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Zach Wilson finally comes out hot, but loses rhythm in second half

Zach Wilson of the Jets throws a pass

Zach Wilson of the Jets throws a pass in the third quarter against the Eagles at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Zach Wilson looked sharp, and in a first half no less, throwing accurate darts and leading touchdown drives.

The Jets have sunk their hopes into the rookie quarterback. It has often been a struggle in this on-the-job training.

The first half against the Eagles Sunday at MetLife Stadium contained hope. However, the rhythm was lost after the intermission.

But Robert Saleh saw Wilson’s best work yet in some areas amid the rubble of another loss, a 33-18 setback Sunday against Philadelphia at MetLife Stadium. He threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran for another. He threw one interception.

"Zach, his footwork was awesome, his eyes, his tempo, playing within the scheme and not trying to overanalyze," Saleh said after the Jets fell to 3-9. "… I thought this was by far his best game in terms of just working progression and playing within the scheme. I wish we could’ve kept him in rhythm in the second half …"

Wilson hadn’t thrown or run for any touchdowns in the first half of his seven previous starts. But he fired for a 3-yard score to Elijah Moore on the day’s opening drive after Braxton Berrios set the Jets up at the Philadelphia 21 with a 79-yard kickoff return.

Next possession, Wilson capped an 11-play, 68-yard drive by plowing straight ahead for the last yard.

Next possession, he found Ryan Griffin in the right side of the end zone for a 1-yard TD and an 18-14 lead.

"I thought he took what the defense gave us," receiver Jamison Crowder said.

The Jets trailed 24-18 at halftime. But Wilson went 12-for-14 for 108 yards. In the second half, he went 11-for-24 for 118 yards with one interception on an overthrow to Crowder.

But the Jets had only three offensive plays in the third quarter, so the rhythm wasn’t sustained.

"There was definitely improvement," Wilson said. "I thought I had some good plays as far as putting my team (in the best position with) the best decision I can make every single time and just processing as far as getting through guys (in the progression).

"Now the next step comes with finding that balance from how I can go out and use my playmaking ability and also stay within the offense 99 percent of the time. I still think there’s a lot of improvement I can make into next week."

New York Sports