As a first-year quarterback on one of the most talent-deprived rosters in the NFL, Zach Wilson getting pantsed by the Patriots isn’t a particularly instructive data point. Bill Belichick, in his time as head coach of New England, has only lost six games against rookie QBs. The Patriots’ job was also made easier by the absences of receivers Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims. The grim result for Wilson: a 25-6 loss and four interceptions, two of which came on his first two pass attempts of the game.
Those first two picks were tipped, although one was initially deflected by a Patriots defender, so that’s still on Wilson. The other two interceptions were just baffling pass attempts. Late in the second quarter, Wilson sent one directly to cornerback J.C. Jackson, his second pick of the afternoon. One quarter later, the QB showed off his prodigious arm strength by sailing a pass yards beyond his intended target and into the waiting arms of Devin McCourty.
Wilson joined Sam Darnold and Mark Sanchez, both former Jets quarterbacks, among the prestigious ranks of the most recent top-five draft picks with a four-INT, zero-TD game. That’s good fodder, although it’s wiser to treat this loss as a learning experience, seeing as it’s Wilson’s second-ever NFL game. Still, since Wilson’s disastrous performance resembled Darnold’s four-pick night in an October 2019 loss to the Patriots, one reporter had to ask Wilson about the spectral realm. Darnold complained about seeing ghosts during the 33-0 Monday night loss; had Wilson also gained The Sight?
Not convincing. “I just have to remember the situation that I’m in,” Wilson said after the game. (Perhaps he’s inadvertently acknowledging that the situation is “haunted by ghosts.“) “I’m an important piece in this whole thing. How can I keep learning and getting better. You’ve gotta keep that swag and that mojo every single week.” Meanwhile, Sam Darnold appears to be ghost-free on the 2-0 Carolina Panthers. The key to retaining swag and mojo might be to never play for the Jets.