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Jets officially benching Zach Wilson after ugly loss to Patriots

Sports Final: Finding the positives in gritty Patriots win over Jets
Sports Final: Finding the positives in gritty Patriots win over Jets 05:02

BOSTON -- Give the Patriots this: They're still able to completely dismantle and humiliate the New York Jets.

Their most recent conquest in this decades-long war comes in the form of quarterback Zach Wilson losing his starting job.

One day after head coach Robert Saleh wouldn't commit to Wilson as the No. 1 QB, Adam Schefter reported that Jets players were informed Wednesday that Wilson won't be starting vs. the Bears on Sunday. Wilson won't even be active for the game, with Mike White getting the start at quarterback.

The Jets were locked in to taking Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft, and the franchise had high hopes for him.

And frankly, when he's played against teams that aren't the Patriots, he's been all right. 

In 16 starts against teams not coached by Bill Belichick, Wilson is 8-8, with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Against the Patriots, Wilson is 0-4, with two touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Wilson bottomed out on Sunday, when he completed just nine of his 22 passes for 77 yards, missing receivers and taking little to no accountability after the loss.

"I think you gotta take into account it's windy as hell out there too, guys," Wilson told the media after the 10-3 loss in which the Jets gained two total yards of offense in the second half and 103 yards total on the day.

Later, when asked if he felt like he let the defense down at all, Wilson answered, "No. No."

Immediately after the game, it was evident that there was turmoil in the locker room. That came in the form of some on-the-record comments, some off-the-record comments, and some likes on Twitter by a couple of defensive players. There was also some visible frustration on the field from Jets receivers during and after the game.

Clearly, Saleh felt compelled to make a change. And that's almost entirely due to what the Patriots have done to Wilson. (The Patriots also got Sam Ehlinger benched in Indy and were the final straw in Frank Reich's career with the Colts just two weeks earlier, too. The win over the Colts was sandwiched between wins over the Jets. Wrecking "rivals" remains within Belichick's skill set.)

Prior to facing the Patriots in Week 8, Zach Wilson was managing games somewhat decently. He only had one touchdown in four starts, but he also only had two picks. While the offensive numbers were certainly underwhelming, it appeared as though he was at least with the program.

Then he faced the Patriots in Week 8, and though he threw for a career-high 355 yards and two touchdowns (tied for a career high), he also threw three interceptions while completing less than half of his 41 passes.

He responded well, playing a very efficient game against Buffalo, in which he completed 18 of 25 passes (72 percent) for 154 yards with a touchdown. The 11-point-underdog Jets won the game, giving them victories against both the Dolphins and the Bills in the highly competitive AFC East.

But then they had to play the Patriots again. And Wilson was so bad that the organization that invested the No. 2 overall pick in him just one year ago is taking him off the field.

The Jets will now turn to White on Sunday, who played a bit as a rookie last year but had a four-interception game against Buffalo in mid-November and hasn't played since. New York also has veteran Joe Flacco, who was 1-2 as a starter this year with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Flacco's 77.9 passer rating is only a tick better than Wilson's 72.6, but Flacco's 179 career starts make him a better candidate to be able to run a more functional offense.

What the Jets won't have on Sunday is Zach Wilson under center to start the game vs. the Bears. And the Patriots had a whole lot -- if not everything -- to do with that.

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