While one play should not overshadow the great game from Gang Green, it will just because of how egregious it was. With a first down icing the game, Zach Wilson opted to go for a QB sneak on 4th-and-2 rather than hand the ball to Braxton Berrios on an end around which would have likely resulted in a touchdown.
“We did a very poor job as a coaching staff communicating that in the huddle, Zach executed the playbook as it’s designed,” head coach Robert Saleh said after the game. “It’s unfortunate that we’re going to be talking about the last sequence of events there, but I thought our guys were outstanding today, they deserve better.”
Although Saleh described it as a communication issue, it sounds as though Wilson wanted to be the reason they won rather than taking the better option which, no matter how good of a game he had, should be treated as a red flag.
However, this can also be used as a learning moment for the first-year QB to abandon the hero ball and just play football.
The bigger picture for the NY Jets
Despite how brutal this loss was for Gang Green, they should be commended for nearly beating a potential Super Bowl contender with such a short-handed staff.
Playing without their top three wide receivers, two running backs, two tight ends, and much of their offensive line, the Jets gave the Buccaneers fits to the point where Antonio Brown took off his uniform and quit mid-game.
“No, it’s not the hardest [loss] because there’s so many great things to take from this game,” Saleh continued. “Our guys played their absolute tails off.”
Even with their top running back Michael Carter having to leave the game with a concussion, Gang Green’s offense did not skip a beat as it finished with 374 total yards, including 150 on the ground.
A true building block for the NY Jets
Heading into year two of a rebuild, performances like this need to start becoming the norm for the Jets with W’s being attached to the end of them.
Finishing 19-for-33 for 234 yards and one touchdown, Wilson is starting to show he can perform at a high level considering he did all of this with a makeshift supporting cast.
“We took a step in the right direction and I think guys got to understand that. You can’t get too down on yourself because it’s exactly what we needed. We needed to give those guys a game and we came in ready to play,” Wilson said.
“I think I’m just starting to get a better grasp for the offense. I thought Mike’s [LaFleur] done an amazing job of putting me in a good position, feeling comfortable with what’s going on.”
The goal for Gang Green as they prepare for their third offseason under general manager Joe Douglas is to build upon the foundation. While guys like Wilson, Carter, Elijah Moore, Bryce Hall, etc. are pieces the Jets hope to be cornerstones for years to come, they are not enough.
However, for the first time in a long time Jets fans can feel a way about their team they are not too familiar with: bullish.