Robert Saleh and Zach Wilson want to get to the bottom of the Jets’ slow starts

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Second-half comebacks have become someone of a calling card for the 2021 Jets and Robert Saleh wants to figure out why it keeps happening.

“We gotta start faster,” Saleh said Sunday after the game. “I’m putting that on me to try to figure this out over the next week.”

The Jets have tallied just 13 points in the first half this season compared to 51 second-half points. It’s a major reason why they’re 1-4, too. New York has lost two of its four games by a touchdown (Week 1 vs. the Panthers and Week 5 vs. the Falcons) and needed a fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Titans in Week 4.

Gang Green’s early struggles are in a league of their own. They’re the first team since the 2015 49ers to score seven or fewer points in the first half of the first five games of their season. The 2007 Bengals accomplished this feat as well.

Zach Wilson is one of the biggest reasons for the Jets’ failure to launch. He’s completed 30-63 passing attempts for 330 yards, no touchdowns and six interceptions in the first half. In the second half, Wilson’s gone 64-101 for 740 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. While he orchestrated the Jets’ two second-half scoring drives, he did not throw a single touchdown.

“We gotta figure it out over this bye week how to fix that,” Wilson said postgame. I gotta play better at the start as well.”

Wilson refused to blame it on preparation, talent or coaching, either. The Jets’ second-half stats reflect the talent and coaching concerns for sure, but Wilson wants the Jets to shake the comeback mentality and focus on playing better for an entire 60 minute-game.

“It’s interesting in the second half, every single game, we’ve looked really good,” he added. “We know what we’re capable of and we’re able to show it there at the end but I think we just got to get a good rhythm going, some flow – something. Starting three-and-out isn’t the way to do it.”

The Jets will have a long flight home and a week off to fix their issues, but it may not be as simple as Saleh and Wilson hope. It’s likely not one problem that requires a resolution like preparation or execution or game scripts. A combination of everything needs to be reworked if the Jets are to succeed early in games.

Whatever the Jets do though, they need to solve their first-half woes to be competitive this season.

“We can’t keep trying to come from behind,” Wilson said. “The NFL is too hard to always come from behind.”