The Zach Wilson era came to an end on Thursday night not with a banger, but with a whimper as the NY Jets fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars by a final score of 19-3.
Wilson received his second consecutive start in place of the injured Mike White and was followed was one of the most inept quarterback performances you will see this season. The raw box score numbers, while ugly, don't tell the whole story.
Wilson finished 9-of-18 for 92 yards and an interception. 27 of those yards came on a busted coverage that left tight end Tyler Conklin wide open. For essentially the entire time Wilson was in the game, the Jets were unable to run an NFL offense.
Wilson's performance was so bad that, with their season on the line, the Jets had no choice but to bench the former No. 2 overall pick in favor of 27-year-old journeyman and ex-CFL star Chris Streveler.
Streveler's arm strength might only be rivaled by Tim Tebow, but the preseason standout came into the game and actually managed to help the Jets move the ball on offense. It didn't lead to points, but Streveler did enough to prove that he was a significantly better option than his predecessor.
Once the Jets made the decision to pull Wilson in favor of Streveler, that was it. There's no coming back from that if you're Zach Wilson. The Jets signified the end of the Zach Wilson era, whether Robert Saleh was ready to admit it after the game or not.
The Zach Wilson era is over for the NY Jets
The Jets used the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Wilson less than two years ago. Just over 600 days later, they decided that they'd rather put the ball in the hands of a 27-year-old practice squad quarterback who might not be able to complete a 30-yard pass with their season on the line instead.
It takes a historic level of ineptitude for an organization to consider such a move, but the Jets had no choice. In fact, many wanted/expected the team to make a change before the first half was even over. That's how bad it was.
Wilson's legacy will very likely be that of one of the biggest busts in NFL history. His time with the Jets will seemingly end after just 22 starts, posting back-to-back seasons with the worst completion percentage in NFL.
We're talking numbers comparable to JaMarcus Russell at this point. Even for Wilson's staunchest defenders, Thursday's loss was likely too much to stomach.
The Jets will hope to see Mike White return in time for next week's game, but that's far from a guarantee. What remains clear, however, is that there isn't really a scenario where the Jets can justify trotting Wilson back out there. Not after this performance.
Whether it's Joe Flacco, Chris Streveler, or Mike White, the Jets have made it clear that Wilson isn't the guy. Heck, he's barely even a guy on the roster. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him as a healthy inactive in each game moving forward.
The Jets literally and figuratively pulled the plug on the Zach Wilson era in front of a national audience of millions on Thursday night. And truth be told, it was likely long overdue.