Zach Wilson’s home NFL debut in front of the MetLife Stadium crowd did not go as planned Sunday.
It was a performance that drew boos for the rookie quarterback out of BYU, as the New York Jets lost 25-6 to AFC East rival New England Patriots.
The biggest factor in his poor day? Throwing four interceptions, including on his first two passes of the game.
A look at each of Wilson’s interceptions, and what they led to:
Scenario: First quarter, second-and-2 at the New York 16, game tied 0-0
The play: On his first dropback of the day, Wilson tried to hit Corey Davis over the middle, throwing to his back shoulder in a tight window, but J.C. Jackson tipped the pass up in the air. Fellow Patriots defender Devin McCourty then helped tip the ball away from Davis, and Jackson dove to catch the ricochet for an interception at the New York 35.
The result: New England turned that good field position into a field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Scenario: First quarter, first-and-10 at New England 47, Patriots lead 3-0
The play: Two plays after going down 3-0, the Jets found themselves in Patriots territory following a kickoff that went out of bounds and a 13-yard New York run. On the play, Wilson rolled right out of the pocket and threw high to Davis, who couldn’t make the leaping grab. Instead, he deflected the pass and the Patriots’ Adrian Phillips dove to make the interception.
The result: New England marched 72 yards and scored its first touchdown of the game to go ahead 10-0.
Scenario: Second quarter, third-and-4 at New England 28, Patriots lead 10-3
The play: On the possession prior to this, Wilson had driven the Jets for their first score, a 21-yard field goal, and completed a pair of passes, including a 27-yarder to fellow rookie Eljah Moore. On this drive, New York had moved the ball 23 yards on the ground before Wilson’s third interception, when he tried to force a pass to the 5-foot-10 Moore along the sideline inside the New England 15, and Jackson easily stepped in front of it for his second interception of the day.
The result: New England did not score off this turnover, but it squandered a golden opportunity for the Jets to tie the game.
Scenario: Third quarter, second-and-28 at New York 24, Patriots lead 13-3
The play: On the first possession of the second half, the Jets faced a second-and-long scenario when Wilson threw his final interception of the day. This time, Wilson hung in the pocket before launching a pass deep downfield, and McCourty easily made the pick on a play where there were more defenders in the area of the pass than wide receivers. McCourty returned the interception 22 yards to the Jets 35.
The result: Again, New England capitalized on good field position coming off the turnover and scored a touchdown to make it 19-3 (with a missed point-after attempt).
All totaled, the Patriots scored 16 points off Wilson interceptions. At halftime, he had as many interceptions (three) as completions (3 of 7 for 45 yards).
Eventually, Wilson settled into a rhythm — he finished the day by completing 19 of 33 passes for 210 yards and led two field-goal scoring drives — but his rough start led to joining an inauspicious group — it was the sixth zero-touchdown, four-interception passing day in the past four years, per The Ringer.
“When you have a rookie quarterback, it’s just having confidence that it’s OK to play a boring game of football,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said, per NJ.com. “That’s really it. He is an electric dude. He’s competitive as crap. And he wants to win so bad. But sometimes it’s OK to be boring. That’s probably the biggest lesson that we can take out of this one.”
The performance had people recalling a similarly terrible game from Wilson’s Jets predecessor, Sam Darnold, when he threw four interceptions and for just 86 yards in a 33-0 loss to the Bill Belichick-led Patriots in 2019. Darnold, who was mic’d up that night, was caught saying “I’m seeing ghosts,” per NFL.com.
That, not surprisingly, led to some razzing of the rookie Wilson, who was asked by a reporter postgame if he was “seeing ghosts” Sunday. “Most definitely not,” Wilson responded, with a bit of a nervous chuckle.
Former BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who returned to the Patriots this offseason but was inactive for Sunday’s game with an injury, also trolled Wilson a bit.
Others, however, were more forgiving after a long day for Wilson.
“It’s far too early to make sweeping proclamations about Wilson’s future in New York. This is just his second NFL game! But this isn’t what the Jets expected when they drafted Wilson, who had more interceptions Sunday than he did in his entire final season at BYU,” The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman wrote.
Bob Wischusen, radio voice for the Jets on WEPN-FM, also shared his faith in Wilson overcoming the rough game, the second of his NFL career.
Sam Darnold had a famously terrible game vs Pats..he got over it..— Bob Wischusen (@espnbob) September 19, 2021
Zach Wilson’s a rookie, now he’s going through it.
