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Jets studs and duds after their Week 13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings

Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson catches a 10-yard touchdown pass ahead of Jets cornerback D.J. Reed.
Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson catches a 10-yard touchdown pass ahead of Jets cornerback D.J. Reed.
AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King

The Jets fell to the Minnesota Vikings by a 27–22 margin on Sunday after they failed to convert several opportunities in the red zone. 

Sunday’s loss brings Gang Green to a 7–5 record, and deals a significant blow to their playoff hopes. 

They still have a chance to see postseason action, but they’ll need to correct some of the mistakes they made against Minnesota as they head towards the stretch run of the NFL season. 

Sunday marked Mike White’s second game as the starting quarterback after Zach Wilson was benched, and the team’s offense looked fundamentally different with the new starter under center. 

But the loss still highlighted some critical flaws. 

So now, we’ll look at who performed well, and who struggled with another edition of Studs and Duds. 

Like each week, this column will only look at the performance in the most recent game, identifying who stepped up and who struggled — and what fans can expect from the New York roster in the weeks to come. 

DUDS

First, we’ll take a look at the flaws from their performance against the Vikings. 

Mike LaFleur

LaFleur, the Jets offensive coordinator, needs to shoulder much of the blame for their loss on Sunday. 

The Jets made it into the red zone six times, but only scored once, when Mike White ran a quarterback sneak on fourth down from the one yard line in the fourth quarter to make the contest a one-score game. 

Other than that, their offense looked confused and out-of-place when they got near pay dirt. 

On the Jets final two possessions, the Jets had a chance to take the lead, but failed to score while at the Minnesota 1 yard line (a drive that resulted in a turnover on downs), and then again from the 19 yard line (on a fourth down interception from White). 

The latter of those plays resulted in a drop by Braxton Berrios (more on that later), but LaFleur’s offense lacked creativity, and allowed the Vikings to stuff the running game with shot distances renaming multiple times. 

For that, he deserves to be in the “Duds” category this week.

Braxton Berrios

Berrios didn’t have a great game. But there’s one play that lands him in the “Duds” category this week. 

With just 1:42 remaining in the game, as the Jets were down by 5 points, White tossed a pass to Berrios in the endzone, and he couldn’t bring it down. 

The quarterback tossed the pigskin nearly-perfectly in a tight window, and it hit both of Berrios’ hands. But he simply dropped it. 

“That’s not on [White], that’s on me,” Berrios said after the game. “It’s fourth down, he has everything in his face, the rush coming and he’s seeing bodies flying everywhere. he put it where I should have got it, so that one’s on me.”

Of course, it’s impossible to rule out the possibility that the Jets could have held the Vikings away from scoring if they’d completed the pass, but they would have been winning with less than two minutes remaining, and Minnesota had only one timeout remaining — so that pass really could have been a game-winner. 

Outside that play, Berrios was essentially a non-factor as well. He had two receptions for nine yards on three targets, and averaged just 12.3 yards on three kick returns while playing on special teams. 

STUDS

Now, let’s highlight some of the good performances from the Jets.

Garrett Wilson

Wilson, the rookie wide receiver who the Jets drafted with the 10th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, proved once again why he is not just one of the best rookies in the NFL, but established himself among the best pass catchers without any qualifications. 

The rookie finished with 162 yards on eight receptions, including a miraculous catch where he broke away from several tackles for a 60 yard gain. 

On the year, Wilson has 57 catches for 790 yards and four touchdowns.

Most importantly, his connection with Mike White appears to be special — he had 95 yards and two touchdown receptions in White’s first starting game last week. 

The Jets couldn’t have possibly expected more from his rookie campaign, and he proved that once again on Sunday. 

Greg Zuerlein

The Jets kicker deserves recognition for his flawless play on Sunday. 

Zuerlein attempted, and made, five field goals against the Vikings, including a franchise-record 60-yard kick at the close of the first half. 

He also did not give the Vikings a chance to return any kickoff through four quarters. 

On the season, he’s put 23 field goals through the uprights on 27 attempts, and missed just one extra point on the year.

While the Jets couldn’t get the ball into the endzone enough to win the game, they were able to rely on Zuerlein to get them on the scoreboard whenever they got close enough. 

Jordan Whitehead

The Jets secondary had been steadily improving over course of the season, and they’ve helped fill the early-season gaps between them and the vaunted front seven for Gang Green. 

Much of the attention has been paid to rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner (and rightly so), but safety Whitehead proved that he’s also a force-to-be-reckoned-with. 

Whitehead finished the game with 11 tackles, and helped limit one of the best receivers in the NFL, Justin Jefferson, to just 45 yards on the day. 

He got called for some highly-questionable penalties, but he also showed the ability to play lockdown coverage in the passing game, and be a brute-force player against the run. 

He deserves his spot in this week’s “Studs” category.

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

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