It was supposed to be Ty Johnson’s time. What it became was an opportunity that (quite literally) bounced out of his hands.
With injuries to running backs Michael Carter and Tevin Coleman, the Jets turned to Johnson in his third start of the season, but what they got was three first-quarter drops that helped set the tone for what would be an afternoon full of offensive futility.
The Jets went three-and-out on the first three possessions, helped along by Johnson, who dropped a pass that would have given them a first down on their second series.
Afterward, Johnson, who finished with four catches for 40 yards (and was sarcastically cheered when he made his first catch of the game), had no excuses for his play — just a promise that it will get better.
"They hit my hands, I dropped them," he said. "What else is there to say? I can make these catches, I believe in myself to make these catches . . . I told Zach [Wilson] that was completely on me. If they’re touching my hands, I need to be bringing them in. It’s as simple as that."
Johnson said he was particularly frustrated because on at least two of the drops, he burned his defenders and was in prime position to make an impact.
Wilson’s first throw to him, on the second play from scrimmage, was low but catchable.
"I was definitely like, ‘Damn,’ for sure. Because I know I can catch them," he said. "I put accountability on myself really high. The first one, low, I still had to bring it in. It still hit my hand . . . [The other one], an out route on Kwon Alexander, cooked him, I’ve just got to bring it in. I was definitely like, ‘Damn, I’m cooking them for sure.’ I’ve just got to bring it in."
Wilson had a terrible afternoon, going 19-for-42 for 202 yards with three sacks, and Robert Saleh wondered if the dropped passes affected the rookie quarterback’s game. But that doesn’t mean Saleh won’t turn to Johnson in the future.
"They’ve got four games and it’s still not going to define their career," Saleh said of Johnson and Denzel Mims, who had two costly penalties at the end of the second quarter. "Mims is a second-year player, Ty Johnson, he’s done a lot of good things for us. He had a fantastic Cincinnati game, so it’s not like we’re kicking these guys out of the building. They get the opportunity to [suit] up tomorrow, go back to work . . . They’re going to get opportunities in the next four weeks."