And no matter how many Jets fans told me Sam was terrible (odd..haven’t heard from many of you lately) I always said he could play.
I believe the same about Zach
Truth is, it’s too early to really know how Wilson’s career will pan out, based on one bad performance. Still, it gives ample opportunities for learning.
How Utah ties performed during Week 2
Several Utah ties made a significant impact during Week 2 of the NFL season. Here’s a look at how local ties performed:
Football Team 30, Giants 29
- Tyler Larsen, C, Utah State and Jordan High: Did not play.
- Dax Milne, WR, BYU and Bingham High: 4 snaps (all on offense).
- Jared Norris, LB, Utah: 20 snaps (all on special teams).
- Devontae Booker, RB, Utah: 2 carries, 9 yards, 1 reception, 2 yards; 16 snaps (10 on offense, 6 on special teams).
Panthers 26, Saints 7
- Brady Christensen, OT, BYU and Bountiful High: 1 tackle; 10 snaps (4 on offense, 6 on special teams).
- Kaden Elliss, LB, Judge Memorial High: 1 tackle; 51 snaps (29 on defense, 22 on special teams).
- Taysom Hill, QB, BYU: 2 carries, 16 yards, 1 tackle; 16 snaps (10 on offense, 6 on special teams).
- Marcus Williams, FS, Utah: Started at safety; 8 tackles (4 solo), 1 pass deflection; 75 snaps (all on defense).
Bears 20, Bengals 17
- Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah: Started at cornerback; 2 solo tackles, 4 pass deflections, 1 interception; his first career interception came in the fourth quarter with Chicago holding a 17-3 lead and set the Bears up in Cincinnati territory; 56 snaps (55 on defense, 1 on special teams).
- Patrick Scales, LS, Utah State and Weber High: 8 snaps (all on special teams).
- Khyiris Tonga, DT, BYU and Granger High: 12 snaps (8 on defense, 4 on special teams).
- Jalen Davis, CB, Utah State: 9 snaps (1 on defense, 8 on special teams).
- Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, Timpview High: Started at right guard; 58 snaps (55 on offense, 3 on special teams).
Browns 31, Texans 21
- Sione Takitaki, LB, BYU: Started at linebacker; 2 tackles (1 solo), 1 tackle for loss, 1 fumble recovery; he recovered a muffed punt in the first quarter, setting up the Browns’ first touchdown of the game; 25 snaps (16 on defense, 9 on special teams).
- No locals on roster.
Rams 27, Colts 24
- Terrell Burgess, S, Utah: 19 snaps (1 on defense, 18 on special teams).
- Matt Gay, K, Utah and Orem High: Made field goals of 34 and 38 yards, made 3 of 3 point-after attempts; his 38-yard field goal with 2:23 remaining was the game-winner; 11 snaps (all on special teams).
- Jonah Williams, DE, Weber State: 16 snaps (11 on defense, 5 on special teams).
- Julian Blackmon, FS, Utah and Layton High: Started at safety; 4 tackles (2 solo), 1 pass deflection; 65 snaps (59 on defense, 6 on special teams).
Broncos 23, Jaguars 13
- Garett Bolles, OT, Utah, Snow College and Westlake High: Started at left tackle; 74 snaps (69 on offense, 5 on special teams).
- Tim Patrick, WR, Utah: Started at wide receiver; 3 receptions, 37 yards, 1 touchdown (from 12 yards) that gave Denver a 10-7 lead in the second quarter; 51 snaps (all on offense).
- Jay Tufele, DT, Bingham High: Not active for game.
Bills 35, Dolphins 0
- Taron Johnson, CB, Weber State: Started at cornerback; 4 tackles (3 solo), 1 sack for a loss of 7 yards, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hurry, 2 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble that led to a Miami turnover inside the Buffalo red zone; 61 (60 on defense, 1 on special teams).
- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah, Snow College and Bingham High: Started at defensive tackle; 1 solo tackle; 32 snaps (31 on defense, 1 on special teams).
- Zach Moss, RB, Utah: 8 carries, 26 yards, 2 touchdowns on carries of 7 and 1 yards in the fourth quarter, 2 receptions, 8 yards, 1 fumble lost; 18 snaps (all on offense).
- Eric Rowe, S, Utah: 2 tackles (1 solo); 26 snaps (all on defense).
Patriots 25, Jets 6
- Harvey Langi, LB, BYU, Utah and Bingham High: 23 snaps (9 on defense, 14 on special teams).
- Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU: Not active for game with throat injury.
