3 players to blame for NY Jets Week 15 loss to the Lions

NY Jets, Zach Wilson
NY Jets, Zach Wilson / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, the NY Jets welcomed the Detroit Lions to MetLife Stadium. This game marked the return of Zach Wilson, as Mike White was hurt and not cleared to compete.

The Lions would defeat the Jets by a final score of 20-17, in a heartbreaking loss that put the Jets' playoff hopes on life support. Here are three players to blame for the defeat.

3. Braden Mann, P, NY Jets

Perhaps one of the most insignificant members of an NFL team, the punter can sometimes play a major role in a team's win or loss. Sunday was just an example of why that rings true.

Last week against Buffalo, Mann punted seven times for 311 yards. He also averaged 44.4 yards per punt and landed two inside of the 20-yard line. While that wasn't his best day, Week 15 was much worse.

In Sunday's game, Mann punted six times today for 300 yards, averaging 50 yards per punt. He managed to put just one of his punts inside the 20-yard line and had a long of 49 yards. While these stats may look good, they don't tell the whole story.

Perhaps one of Mann's most costly punts came in the first quarter with around six minutes left. Mann was forced to punt from the Jets' own endzone and his kick didn't even make it to midfield.

The Lions' punt returner, Kalif Raymond, would take this punt back to the endzone with ease to put the Lions on the board first, 7-0. This wouldn't be his worst punt, as Mann would kick it just 40 yards in the third quarter.

2. The NY Jets Defense

While the Jets' defense didn't play awful on Sunday, they ultimately cost the team the game with one play in the fourth quarter. Give credit where it's due, this Jets' defense played well and held a very hot Lions' offense to just 13 points, until the end of the fourth quarter.

On a 4th-and-1 play from midfield, Lions' quarterback Jared Goff would find Brock Wright for a 51-yard touchdown pass as a result of blown coverage. This play put the Lions ahead 20-17, and with Zach Wilson at quarterback, the Jets would not come back.

The defense came into this game missing a key member in Quinnen Williams, and it showed from the start. However, as the game went on, other members of the Jets' defense stepped up to make big plays and keep the game close.

There were a lot of missed tackles and some blown coverages, but none were worse than the 51-yard pass to seal the game for the Lions.

1. Zach Wilson, QB, NY Jets

Another game started by Zach Wilson, another time we see Zach Wilson end up on this list. Mike White, who in all reality is the Jets' new starter, was injured in last week's game against Buffalo and was unable to be medically cleared to play. Had Mike White been able to play, the result might have been different.

While Wilson didn't look too bad on the stat sheet, watching him play was much, much worse. Wilson finished Sunday's game completing 18-of-35 pass attempts, throwing for 317 yards, and two touchdowns. Perhaps the most impressive stat was Wilson only threw one interception. Wilson also connected on some big and important plays.

However, Wilson still was incredibly inaccurate. He would miss wide-open receivers and face the same issue of not knowing when to throw the ball away, eating a lot of sacks, and yards.

Jets receivers would get open on seemingly every play, but Wilson could not get the ball into their hands, not because of the Lions' defense either. With around 20 seconds left, Wilson would miss a wide-open Elijah Moore that would have put the Jets in field goal range.

He would be able to connect with Moore on the next play, but this caused the game-tying field goal to be from a much longer distance than if he would have connected on the previous play.

Next. 11 players who can be the starting QB for the NY Jets in 2023. dark

Unfortunately, the rest is history. Most Jets fans don't hate Wilson, as a matter of fact, they all should want to see him succeed. However, Wilson hasn't shown much to get behind. He deserves his spot on this list.