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Insult and injury: Jets hammered by Patriots, 54-13, and Zach Wilson hurts knee

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson is escorted from the

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson is escorted from the field following an injury in the first half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Oct. 24, 2021. Credit: CJ GUNTHER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/CJ GUNTHER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Things already were going badly for the Jets and then they turned far, far worse.

Franchise quarterback Zach Wilson, drilled in the back after throwing a pass, felt his right knee twist and then felt a pop. He lay on the Gillette Stadium turf fearing the worst and hoping for the best.

The same can be said for the Jets and their fan base.

Wilson apparently injured his posterior cruciate ligament and will have an MRI on Monday, but everyone sounds optimistic that it won’t end his rookie season. The way the season is going, though, it already feels over for the Jets.

They came out of the bye week feeling good about all the extra work they put in — and then were utterly embarrassed in a 54-13 loss to the New England Patriots on a disastrous Sunday.

It was the Jets’ 12th straight loss to New England (the longest current streak for one team over another in the NFL) and the most points they’ve allowed since giving up 56 in 1979. The Jets dropped to 1-5 and might have to rely on Mike White at quarterback for a while.

"They punched us in the freaking mouth," coach Robert Saleh said. "I’ve been in some of those in my life. They don’t feel good."

A bigger concern for the Jets is Wilson’s health.

This whole season is about the rookie’s development. But that’s on hold now, and it’s unclear for how long.

Wilson was hit by Matthew Judon and driven to the ground, with all of the linebacker’s weight landing on him. He stayed down for a while as medical personnel attended to him. Wilson eventually walked off on his own, went to the medical tent and then limped to the locker room.

Wilson said he was told it could be his PCL, which is better than if it were his ACL. But the MRI will determine the severity of it.

"That would probably be the best-case scenario," Wilson said. "The pain isn’t there. It just feels like something’s off as far as being loose or unstable a little bit. Just making sure we get the MRI to clear up things."

The Jets will play next Sunday and the following Thursday. Wilson, who was 6-for-10 for 51 yards, was asked if he expects to miss both games. He wouldn’t commit to anything until the MRI, but the Jets hope they have avoided a major injury.

"I don’t think it’s going to be that big of a setback," Saleh said.

This game was a major setback and step backward for the Jets.

They said they believed they had figured out the issue that has kept them from scoring a single point in the first quarter this year. Well, they’re still scoreless. They went three-and-out on their first drive and Matt Ammendola missed a 48-yard field goal wide right on the second.

Their defense was atrocious. They sorely missed linebacker C.J. Mosley, who was out with a hamstring injury, and they just couldn’t stop New England.

The Patriots scored on their first six possessions and nine of their first 10. They totaled 551 yards of offense, including 403 passing. Rookie Mac Jones threw for 307 yards — his first 300-yard game — and two touchdowns. Damien Harris rushed for 106 yards and two TDs.

Bill Belichick, naturally, showed the Jets no mercy. He kept attacking them on both sides of the ball, throwing long passes up by 33 points late in the fourth quarter

"Every once in a while," Saleh said, "you get your [expletive] — excuse my language — you get your teeth knocked in."

Saleh cursed a few times in his postgame news conference, but he directed the most anger at himself and his coaching staff.

The Jets, who trailed 31-7 at halftime, just didn’t look prepared for this game. They have been outscored 44-0 in the first quarter and 106-20 in the first half.

"Getting punched in the mouth like that," defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said, "never a good feeling."

Without Wilson, the Jets turned to White, a fifth-round pick for the Cowboys in 2018 who made his NFL debut. White’s first pass attempt ended up being a 3-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis.

Overall, White was 20-for-32 for 202 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

The Jets’ first scoring drive was the series in which Wilson was hurt. On the play, Patriots defensive back Kyle Dugger was flagged for a 46-yard pass- interference penalty at the New England 2-yard line. Three plays later, White threw a high pass in the end zone and Davis made a great catch, going up and snatching it.

Davis had four catches for 47 yards. Rookie Elijah Moore scored on a 19-yard reverse for his first NFL touchdown. That was it for the Jets’ scoring.

"Nobody planned on the scoring being like this," right tackle Morgan Moses said. "I know a lot of guys are hurt about this."

How badly Wilson is hurt is what matters most for the Jets. Their season feels over, but they hope it isn’t for their young quarterback.

DIRTY DOZEN

The Jets’ losing streak against the Patriots reached 12 on Sunday. The Jets have been outscored by an average of nearly three touchdowns. The results:

2016 Patriots 41, Jets 3

Patriots 22, Jets 17

2017 Patriots 26, Jets 6

Patriots 24, Jets 17

2018 Patriots 38, Jets 3

Patriots 27, Jets 13

2019 Patriots 30, Jets 14

Patriots 33, Jets 0

2020 Patriots 30, Jets 27

Patriots 28, Jets 14

2021 Patriots 25, Jets 6

Patriots 54, Jets 13

Totals Patriots 378 Jets 132

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