The rain coming down inside MetLife Stadium was nothing compared to the boos that were raining down on Zach Wilson and the Jets.
The quarterback had another dismal performance against the Patriots as the Jets suffered a crushing 15-10 loss to their AFC East rival on Sunday, their 15th straight defeat against New England.
For anyone waiting for the Jets to pull the plug on Wilson, Robert Saleh said he will stick with him as the quarterback.
“He’s who gives us the best chance to win,” Saleh said. “That’s basically the cleanest answer I could give you.”
The game ended with Wilson launching a Hail Mary to the end zone from the Jets’ 46. It was batted down by Patriots defensive back Kyle Duggar. Randall Cobb had a chance to grab it before it hit the ground but couldn’t, and he took the blame for the loss when he met with the team.
“I just told them we lost this game because I just dropped the Hail Mary,” Cobb told SNY.
Wilson finished 18-for-36 for 157 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. The Jets had 6 yards of offense midway through the second quarter and 10 net passing yards in the first half.
Wilson led only one touchdown drive, a 13-play, 87-yarder capped by fullback Nick Bawden's 1-yard run that brought the Jets within 13-10 with 5:24 left in the fourth quarter. He also threw a pass to Tyler Conklin that went for 2 yards on fourth-and-10 on the Jets’ next-to-last series.
“Find a way to be better,” Wilson said. “I have to find a way.”
The Jets also have to find a way to beat New England. Their last win over the Patriots came on Dec. 27, 2015. They now share the NFL’s longest active losing streak with the Broncos, who have dropped 15 in a row to Kansas City.
“It [stinks], it hurts,” Conklin said. “I’m sick of losing to these guys. We’re sick of the streak. When we play them again, we got to hear it again.”
The Jets will play their regular-season finale in New England. Will Wilson still be their quarterback then?
He was supposed to watch Aaron Rodgers, whose season-ending Achilles tendon injury changed that. Now it’s Wilson and Tim Boyle as the only ones in the Jets’ quarterback room.
The Jets (1-2) played well enough defensively to beat New England (1-2), allowing only 13 points. But they didn’t record a sack or force a turnover, so they’re taking some blame.
“We didn’t do our job,” cornerback Sauce Gardner said. “Our standard is just different. We just got the mentality like ‘we don’t want to give up nothing,’ especially like busted coverages. That just can’t happen.”
The blown coverage that Gardner referred to as “a miscommunication on the back end” was a 58-yard touchdown pass from Mac Jones to wide-open Pharaoh Brown across the middle. He caught the pass behind the Jets' defense and bolted for the end zone to make it a 10-0 hole with 11:38 left in the first half.
The offensive struggles spilled over to the sideline. Running back Michael Carter got into a heated exchange with his coach, Taylor Embree. Garrett Wilson also had some words with Zach Wilson because the offense couldn’t move the football.
“We haven't met the challenge the last two weeks, and that's where the frustration comes from,” Garrett Wilson said. “That's where the emotion comes from.”
The Jets' problems on offense are multiple: quarterback, offensive line and play-calling. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s game plan produced one offensive touchdown for the third straight game.
They shook up the line and it did little good as the Jets rushed for 38 yards on 22 carries. Wilson had the pocket collapse around him often and was sacked three times. Two were coverage sacks in which he should have thrown the ball away.
“We didn’t do anything on offense, especially in the first three quarters,” Zach Wilson said. “We got to put together something, something. So a lot of frustration for everyone on offense.”
On the Jets' lone touchdown drive, Wilson completed seven of his first eight passes for 79 yards. He had only 47 passing yards before that.
“We’re not doing anything, and as a quarterback, there comes a point where you have to try to go make a play,” Wilson said. “We picked up a couple of first downs and it was finally, ‘OK, here we go. Finally, we get to go.' ”
It was short-lived. After the Jets' defense made a big stop, the offense crumbled when it needed to stand up.
That series began at the Jets’ 10. Wilson was under pressure and threw incomplete on first and second downs. On third down, he avoided the rush and ran for 11 yards, but a holding penalty by rookie guard Joe Tippmann, making his NFL debut, negated it.
Matthew Judon then beat left tackle Mekhi Becton and sacked Wilson in the end zone for a safety that made it 15-10 with 2:19 left.
“We knew that even with Aaron at quarterback that there was going to be some hiccups along the way,” Saleh said. “Now you got this curveball that was sent to us. They’re acclimating and they’re going to get better."