- Javelin Guidry, CB, Utah: 4 tackles (3 solo); 29 snaps (21 on defense, 8 on special teams).
- Zach Wilson, QB, BYU and Corner Canyon High: Started at quarterback; completed 19 of 33 passes for 210 yards, 4 interceptions, 3 carries, 19 yards; 1 tackle; sacked 4 times; 73 snaps (all on offense).
49ers 17, Eagles 11
- Fred Warner, LB, BYU: Started at linebacker; team-high 7 tackles (5 solo), 1 tackle for loss; 60 snaps (58 on defense, 2 on special teams).
- Mitch Wishnowsky, P, Utah: 5 punts with 45.2-yard average, 3 inside 20; 12 snaps (all on special teams).
- No locals on active roster.
Raiders 26, Steelers 17
- Andre James, C, Herriman High: Started at center; 66 snaps (all on offense).
- Dallin Leavitt, S, Utah State and BYU: 4 tackles (1 solo), 1 pass deflection on a third-down play; 31 snaps (14 on defense, 17 on special teams).
- Miles Killebrew, S, Southern Utah: 19 snaps (all on special teams).
Cardinals 34, Vikings 33
- Kylie Fitts, OLB, Utah: 32 snaps (2 on defense, 30 on special teams).
- Leki Fotu, DT, Utah and Herriman High: 11 snaps (3 on defense, 8 on special teams).
- Nick Vigil, LB, Utah State and Fremont High: Started at linebacker; 8 tackles (4 solo), 1 pass deflection, 1 interception returned 38 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to give Minnesota a 30-24 lead, his first career NFL pick-six; 68 snaps (61 on defense, 7 on special teams).
Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25
- No locals on active roster.
- No locals on roster.
Cowboys 20, Chargers 17
- Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah: 1 solo tackle; 33 snaps (23 on defense, 10 on special teams).
- Simi Fehoko, WR, Brighton High: 6 snaps (all on special teams).
- Dalton Schultz, TE, Bingham High: Started at tight end; 2 receptions, 18 yards; 49 snaps (45 on offense, 4 on special teams).
- Michael Davis, CB, BYU: Started at cornerback; 6 tackles (4 solo); 62 snaps (all on defense).
- Kyler Fackrell, LB, Utah State: 1 solo tackle, 1 sack for loss of 6 yards, 1 QB hurry, 1 forced fumble on a third-down play at the Chargers’ 10; 33 snaps (28 on defense, 5 on special teams).
- Alohi Gilman, S, Orem High: 6 tackles (3 solo); 67 snaps (52 on defense, 15 on special teams).
Titans 33, Seahawks 30
- No locals on roster.
- Cody Barton, LB, Utah and Brighton High: 3 tackles (1 solo); 34 snaps (11 on defense, 23 on special teams).
- Marquise Blair, S, Utah: 28 snaps (13 on defense, 15 on special teams).
- Bryan Mone, DT, Highland High: Not active for game with an elbow injury.
- Bobby Wagner, MLB, Utah State: Started at linebacker; team-high 20 tackles (16 solo), 1 sack for loss of 7 yards, 1 tackle for loss, 2 QB hurries; his sack came on a third-and-goal from the 5 that forced a field goal; 96 snaps (88 on defense, 8 on special teams).
Ravens 36, Chiefs 35
- Tyler Huntley, QB, Utah: Did not play.
- Ty’Son Williams, RB, BYU: Started at running back; 13 carries, 77 yards, 2 receptions, 16 yards, 1 fumble that a teammate recovered for a Baltimore touchdown; 37 snaps (all on offense).
- Marcus Kemp, WR, Layton High: 25 snaps (2 on offense, 23 on special teams).
- Daniel Sorensen, S, BYU: Started at safety; 10 tackles (7 solo), 1 sack for loss of 9 yards, 2 tackles for loss, 1 QB hurry; his sack came on a third-down play and forced a punt; 79 snaps (76 on defense, 3 on special teams).
Packers 35, Lions 17
- Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: 3 carries, minus-3 yards (on 3 kneel downs to end the game); 3 snaps (all on offense).
- John Penisini, DL, Utah, Snow College and West Jordan High: 24 snaps (19 on defense, 5 on special teams).
- Penei Sewell, OT, Desert Hills High: Started at left tackle; 60 snaps (57 on offense, 3 on special teams).
- Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU: Started at running back; 7 carries, 25 yards, 3 receptions, 12 yards; 22 snaps (all on offense).