Wilson doesn’t blame Jets fans after 4 INT vs. Pats

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New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, right, comes under pressure from New England Patriots Joejuan Williams in the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, September 19, 2021, at East Rutherford, NJ (AP Photo / Frank Franklin II)

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, right, comes under pressure from New England Patriots Joejuan Williams in the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, September 19, 2021, at East Rutherford, NJ (AP Photo / Frank Franklin II)

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Zach Wilson’s first pass ended up in the hands of the other team.

His second too.

By the time it was all over – four nightmarish quarterbacks – the New York Jets quarterback had thrown four interceptions, leading to a horrific 25-6 loss to fellow rookie Mac Jones and the New England Patriots on Sunday.

“It’s on my shoulders,” Wilson said. “I have to do better.

And that’s an understatement.

In what was billed as the first-round QB’s Mac vs. Zach game, Jones was smart and efficient. Meanwhile, Wilson was anything but.

“He got a bit farther away,” said coach Robert Saleh.

The No. 2 pick overall was 19 of 33 for 210 yards and all four INTs, struggling against the Patriots right away. It got so bad at the start of the fourth quarter when Wilson knocked down a wide receiver, the crowd at MetLife Stadium – in attendance for their first regular season game since Dec. 22, 2019, due to the pandemic – started booing the young QB .

“They should boo, right?” Wilson said. “We didn’t play well in attack. Our defense gave us a good chance to win. We didn’t execute, we didn’t move the ball well and we didn’t score any points. We have to do a better job there.

Wilson’s first mistake came on the second down of the Jets’ first possession when he threw a pass to Corey Davis, who was tightly defended. JC Jackson flipped it in the air, Devin McCourty deflected it and the ball landed in Jackson’s hands. This led to a placement for the Patriots.

Wilson’s second pass was a high pitch that slipped into Davis’ hands, and Adrian Phillips caught it for INT. New England turned that into a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.

“I should have had that, 100%,” Davis said.

It wasn’t until the start of the second quarter that Wilson landed a pass to a teammate, and even that wasn’t optimal play. The 27-yard throw to a wide-open Elijah Moore drove the wide receiver on the sidelines rather than down. Otherwise, the Jets could have had a touchdown.

Wilson’s third INT came on a poorly repelled pass to Moore which was easily picked up by Jackson.

That made the Jets quarterback the first player since at least 1991 to throw INTs on each of his first two passing attempts in a game, according to NFL Research. He was also the first player in at least 91 to throw three INTs in his first five passing attempts in a game.

“I wouldn’t say I was trying to do too much,” Wilson said of his struggles. “I would say (it was) a lack of execution.”

Wilson’s fourth interception opened the second half with a pass he floated into the field that was caught by McCourty. This led to another touchdown for New England.

“When you have a rookie quarterback and they also have a rookie quarterback, I mean, shoot,” Saleh said. “It’s just trusting that it’s okay to play a boring soccer game. That’s really it. And he’s an electric guy, he’s competitive as hell and he wants to win so badly.

“But sometimes it’s good to be boring, and that’s probably the biggest lesson we can take from this one.”

Saleh never considered sitting Wilson down at any point in the game. The Jets coach liked what he saw of his quarterback, sure Wilson’s confidence was not shaken.

“He was fine,” Saleh said. “He had a great look in his eyes. He was good at conversation. It wasn’t like he was overwhelmed. He just needs to understand some basic things about, obviously, the maintenance of the ball and the basics.

Saleh spoke to his young quarterback after the game and gave him a few words of encouragement.

“Just to believe in him and to get rid of this one,” Saleh told Wilson. “And I promise you it won’t be the hardest game he’s ever played. He just needs to get up and get ready for the next one.”

Wilson, who impressed his teammates and coaches in the opening loss to Carolina with his poise, has insisted his poor performance will not continue next week when New York moves to Denver.

“That’s what we’re signing up for, isn’t it?” Wilson said. “And there are going to be games like this and ups and downs.… I just have to remember the situation I’m in and I’m a big part of it all and how can I continue to learn and get better?

“You have to keep that loot and that mojo every week.”

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL


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