If Bill Belichick’s defense made Sam Darnold see ghosts, it must have scared Zach Wilson with goblins, witches, and zombies.
Wilson will try to exorcise those demons and get the Jets’ season back on track Sunday at MetLife Stadium — he’s started four career games against the Patriots and is 0-4 with a 50.6 record. He’ll get rid of a horrible quarterback rating — he has two touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Two of his five worst career games by quarterback rating came in one-sided rivalries.
“We have to be smart with the ball,” Wilson said. “The last time I played at home was [a 22-17 loss on Oct. 30, 2022], many of them were just silly games. You need to act efficiently and trust what you see. ”
That’s more to say against the Patriots than Darnold, who infamously told Darnold in a 2019 win over the Jets that he “sees ghosts” (a football term for expecting defenders to be in a different spot on the field than they show up in fake coverage). It might also be easy. .
“They can do a lot of the same things, but they have a way of making it look completely different,” Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. “I think that sometimes causes a little bit of confusion and some questions for the players.
“So they’re always thinking about how they can take certain people away, and then they change the front, the dynamic, even though they’re essentially just doing the same thing over and over again.”
The Jets lost 10-3 last season in their second matchup with the Patriots, who had Wilson under center and punted on seven of their 11 possessions.
He was benched by the next game, but how much did these two lackluster performances affect him?
“I won’t get into specifics, but I just haven’t played well for me in general,” Wilson said. “Each week I might have lost a little bit of confidence. So I’m excited about where I’m at right now. I feel like I’m in a good spot and this team is in a really good spot as well.” and we have a lot of trust in each other.”
Wilson was supposed to take a season off from the Patriots. However, after Aaron Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles tendon, he played more than four snaps in Week 1, and his accomplishments in a come-from-behind victory over the Bills included three snaps in the fourth quarter of a loss against the Cowboys. It appeared to be offset by an interception in the first inning.
However, Jets coaches and teammates don’t think so.
“I think sometimes you can’t ignore the elephant in the room, but you want to focus on how you can stay in the moment,” passing game coordinator Todd Downing said. “There may be some difficult times and some difficult memories, but we have to move on from those things as quickly as possible. That’s something we’ve learned since long before Zach became our starting quarterback. It’s a mentality I’ve trained for.”
Tight end Tyler Conklin made sure to tell Wilson in the locker room after games that he saw a difference.
“The pick that happened was just him trying to play in a 30-10 game,” Conklin told the Post. “If you go watch the first two quarters of that game, you can see him making great reads and making great pitches. I don’t want you to get hung up on it.”
Despite having a completely different offensive plan, Wilson subjected himself to the torture of rewatching the last two losses to the Patriots because “every movie has value.”
What he doesn’t have to relive is his postgame comments after a 10-3 loss in Foxborough, Massachusetts. When asked if he let the defense down, he answered with a resounding “no.” Wilson realized that this comment caused confusion in the locker room and later apologized.
“The frustration, the emotions, things not going well,” Wilson said, reflecting on the situation. “As a quarterback, you have to understand that it’s your responsibility. You have to be the guy who accepts it. From now on, no matter what, I’m always going to I want them to know that I support them.”
It remains to be seen how long die-hard Jets fans can root for Wilson on Sunday.
“It’s more important to prove to the guys in this locker room that I can lead, I can be efficient, I can get the ball to the playmakers,” Wilson said. “I have 100 percent confidence in myself.”