Grading Zach Wilson's ugly Week 12 performance against the Texans

NY Jets, Zach Wilson
NY Jets, Zach Wilson / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets saw the return of rookie quarterback Zach Wilson in Week 12. After a month-long absence, Wilson returned and helped lead his team to a 21-14 victory over the Houston Texans.

But it was far from a perfect day for the young QB. In fact, his lackluster performance likely hurt his team more than it helped them.

Nonetheless, the Jets managed to pull out the victory, perhaps in spite of their quarterback. Let's take a deeper dive into Wilson's performance in Week 12.

Zach Wilson's performance on Sunday was ugly

Wilson played about as poorly as any winning quarterback could play. He finished 14-of-24 for 145 yards, a rushing touchdown, an interception, and a fumble. But that stat line doesn't tell the whole story.

Wilson was an erratic mess despite the Jets' best efforts to get him into a rhythm early on. Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur drew up a gameplan that was designed to get Wilson short, easy completions. The Jets didn't want to ask too much of him.

Unfortunately, the BYU product was inaccurate even from short range completing just 6-of-12 passes from 0-9 yards in depth. Even the easy stuff, Wilson made it all look difficult.

His passer rating on passes nine yards or shorter was woeful 37.5 as he misfired on a number of wide-open targets to the flats.

Wilson did settle down a little in the second half and did help lead the Jets on a pair of touchdown drives, although it was painfully obvious how much his team was working around his deficiencies.

If not for an excellent showing from the running game and Mike LaFleur working his magic, the Jets likely do not win this game. And Wilson's stat line certainly doesn't look as respectable as it does.

That's not to say there weren't some good moments for Wilson. His third-quarter pass that was dropped by Ryan Griffin in the end zone was a perfect example of what Wilson can do when improvising and utilizing his escapability.

But there was far too much bad in this game for Wilson to receive even a passable grade.

There are a number of factors to consider, of course. This was his first game back from injury, he was playing on a knee that clearly isn't fully healed, and it was only his sixth full NFL start.

It's important to keep things in perspective when discussing Wilson. But as an analysis of this one game, it's hard to argue that he was anything even resembling a competent quarterback.

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At the very least, Wilson avoided a total meltdown and only finished with one turnover, although he was playing with fire at times. That saves him from receiving a failing grade.

Final Grade: D