The NY Jets fell to the Carolina Panthers in Week 1 in a game that was a true tale of two halves. Despite trailing 16-0 at the half, the Jets rallied and outscored their opponents 14-3 in the second half.
Unfortunately, It ultimately wasn't enough to earn them the victory. Let's take a look at three brief takeaways from the team's Week 1 loss to the Panthers.
1. A horrible day for the NY Jets offensive line
If the offensive line is going to perform like this weekly, they might as well get the top-three pick warmed up early.
Not only were the Jets unable to establish any type of run game, but Zach Wilson looked uncomfortable almost all day as he got sacked six times and was pressured seemingly every time he dropped back to pass.
“There are a lot of things that are involved in protection,” head coach Robert Saleh said in his postgame press conference. “I’m never going to just blame the offensive line.”
With Mike LaFleur's offense predicated on the running game setting up a passing attack, Gang Green is going to need more from its offensive line going forward. Otherwise, it is going to be another long season for the green and white.
2. Another big blow to the NY Jets
If it was not enough that the Jets lost free-agent signing, defensive end Carl Lawson, for the season due to a ruptured Achilles, they have now lost their star left tackle, Mekhi Becton, for an extended period of time after he was carted off the field in the third quarter with a knee injury.
It was reported on Monday that Becton had suffered a dislocated kneecap and would likely miss the next 4-6 weeks, at a minimum.
While that is encouraging news compared to the alternative of a season-ending injury, for a unit that was already struggling, this is a big blow to not only the line, but for Wilson who showed flashes of brilliance despite the constant pressure he faced from the Panthers’ defense.
3. Too little, too late for the NY Jets
Although they were outgained 282-72 in the first half, Saleh’s squad showed a lot of fight as they were able to hold the Panthers to just a field goal the rest of the way.
“They settled down, came back in the second half,” Saleh said. “I thought they did a really nice job, showed resolve.”
Gang Green’s first sign of life on offense came in the form of an eight-play, 70-yard drive capped off with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis that cut Carolina’s lead to 16-8.
And, despite being down by two scores late in the fourth, the Jets were able to put together a 10-play, 93-yard drive that also ended with a Davis touchdown.
However, by then it was too little too late for the Jets as they were unable to recover an onside kick and watched as Christian McCaffrey sealed the game with an 18-yard first-down run.
“I felt like I was seeing the field well, even early on when we struggled a little bit,” Wilson said after the game. “I felt like I was seeing what I was supposed to be seeing and I just felt like we were a little bit short on execution.”
Despite a first-half that gave many Jets fans flashbacks to the Adam Gase era, Gang Green was able to shift the momentum and end up making a game out of things so…progress.