Jets’ Zach Wilson pulled as Chris Streveler offers ‘spark’ in loss

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson suffered maybe essentially the most humiliating recreation of his NFL profession, as he was booed Thursday night time at MetLife Stadium and changed by former observe squad quarterback Chris Streveler in a 19-3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“Yeah, it is [tough],” Wilson mentioned of the booing followers. “I do not blame them. Now we have a passionate fan base, and so they’re right here to observe us rating touchdowns. We’re not scoring touchdowns, we’re not getting first downs, we’re not transferring the ball and, clearly, we won’t throw the ball. After all they’ll be pissed off.”

Wilson accomplished solely 9 of 18 passes for 92 yards and an interception, which got here on a desperation heave earlier than halftime. He completed with a 5.2 QBR. It was the Jets’ fourth straight loss, all however killing their playoff possibilities.

Coach Robert Saleh mentioned he did not contemplate benching Wilson at halftime although they’d solely 66 whole yards and trailed 13-3, however he eliminated him with 3:31 remaining within the third quarter. By then, it was 16-3. In got here Streveler, who had been elevated from the observe squad solely hours earlier than the sport. He instantly led the offense to its longest drive, though it did not lead to any factors.

Saleh mentioned he did not bench Wilson, per se. He mentioned he went to Streveler with hope that his working means would spark their dormant floor recreation. Whereas that may have been the preliminary cause for the change, Saleh let Streveler play for the rest of the sport, retaining Wilson, the 2021 second general decide, on the bench.

Wilson was benched 5 weeks in the past in favor of Mike White, a former fifth-round decide of the Dallas Cowboys who sparked the offense. Thursday night time, he was changed by a journeyman whose declare to fame was three come-from-behind wins within the preseason.

“We have been attempting to vary as much as get the run recreation going,” Saleh mentioned. “I do know Zach was struggling. Streveler got here in, he ran a few performs, sparked the offense and obtained the explosive play. It snowballed in a great way for Strev. So we wished to present him a possibility to complete the drive. By the point we obtained it again, we determined we’re already right here, so let’s go along with Strev.”

The Jets confirmed indicators of life with Streveler, who rushed for 54 yards and accomplished 10 of 15 passes for 90 yards in his season debut.

Wilson remained on the sideline, able to return to the sport, however he by no means obtained the decision. The rain-soaked crowd roared when Streveler got here in, and the followers cherished his gritty, improvisational fashion. The pregame plan was to make use of him with a small package deal of working performs, however they expanded his repertoire because the fourth quarter went on.

The Jets activated three quarterbacks for the primary time, with Streveler and Joe Flacco backing up Wilson. Flacco noticed no motion.

Wilson mentioned he had no subject with the third-quarter change.

“We had nothing there,” he mentioned of the offense. “You’ll be able to’t blame [Saleh] in that scenario. He put Chris on the market, and he is clearly nice along with his legs and his arm, and he was in a position to give us a little bit spark there. You can see that was essentially the most we moved the ball all day, so you’ll be able to’t blame him.”

It was the primary time that Wilson was changed in-game in a non-injury scenario. On Nov. 23, he was benched for the primary time in his life after a 77-yard passing day towards the New England Patriots.

He appeared puzzled, admitting his confidence is shaken and saying he wasn’t ok for his teammates.

“Man, I do not know,” he mentioned. “I simply felt like I did not have any rhythm on the market. [I was] simply looking for some confidence on the market on the sphere, simply discover one thing to get us going — a little bit spark. I could not get something there, man.

“Yeah, it is powerful and I am working my manner by way of it,” Wilson added. “However I’ve to be optimistic right here. I consider in myself, regardless if anybody else does.”

Saleh mentioned, “You would be remiss for those who did not attempt to acknowledge the truth that there is a confidence factor there as a result of when persons are assured they’ll conquer the world. Now we have to assist him and it begins with teaching.”

Saleh declined to invest on his Week 17 starter. Likelihood is, they may return to White (fractured ribs), however he nonetheless hasn’t been cleared for contact. If he isn’t cleared, the Jets could have a tricky resolution.

“We have not seen the final of him,” Saleh mentioned of Wilson.