Zach Wilson shovel pass goes horribly wrong in first game back from injury

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After missing four games with a knee injury, Zach Wilson was cleared to play on Sunday against the Houston Texans.

Not all New York Jets fans were thrilled with the news. Not even a full quarter into his return, the rookie quarterback demonstrated why.

Facing third-and-17 late in the first quarter, Wilson took a shotgun snap and looked off his first option on a passing play. He sprinted up the middle, then chucked a shovel pass to running back Ty Johnson. But Johnson wasn't looking. He'd turned upfield to block for his scrambling quarterback.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 28: Zach Wilson #2 of the New York Jets looks on before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Zach Wilson. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Wilson's pass bounced off Johnson's back and into the hands of Houston cornerback Tavierre Thomas, who corralled a diving interception. Five plays later, the Texans converted the turnover into the first touchdown of the game on a pass from Tyrod Taylor to Brevin Jordan.

The interception was Wilson's 10th against five touchdowns in the seventh game of his rookie season for a 2-8 Jets team that drafted him No. 2 overall in April hoping he'd be the quarterback savior the franchise has long coveted. So far he's not that. Far from it.

The Jets did pull out a 21-14 win on Sunday, but Wilson largely struggled in a 14-of-24 effort for 145 yards with the interception and no passing touchdowns.

It's entirely too soon to judge Wilson's efficacy as an NFL quarterback. But the early returns aren't great.