By David McDonnell

Let the record show there was a game of football at the MetLife Stadium on Thursday night, because afterwards all the talk was about one man. 

Zach Wilson, and the kid gloves were certainly off.

First let’s get the football out of the way.

Trevor Laurence continued his winning streak and scored the only touchdown of the contest, when he led a 96-yard drive and broke the plane with a QB sneak in the second quarter. 

Other than that there wasn’t much to write home about on the field with both defences on top throughout. By the end of the third quarter, Jacksonville landed another field goal to make it 16-3 which was to be the last score of the contest. 

On the night Zay Jones or Christian Kirk had zero yards receiving yards combined but Evan Engram was excellent catching seven times for 113 yards. 

The big story of the night came on the opposite sideline. 

At half-time the Jets got booed to high heaven on their way to the locker room by their home fans after a dismal opening half. 

They were not able to run the ball with any success on first and second downs. It left Zach Wilson with long yardage on third downs with the result being the Jets punted like it was going out of fashion in wet and windy weather. 

When the Jets offence didn’t improve in the third quarter, head coach Robert Salah benched Zach Wilson for walk-on Chris Streveler at the start of the fourth quarter. 

It was the second time Wilson has been benched for an understudy in three weeks and he was starting only because his previous deputy Mike White was out with broken ribs. Streveler did well initially on his first drive but his throwing after that was wildly inaccurate. 

The benching of Wilson is significant and added a tankful of fuel for the New York and national across America to wax lyrical about Zach Wilson’s shortcomings as a player and teammate.

They soon set themselves to the task. 

On TNF on Prime,  Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is usually considered when it comes to QBs, said it signified the end of Zach Wilson at the Jets. 

 “I think unfortunately his career here is done because he has lost the guys in the locker room. They have no confidence in him. He doesn’t inspire confidence in him. They don’t believe in the kid … Just the way he plays, his passion for the game. That is what really bugs me and bugged me about today. I am not saying he is going to have a good career, but it’s gonna have to be somewhere else.”

Richard Sherman wasn’t offering Wilson much sympathy either. 

Asked if he thought it might be Wilson’s last game for the Jets, Sherman answered: “I would hope so … We’re at a time and a climate where everybody’s forgiving, everybody’s like, ‘Oh my, just give him another chance. He’s trying his best.’ This is a production business. If you don’t produce, we have to find a way. It’s unfair to the defence and these players.”

Tony Gonzales advised that the Jets shouldn’t give up on him just yet.

Here are my two cents on the situation.

I have been keeping an eye on Wilson since his return against the Steelers during the season and what I see is a QB with a golden arm who is still learning his trade.  He has been very inconsistent for a team that believes it is in win-now mode. 

The Jets are a side with a terrific defence, but are down over half their starting O-line and as well as their starting running-back sensation in Bryce Hall, who are all out for the season. on offence they still boast one excellent rookie wide receiver in Garrett Wilson. 

Zach Wilson has been tasked to make plays with a very limited offence and score enough points to win games and not turn the ball over. He has struggled against good defences, mainly with his decision making.

I see talent in Wilson but he is very inexperienced. If you look at Trevor Laurence, who has only just turned the corner in his NFL journey in the last four weeks, he spent four years with nationally televised games every week at Clemson in the SEC,  including three National Championship games. 

Aside from the poor play on the field, a lot of the flak that Wilson has gotten in recent weeks came from loaded interview questions after the recent loss to the Patriots. He was asked whether him and the offence should apologise to their defence for scoring only three points on the day? 

He answered: “No, No” and that was blown up into a big story about disrespecting his teammates. His namesake receiver Garrett Wilson called him out in the media for “not trusting his receiving room.”

His coach Robert Salah responded by dropping him for the next game and his teammates on the New York Jets defence went to the next away trip wearing shirts in support of his replacement that read: ‘Mike ‘F***in’ White.’ 

With White injured, Wilson came back in as the starter. It is one thing to bench him for the backup in White and quite another to bench him again for the next man up and it probably signals that his time is up with the Jets. 

Before the game Robert Salah talked about the need to be patient with Zach Wilson and gave an analogy about the “instant coffee” world not giving him time. Those words about being patient with the sophomore quarterback rang hollow in the wind and rain on Thursday Night Football.  

My personal read is that Salah gave in to the instant coffee generation, who were booing the offence at MetLife Stadium, and threw Wilson to the wolves, because whatever the question is, Streveler is certainly not the answer in the NFL from what I saw.  

I hope Zach Wilson can come back from a very tough night like this with most pundits writing him off and most everyone else jumping on the bandwagon.  

And I hope he does it with another team. 

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