The NY Jets lost a tough one to the Minnesota Vikings 27-22 despite fighting back and holding Minnesota to seven points in the second half.
Scoring threes instead of sixes
The difference in this game came in the red zone as the Jets went 1-6 while the Vikings finished 3-3. It is not to say Gang Green (7-5) had a bad day offensively, but when a team finishes with 486 total yards it needs to come away with more than 22 points with 15 of them coming via field goals.
“I'm proud to be this team's coach,” head coach Robert Saleh said. “I'm proud of every single person in that locker room, they absolutely fought their tails off. This team doesn't quit, if we play like that I know we'll win more often than not.”
The Jets also needed to come out with a stronger start as they went into halftime down 20-6 and found themselves in an uphill climb for the entire second half. Gang Green had a tough time on third and fourth down as well as they went a combined 5-21.
Although it might come off as nitpicking, the Jets need to shore up mistakes like this to get to the next level because teams like the Vikings (10-2) will make the most of them and come away with results like today.
Mike LaFleur needs to step up in the red zone
Although the Jets were likely a Braxton Berrios catch away from earning the victory, the fact of the matter is Gang Green had ample opportunities to cash in in the red zone and Mike LaFleur’s play calling did not do much to help them.
“By no means are we trying to make this a moral victory because moral victories don't count in the NFL but I'm really proud of how the guys stayed together,” Mike White said. “We responded, we just got to respond better.”
Between calling trick plays down two scores or having White throw a fade to Garrett Wilson on third and goal at the one-yard line, LaFleur needs to get away from overthinking things when his team gets
deep into opposing territory. This is a game the Jets could have (and probably should have) won if they just made things a little bit easier and cleaned up some of the mistakes that plagued them early on.
Another strong start from NY Jets QB Mike White
The big question coming into this game was whether or not White could replicate last week’s performance now facing a playoff-caliber roster like the Vikings.
Well, White answered the bell as he finished 31-for-57 for 369 yards with two interceptions and a rushing touchdown.
“It's just a group of warriors and I'm proud to be a part of this team,” Garrett Wilson said. “[White] was out there controlling the huddle and never letting the moment get too big. I'll go to war for that boy, he’s got something special about him.”
White also stepped up in big moments and made several key throws that kept the Jets in this game and gave them two opportunities to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.
At this point in the season, it is hard to imagine a scenario where Zach Wilson earns the starting job back as long as Mike White is healthy. And if the former fifth-rounder continues to play like this, the Jets have to start wondering if they have found their answer at quarterback next year too.