In the grand scheme of things, the Kansas City Chiefs aren't likely to glean much from their close win in Week 4. Their opponent, however, is hoping it was the start of something inspired at quarterback, even in a 23-20 loss at home.
While the Chiefs walked away the victors, the Jets watched former first-round pick Zach Wilson put up the single best performance of his career against the visiting Chiefs. He set career marks for passer rating (105.2) and completions (28) and it was the only performance in his NFL career in which he had multiple touchdowns and zero interceptions.
For a kid who's been maligned by the relentless press of the Big Apple shouldering the expectations of being a former No. 2 overall pick, this Monday morning is a chance to truly breathe for the first time in a while. When Wilson wasn't an instant sensation for the Jets and crumbled under the pressure, the Jets made the NFL's biggest offseason move in order to solve their QB woes. In the process they brought over the Hall of Fame talents and the media frenzy of Aaron Rodgers.
Leave it to the Chiefs to defend Zach Wilson and give him credit even when others refuse.
Unfortunately for Gang Green, Rodgers suffered an Achilles injury just a few plays into his first game for the team and suddenly Wilson was right back where the team didn't want him—although they'll say they did. And coming into Week 4, Wilson had looked so pitiful under center through three games that he was on the hot seat with—wait for it—Trevor Siemian waiting in the wings.
On Sunday night, however, something happened for Wilson and everyone saw it unfold in real time. After going down 17-0, the Chiefs began to shoot themselves in the foot (an ongoing problem) and that open window of opportunity allowed Wilson to combine his obvious talent with a devil-may-care attitude that suddenly threatened the final score. A gift of a safety from the Chiefs turned into a scoring drive for a field goal. An interception by Patrick Mahomes turned into a touchdown.
To start the second half, Wilson put together a scoring drive that featured several dimes that were better than any pass Mahomes threw all night. There were indefensible back shoulder throws, one after the other. They had zip and accuracy and (just ask Bryan Cook) there was no way to keep it from happening. None. The Jets moved the chains at will on that drive and ultimately tied the game when Wilson ran in the two-point conversion as well.
Just like that, in the course of a quarter and change, Wilson suddenly made everyone realize what the Jets saw in the first place when he was a kid carving up secondaries at BYU. For some perspective on the kind of night Wilson had:
In the end, of course, Wilson's heroics were not enough. The Chiefs defense made adjustments and Wilson had a costly fumble and K.C. ate up half of the fourth quarter on their final drive to keep the Jets from even having a chance. But the proof was in the pudding. Everyone saw it. And it should have made everyone pause. Then came this from NBC analyst and former NFL safety Rodney Harrison following the game:
Yeah, that's Harrison trying to bait Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones into insulting Wilson immediately after the game time and again. It's poor taste and abides by absolutely zero journalistic standards. It's also just wrong after watching Wilson rise up to almost knock off the defending Super Bowl champs in primetime.
Fortunately, not only did Jones avoid taking such bait from Harrison but his teammates also gave credit to Wilson after the game. Here's Justin Reid's post-game comments:
Reid's secondary mate, Joshua Williams, agreed and added further sentiments:
L'Jarius Sneed also praised Wilson in his post-game interview on the field:
It's unfortunate that some figures won't allow others to change. Harrison owes Wilson an apology. The Jets owe Wilson another chance. Wilson might have been on the brink of his last chance in New York, but for the potential that he could offer, it'd be silly not to let him cook after watching what he did against the Chiefs.