Amid struggles in Week 5, Jets QB Zach Wilson showed positive signs late

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Zach Wilson rolls out of the pocket vs. Falcons
Zach Wilson rolls out of the pocket vs. Falcons

Sunday's game once again left the Jets lamenting another slow start on offense. However, any obvious solutions were not forthcoming with Zach Wilson referring to the situation as "a block we need to get over."

When the Jets review the film from this game, they may be able to draw some positives from the fourth quarter drive that pulled them within 20-17 with just under seven minutes remaining. At the same time, it could prove to be frustrating viewing as Wilson showed he was capable of making plays he failed on earlier on in the game as the team dug themselves a 17-0 hole.

Wilson said it was interesting that the offense has looked really good in the second half in each game, but just hasn't been able to establish a rhythm or any flow early on in games. He said they believed in the game plan and were well-prepared but was at a loss as to why they couldn’t get going initially. .

Head coach Robert Saleh was a little more forthcoming, saying Wilson missed some easy throws that came down to fundamentals

The fourth quarter drive began with a quick dump-off to Jamison Crowder for seven yards underneath and then Wilson zipped a first down to Keelan Cole on an out-breaking route.

After a penalty, Wilson gunned another pass down the middle to Denzel Mims for 27 yards and then threw deep to Elijah Moore, who drew the pass interference penalty that put the ball at the one-yard line. After Michael Carter's touchdown run, Wilson hit Crowder again for the two-point conversion.

A few interesting trends emerged on this drive, but the most noticeable thing was that the Jets established that rhythm that Wilson was talking about -- for the first time all day. This created tempo and enabled Wilson to play instinctively, which is evidently when he's at his best.

The clearest example of this was the throw to Cole, which was the exact same play on which he threw his first half interception. This time, though, it was on time and accurate. Wilson acknowledged that with this sort of throw he's "got to be ready to rip this thing," and said you can’t be hesitant at all.

Hopefully the confidence he gained from making this play will help him to repeat this on a more regular basis.

Another key trend was that the Jets converted the entire drive without throwing to Corey Davis. Wilson has, at times, seemed to have a tendency to force the ball to Davis and, while he's had some big plays, Davis has been inconsistent with at least one drop in each game (including another two on Sunday).

Oct 10, 2021; London, England, United Kingdom; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) calls a play at the line of scrimmage in the first half against the Atlanta Falcons at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Oct 10, 2021; London, England, United Kingdom; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) calls a play at the line of scrimmage in the first half against the Atlanta Falcons at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Davis, who says he expects to catch them all, once again led the Jets in catches and yardage, but this drive shows that Wilson can have success spreading the ball around.

Wilson said on Friday that people might think he throws to Davis all the time but, really, he’s just going through his reads. In time, that should naturally lead to players like Cole, Moore, and Mims getting involved and that may have been what started to happen on this drive.

Interestingly, on the deep throw to Moore that drew the interference call, it was Davis who was initially wide open on a crossing route. However, this time, Wilson threw the lower percentage deep shot to Moore, who got behind the defense for a potential touchdown. Truthfully, this was Wilson's only poor throw on the drive because it was a beat late and perhaps slightly underthrown, but it was a clear penalty and a shot worth taking.

Finally, Wilson also executed well on the two-point conversion to Crowder, delivering on time and accurately for their second red zone connection in as many games, which is another good sign that he’s not relying too much on Davis.

While cherry-picking Wilson's best drive in a poor performance might seem like trying to paper over the cracks in his game, Wilson does show his talent at times. If he feels the offense is closer to putting things together than it might outwardly appear, then there might be good reason for this.

Saleh is undoubtedly right, though -- Wilson is going to have to get the fundamentals down so the Jets aren’t constantly playing from behind. If he can do that, then perhaps his talent can truly shine.