Jets running back James Robinson is upended by New England Patriots cornerback Jack Jones.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

The day before Halloween, the Jets looked as though they had dressed up as the 2021 version of the team as quarterback Zach Wilson threw three interceptions in a 22-17 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday. 

The Jets gave up 16 points in the second half as Wilson completely fell apart, throwing interceptions on two consecutive drives and they were forced to punt on their only other one. The New York QB had started the game off in the first half with a touchdown pass on top of completing  10-of-18 passes for 152 yards. 

Wilson completed just two passes on seven attempts in the third quarter and the three interceptions are the most he’s thrown this season. His previous high had been in his first game of the year back in Week 4 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

It also marked the second time in Wilson’s career that he’s thrown three or more interceptions, the career-high being set at four last year on Sept. 19 against the Patriots. 

“We were still moving the ball I just had some boneheaded plays, Wilson said. “Second interception I really meant to throw that ball away. Dude closed on me faster. Kind of had me leave the ball inside. Can’t mess with that, gotta sail it and then the last one was I just really wanted to make a play. Save from coming off the field and I can’t do that. Put my defense in a bad situation there.”

Wilson later added: “I need to play better.” 

The loss snapped the Jets’ four-game winning streak and moved them to 5-3 through eight weeks of the NFL season. The Jets had been off to their best start since 2010 and it had been the ninth time in franchise history that they had recorded five wins through the first seven weeks. 

Sunday marked the first of two times that New York will face New England with the second matchup slated to take place next month in Foxboro. 

“Losing a game in general hurts man, but like you said it’s a long season,” Quinnen Williams said. “Get back in the film room, learn the things we did wrong and try to do the things we did right even (more). And change the things we did wrong.” 

Things started to unravel for the Jets towards the end of the first half after Wilson threw his first interception to give the Pats one final shot at scoring in the first half. A pick-six for New York was called back for roughing the passer and New England managed to get three points out of it to cut the New York lead to 10-6. 

“Well that was a very important play,” D.J. Reed said about the overturned pick-six. “I think that one changed the whole game. … That would have been two touchdowns before the half, so that was obviously very tough. That was a tough call. (Michal Carter II) was winded after the play he ran like 100 yards. I ran with him so we was tired coming back. It was just unfortunate.” 

The Patriots took their first lead of the day out of the halftime break after going 62 yards on six plays. Rhamondre Stevenson went 35 yards to open the drive and put New England on the New York 27-yard line.

A short pass to Jakobi Meyers put the Pats inside the Jets’ 10 and on 4th & 1 Jones connected with Meyers again for the five-yard touchdown pass to make it 13-10. The Jets had a chance to tie the game at three, but after stalling out on the 27-yard line in the Pats end, Greg Zuerlein missed a 45-yard field goal. 

The Patriots hit field goals on their next two possessions with Nick Folk sending the ball through the uprights on a 49-yarder and 45-yard field goal to put them up 19-10. 

One final field goal in the fourth by Folk rounded out the scoring and gave the Patriots a comfortable 22-10 lead. 

The Jets did pulled within five when Wilson hit Conklin for his second touchdown pass to cut it to 22-17, but they couldn’t recover the onside kick and the Patriots ran out the clock. 

The Jets had fired the opening salvo in the first quarter on their second offensive possession of the day. Wilson helped move the chains with a 16-yard pass to Tyler Conklin and then a 54-yard pass to Garrett Wilson on 3rd & 5 to put New York on the Patriots’ 12. 

The Jets were held to just a field goal after Wilson threw two incomplete passes and forced Zuerlein to kick a 28 yarder to make it 3-0 in the first quarter. 

The Pats answered back on the next drive when they went 62 yards and Folk hit a 31-yard field goal to tie the game at 3. The Jets’ defense had come up big a couple of times during the drive to stifle the Patriots, including an 8-yard sack by Nathan Shepard with New England on the New York 8-yard line. 

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

Wilson again showed off his arm during the first drive of the second quarter which led to a touchdown pass put the Jets back in front. It was the Wilson-Wilson connection twice to start the drive and then a 17-yard pass to Michael Carter turned into a 30-yard one after the Patriots got flagged for unnecessary roughness. 

The Jets’ QB completed the drive with a crisp pass to Conklin to put New York ahead 10-3. 

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